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Old 03-06-2010, 07:02 AM   #85
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This has been a real ordeal. I know you will be glad when you get the final CO.
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:52 AM   #86
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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!
I would guess that they have about 30 people in the office. There is an overall manager and then one assistant for office staff and another assistant for the inspection groups. The office staff handles the plans, permits, etc while the inspection duties are split up between the engineers and the former builders who are the inspectors. The group is definitely legendary within the 15 or so surrounding communities as being the most difficult to deal with.

I'm certain that most of what they do has some basis in past lawsuits in the area. I probably already said it but even they figure that they are inspecting about 30% of the actual work (except for the huge commercial building projects) that go on. One of my neighbors built a large addition on his aux building with no permit and they haven't caught him in 3 years.

They told me on Wednesday that the reason that they include all inspections in every project is because some of the builders in the past had simply skipped some inspection steps. I just cannot handle a "one size fits all." mentality. What it means is that they are probably missing problems on the bigger projects while they are microbeam focused on insignificant ones like mine.
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:18 PM   #87
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OK. Here is (hopefully) the final picture. They finished grading today.

I'll finish the electric circuits tomorrow and will call for both inspections. From there, I have to wait on the electric company to re-route the underground wire. While the Town doesn't inspect any part of that, it must be complete before I can call for the utility final. Assuming that passes, I only need the really final inspection. I finished the demo on the old barn today. I still have to use a tractor to drag down the old steel doors and it is supposed to rain tomorrow. That could slow me up.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Charlie
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:07 AM   #88
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OK. Here is (hopefully) the final picture. They finished grading today.


Keep your fingers crossed.

Charlie
It looks great Charlie. And I did one better and prayed a little prayer.
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:26 PM   #89
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Update: This will be my final self-initiated post on this thread.

I currently have passed the utility final inspection and only have the final building inspection to go before I get the CO. More on that in a minute:
  • At no time was this building ever inspected to verify that I built it to the plan. The foundation wasn't. The metal structure wasn't I could have more or less beams than the plans called for (no one ever looked at them) and it would have gone unnoticed.
  • Though I caught some flack for the Town never inspecting the "red iron", at no time was the assembly ever inspected. Ever bolt in the place could have been within a half turn of falling off and noone would ever know. There was never a red iron inspection in the listed inspection sequence. I've asked how that inspection could have been scheduled (they used an automated system) and have received no answer.
  • The electrical inspection lasted two minutes. While the inspector had looked at the meter base and electrical panel once before, there was no verification that I used the proper wire size, breaker size or even a random check to see that I used the anti-shock bushings (I used MC cable) on the circuits. The power company is authorized tomorrow to set the meter and apply power to the building.
  • I physically modified the cleats that hold the main upright beams on both ends to the floor myself. I drilled offset holes in them to handle the fact that engineer had screwed up their placement. I drilled 32 new 5/8" holes in 1/4" cold rolled steel and it wasn't even noticed. It does NOT match the plans.
  • I'm now being held hostage for up to 5 calendar days while the power company works me into their schedule to set the meter. Purpose? So that the inspector can stick his tester into my outlet and verify that the GFCI outlet works properly. That test is all that stands between me and my CO. There are no other aspects of inspection for the "final."
  • They did verify that the old building was completely torn down. I'm not allowed to have more than 1,500 sq feet and any vestage of the old building, in their opinion would put me over that limit. Obviously, staying under that limit is very important.
  • They have also fussed at me twice because there is a pool of standing water about 2" deep on the west side of the building. The fact that we've had heavy rains EVERY DAY doesn't seem to figure into the equation. I have a broken sprinkler pipe under where the water puddle is (thank you, concrete mixing truck) that I plan to dig up when everything dries up a little. Right now, the ground is so saturated that I cannot drive my wide tire mower over it without sinking in. I was told that I will be generating mosquitos (the night time temps have been in the low 40s - not exactly mosquito weather.) I have a large puddle in the backyard behind my house, thanks to the failure of the Town to require proper drainage from houses built behind me. That puddle is larger than the one by my new building.

