Author Topic: Bldg Dept stories  (Read 3689 times)

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Offline John Raabe

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Bldg Dept stories
« on: March 05, 2005, 09:10:22 AM »
Use this thread to tell others about your experiences of working with building departments and getting plans approved.

I will relate one story to get us started...

My small local town of 1000 population had a longtime building inspector who had been a builder for years and didn't have a great deal of patience for paperwork.

Several years ago, I took in a rather complex remodel plan. The plans ran to 5 pages of 36"x42" sheets if I remember right. When I went in for the permit application the inspector sat down with me right there and spent about three minutes thumbing through the plans and details.

He didn't want a single change and said "looks like you know what you're doing" and stamped the drawings right then. I paid my fee and that was that.

Having recently moved up from Seattle where I had a dedicated seat I warmed in the Building Dept. waiting room, that was a breath of fresh air!

A little over a year later I did another project in the same town, this time a small house and attached office/guest cottage (view here: http://www.countryplans.com/Downloads/seitle.pdf). It was actually simpler construction than the earlier remodel and had a well documented set of drawings running to 14 (smaller) pages.

The old building inspector had since retired and the city was farming out the inspection work to an engineering firm in Seattle. They put a fussy new engineering school graduate on the project and he made hell for every builder and architect in town for over the next year.

When my plans came back, this inspector had a long 4 page checklist of things he wanted added to the plans. Most of these were things copied out of the building code book that all builders did anyway. It cost my client an extra $1600 in design time to meet these requirements and more expense was to come.

When the new inspector finally came to the job site, the builder told me he didn't know the difference between the plastic waste plumbing and the electrical conduit pipes (which he required all the wiring to be done in). He required many other new things the builder hadn't seen before in residential construction.

Every builder in town had stories about this guy and how much money he had cost their projects. With all the complaints mounting the city finally fired the subcontractor and got a real building inspector who is now pretty well respected.

Point of this story?  

Living in a quiet rural area in the sticks doesn't mean you won't meet the "inspector from hell". And timing is everything (and probably out of your control).
« Last Edit: March 27, 2005, 08:01:59 AM by jraabe »
None of us are as smart as all of us.

Offline vojacek

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Re: Bldg Dept stories
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2005, 06:22:57 PM »
called today....no need for permit if structure is less than 50% of land appraisal value. this rocks for us DIY's. :)


Offline John Raabe

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Re: Bldg Dept stories
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2005, 09:48:12 PM »
[glb]Congratulations!  :[/glb]  :o
« Last Edit: March 28, 2005, 09:48:52 PM by jraabe »
None of us are as smart as all of us.

Offline k3mu456

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Re: Bldg Dept stories
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2005, 05:40:32 PM »
Vojacek,

Where are you located that that rule applies?  I plan to build in Pierce County Washington.

Thanks.....Bruce.

 

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