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Old 01-23-2010, 06:38 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by two-niner View Post
Well, I am one of those Building Officials (retired) and perhaps some further explaination is needed. I can't quote all the regulations per se, but many of those requirements are FEDERAL. Put in place by ALGORE.
The water runoff, the septic leach field runoff, etc. you can be sued if you have done something to change water direction. Those of you who live in South Florida know you have to have a swale (swell), normally front and back. But it can be on the sides also.
If your community has adopted the NEC and you do the electrical work, it will have to come out.
Maybe your inspectors are "stupid", but the building code is a MINIMUM to keep you safe.

Kerry

Pouring concrete without a soil sample is just asking for trouble.

The source of the regulations doesn't make them any less stupid.

I've done nothing to change anything and the water runoff won't change a bit as a result of the new building. I've worked carefully to make sure of that. Here is the really stupid part. The original barn was built over the leach field and that barn has been here 25 years without problems. I'm one of the few homes in the block that DOESN'T have any septic problems ever. If the septic system fails, the Town will make me put in a brand new areobic one anyway.

Not a single building that has been built on my block in the past 25 years (and perhaps longer) has had a soil sample. Amazingly, there have been a couple of houses with soil problems that ended up having to have additional piers poured but that is common here and the soil testing does not protect us from that problem.

Don't get me wrong. I don't object to regulations. I object to "discover as you go" requirements. I started asking over 6 months ago and the haven't been able to get a straight answer to my questions in that time. THAT is stupid. If soil testing is a requirement, I shouldn't have to find it out AFTER the foundation has already been engineered.

About the NEC. Several previous owners did all kinds of electrical work. I talked to one of them and he told me that he never got a permit. The Town has always been miserable to deal with so he just did the work. I've nearly been electrocuted twice because of the stupid things that he did. I've always followed the NEC carefully and, if I was in doubt, I found help. The fact is that they are jerking me around, making me completely remove one electric meter before I can install the next one. That isn't an NEC requirement - it is just STUPID.

As far as I'm concerned, this Town's Building Group has the same mentality as the Global Warming zealots. It is all about a bunch of things that have nothing to do with the original purpose.
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:07 AM   #72
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I'm sorry but I need to "beat the dead horse" a little more. This whole "keep me safe" mentality gets me riled up. Let me explain why:
- for the pre-drainage inspection (which I passed) the inspector made a threat to make me install soil abatement (those screens to keep soil from eroding) if I disturbed the grass along the outer rim of the form. When he looked at it, 3/4 of the foundation was complete but he focused on the front part where the crew had to finish.
- there is a 2 foot deep, 12 inch wide trench right inside the form in which rebar is installed. The next step in the process would be to finish digging that trench along the whole inner perimeter. The foundation diagram (which the Town made me get and post in my permit packet) clearly shows it. The inspector never looked at the diagram.
- With the perimeter trench in place, where would any soil run off come from? The whole set of trenches (there is an interior criss-cross pattern carving the area into 12 segments, all separated by the same 2 foot deep, 12 inch wide trench) would have to fill with water before anything could run off. The form boards keep out external water runoff so I'd have to get that much rain INSIDE THE FORM to cause a problem.
- The Town has specifically forbidden any exterior grading work until the foundation is complete. I'd be a fool to try to do that and still get through the other inspections. In my case, I'm going to fight against ANY external grading. I positioned the building in an area of the lawn and don't want it torn up. They are telling me that I have to reduce the foundation "reveal" to 4 inches from the current 12" of the form boards. My neighbor has a building finished two years ago with 2.5 FEET of foundation showing.
- The building is being put up on my side of an existing drainage ditch which channels water run off toward the street. The inspector would have required me to put up the soil abatement screens on my neighbor's side of that ditch. There is no way that any water run off from my slab excavation could ever reach his proposed abatement screen location.

To me, this is just another example of taking a good concept (keeping my dirt from running off onto my neighbor) to a ridiculous extreme. It is exactly why I started this thread in the first place. I can take good concept and turn it into the ridiculous if I'm willing to abandon any shred of common sense and reason.
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:53 AM   #73
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Update:
The foundation was poured on Wednesday. The Town's inspector got out of his truck, looked at the form from 50 feet away and said "this one is going to pass, it has enough steel in it." He never pulled the diagram from the packet to verify that the form even came close to the engineering. He never used a tape measure on anything. There were 3 places where the rebar was sitting on the bottoms of the trenches, two places where the side walls of the trenches had crumbled and covered part of the rebar and 5 places where the rebar was higher than the top of the form. I'm not a trained inspector but I picked up on all of them someone showing me. The pouring crew corrected them all without my prompting before the mixers arrived or I would have said something.

The steel arrives on 2/9. There are four more inspections (electrical, rough, final drainage and final building) I'll report and have final pictures of the completion around 2/19 unless something really noteworthy happens first.
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Old 01-29-2010, 08:25 AM   #74
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Sounds like you have them set. I think it would be hard to complain now that the project is started. Once you get the CO, you should have a sign made up that this was built inspite of the building. This assumes you would never try to build anything ever again.
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Old 01-29-2010, 01:03 PM   #75
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Sounds like you have them set. I think it would be hard to complain now that the project is started. Once you get the CO, you should have a sign made up that this was built inspite of the building. This assumes you would never try to build anything ever again.
I've been invited to lunch with the head of the building inspection department because I went to one of our Town Counsel men to complain. I'm going to schedule the lunch and am preparing a written chronology of my experience with that department. I have a couple of very simple questions of him:
1. How is the average homeowner supposed to come up with a budget to determine when he or she has the funds to proceed?
2. Why are the details of the inspection process not available to homeowners? If I'm supposed to comply with them, why can't I know what they are in advance?
I plan to go prepared with the Town's available documents. I'll bet that I know them better than he does now. I certainly know where all of the omissions that got me are. Those will be my follow up questions.

I agree with you that the worst is probably over, now that I have a permit and am through the foundation. By all accounts, all previous neighbors have had few problems with the actual structures of their aux. buildings. Mine is especially easy because all of the structural elements are visible all of the time, even after it is complete. I suspect that I'm going to get nit-picked again on the final grading. Additionally, the gen. contractor refused to rent a concrete pump and backed the mixers up over my drainage ditch to pour, breaking my sprinkler system and creating 12" deep ruts where the water is supposed to flow through the ditch. As luck would have it, we've had over 2" of rain since then. The pre-drainage inspector warned me about not disturbing the vegetation along the form. Well the truck wheels went 10 times further than that. We'll just have to see how this plays out.
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:29 PM   #76
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Here is what happens to your project, scheduled to be completed 10/31/09 but delayed by permit problems.



The metal arrived on 2/9 at 7:30am. The crew only had two days on it before today and this weather. Keep in mind that this is the Dallas area, not the Virginia area.
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:28 PM   #77
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How did you lunch go? The photo looks pretty good. The hardest part is done. (starting).
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:14 PM   #78
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I live in California in a City and County that likes to tout their "green" achievements. I decided to have solar installed because it made economic sense and I figured the permit process should be a breeze. It took the City 3 weeks to approve the permit and the inspector changed the electrical requirements twice after the project was started.

I know why the permits and inspections are required but I really wonder about the whole process at times.
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:45 PM   #79
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How did you lunch go? The photo looks pretty good. The hardest part is done. (starting).
Neither the head of the building department nor I have been able to break free during lunch time since I finally got the permit. I haven't bothered posting where they decided (and then un-decided) that I was going to have to pour cement over the entrance from the street. They've made others do that, increasing the size of the pipe under the driveway and creating a huge hump that I would have to drive over with the RV to get to the barn. I've been using that gravel covered entrance ever since I've owned the RV and it shows on the original survey. None of the other homes on the block have been forced to do that "upgrade" when changes were made, including a nearby neighbor who put up a building similar to mine. I'm sort of holding on on scheduling the lunch until I'm through the worst of the remaining inspections. I may need to plead my case against any more "new" requirements.

The contractor faithfully promised me the building would be done by tomorrow (2/12) even when I asked him from which direction the flock of pigs would fly over my head. I wasn't pressing him for a date. Realistically, I'll be thrilled if it is done by 2/19. In the picture, the box in the center is a 600lb rollup door that currently has no steel in the frame to support it. The current opening is 16 feet wide and the door is 12' wide. Something has to happen to fix that. I figure that the crew can hang the exterior and roof in one day. It will be the front 12x14' door and that back rollup door that gives them fits.

That is all AFTER the current 7 inches of snow melts tomorrow. Maybe I'll see the crew again Monday. Looks like yet another fun week. I'm dying for them to get enough done so that I can hang my electric panel.
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:16 PM   #80
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When I had my modular home, I built a back porch that was 12 x 16 feet so we could sit out under the awning and enjoy the yard. The city came in and said I had to tear it down and get a permit to put up a porch and have the local building inspector come in and inspect the new porch. I told them to stick it and if they wanted it torn down and a new one built to do it them selves. That was some 10 years ago and that porch is still there but now the home is owned by someone else. We sold out when we went full timing three years ago.
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:59 PM   #81
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Stay tuned: The building was supposed to be finished tomorrow but the engineer really screwed up on 4 of the main support beams and the fabrication company is supposed to be sending compensating clips so that those beams can be re-positioned. That has held up putting the siding on both ends of the building and hanging the two garage doors. Hopefully, that work will all be done early next week and the Town's inspectors can be called. I cannot do my electrical wiring until those end walls are fixed because I have no place to hang the electric panel at the moment.

Today I've learned that a Town requirement for running the electric may cost me $2,000 more than planned. I won't know until I can kill the power to the old building (maybe next Tuesday) and dig a test hole to the buried electric feed line to that building. If that happens, I'll be officially 30% over budget.
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:52 PM   #82
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Update:
This project continues to have more twists than the plot of a soap opera
  • it turned out that my underground electrical wire to the old building WAS in conduit so they can simply intersect it near the new building, pull the wire back to that point, put a elbow on and simply dig (about 25 feet) to the new building location. Saved me $1,400
  • The general contractor was supposed to call for an inspection (the first after the foundation. The building is "finished" except for the grading, which hopefully will done tomorrow. After the 3rd promise of a Town inspection, I called the Town direction. Boy, did a stir up a hornets nest.
  • The Town was all bent out of shape because the GC didn't call for a "red iron inspection". This was not one on the list but it should have been done before any "skin" was installed. It took me a long time to convince them that there was no welding done on site and that all of the red iron was fabricated (and certified at the fabricator per their request).
  • Then I was told that I had 8 more inspections, not 4. The remaining 4 are for things not included in my project (like underground electric). I asked them what I was supposed to do when I called in for an inspection and the inspector showed up for work that I didn't have done. No answer.
  • Finally, I was told to contact one of the inspectors directly. He came out today. He is comfortable with the building and will approve the "top out" inspection as soon as I complete the electrical rough in for the two circuits that I'm adding. He looked at and verbally approved my meter base, panel, ground rod, etc.
  • He agrees with me that we have 4 more inspections (top out, utility final, final drainage and final) I'm to call him directly and he will perform each but the drainage. The engineers do that and he warned me that they are "picky". He gave me advice on what they are looking for (not published anyplace). I will instruct the grading crew tomorrow accordingly.
If the grading is finished tomorrow, I'll post a final picture. It isn't going to look good until the grass comes back in and I get some planting done in front. It is remotely possible that I get my green tag and be able to set the electric meter by next Friday. We are getting rain again on Monday and the underground electric crew was supposed to come Tuesday. Delays by them will delay the utility final inspection and everything afterwards.

I'm about 4 hours work away from finishing the demolition of the old pole barn. Hopefully, that gets done tomorrow. I need to spend the rest of the day loading the dumpster and then calling for its pickup on Monday. I won't get everything in but have saved the dimensional lumber out for later use. I never expected to take up a 30 yard dumpster but I have. I'm wincing now about how much weight is in it.

After my experience, I cannot imagine ever trying to build a house in this Town.
As if that hasn't been enough, I've had to beat up on the GC nearly every step of the way. It is at least a 3 adult beverage discussion just to describe that.

I'm so, so, close.....
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Old 03-06-2010, 03:23 AM   #83
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I can take good concept and turn it into the ridiculous if I'm willing to abandon any shred of common sense and reason.
Good one Charlie...
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Old 03-06-2010, 05:05 AM   #84
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Update:


After my experience, I cannot imagine ever trying to build a house in this Town.
....
Dare I ask how large is the Town inspector/engineer's office? In this day of government deficits, budget cuts to essential services, etc., you wonder how well spent tax dollars are on these inspectors. From you description, this sounds like a bureaucracy on steroids that has created layers of "inspections" to justify hiring more inspectors!
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