I welcome inputs about how this permit and inspection process has protected me, my community and future owners of my property.
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:51 PM   #90
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When you get the final CO and are totally and completely through go into the building, shut the door, and yell **** YOU at the top of your lungs and go about trying to forget the stupid idiots that cost you so much money and time. It works.
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Old 03-11-2010, 08:07 PM   #91
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Charlie...is this town in Texas? If it is I think you need to consider seriously moving.

Not from Texas of course, just this tOWN.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:20 AM   #92
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Charlie...is this town in Texas? If it is I think you need to consider seriously moving.

Not from Texas of course, just this tOWN.
Jim, I'm not sure that it would help all that much. While my current environment is worse than normal, the feedback from the various sub-contractors is that it isn't that much worse. Clearly, there are some subs that refuse to come here. It is really the general contractors that bear the brunt of problems, both from a permitting and an inspection standpoint.

Apparently, there is a big drive to sue Cities and Towns over many aspects of building efforts. Like commercial businesses the Town is then advised by its lawyers and insurance companies about how to avoid exposure to the lawsuits. Each Town interprets those exposures differently. Then, it comes down to how organized each Town's inspection department is, how corrupt it might be and how it handles what can be a 30-50% turnover in inspection resources yearly. The latter seems to be less of a problem in this down economy. In boom times, the Town's have a hard time keeping people since most have their roots in the building trades.

Unless you are doing a project like mine, you never get to see what really goes on. All the average person who is having a house built sees is the delays and additional expenses. My purpose in this thread is to provide a window into this environment so that others better understand what they are getting into with a similar project.

Most important, I wanted to dispel the myth that this is all for "the greater public good." Based on the way that the permitting and inspecting process is done, that is just plain HOGWASH. Don't get me wrong. I want to do things right and understand the purposes and intents. But we all know where good intentions can lead.

Before I get attacked, please understand this: Of the people in my area who have put up similar buildings in the past 5 years, I will be the ONLY ONE with a CO. All of the others have moved in and are using their buildings and have never finished their inspection processes. They have installed completely un-inspected electrical systems, plumbing etc. Our Town's building department is so wrapped up on the type of bureaucracy that they put me through that they are too busy to do enforcement. I'm prohibited from moving any of my stuff into the building until I have my CO, because I made getting it a priority. Others chose a different path with apparent impunity. The more you want to do what is right, the more you get punished. There is just something fundamentally wrong with that approach.

Moving is not going to fix that problem. I would just trade my set of problems for another.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:58 AM   #93
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Knowing what you know now, would you do it again and if so would you just do it under the table?
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:07 AM   #94
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The Municipal Housing Authority can rest well at night knowing that they have protected the citizens of planet earth from the imminent harm caused by a RV storage building!

I for one will sleep better knowing that....

BTW, I lived in Argyle, TX for 15 years and had several similar experiences with local govt...
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:22 AM   #95
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Knowing what you know now, would you do it again and if so would you just do it under the table?
I'm not sure that the visibility of my particular site would have allowed me to get away with a clandestine project that others have done. We have a corner lot and the house and then new barn sit more side by side than one in front of the other like some of my neighbors have. In addition, there is other construction down my street now that some of my neighbors didn't have when they did theirs. Lastly, I designed the building around the front door. It is 12'w by 14'h. As you can tell from the picture, it makes that end of the building appear huge. The roof has very little pitch so the building appears much larger on the lot that the picture shows. In short, I doubt that I would have gotten away with doing the project without Town visibility.

Now, would have done this project if I had known what I do now? NO! I'm 30% over budget. Since it was entirely self funded (no loan) that means that it has had a major and unplanned impact on our budget. IMHO, all of the cost overruns were caused by stupidity of the Town and of the building manufacturer. I'd strongly recommend that no one ever use General Steel for a similar project. Had I understand the total project costs, I would have used a different vendor and had the building custom built on site. At the time that I made the decision, I viewed the pre-fab approach as one that would have made the permit and inspection process easier. The exact opposite happened. In addition, the custom built approach would have turned out to be $12,000 less expensive.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:30 PM   #96
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Maybe times have changed but when I built a building in Montgomery County, Texas about 12 years ago it took less than 4 months from approval of the architectural plans till obtaining the CO. The building included over 10,000 sq ft devoted to paint and body repair and almost .5 acres of concrete parking. The only conflict was over whether a detention pond would be required. Maybe I was blessed with a good GC that handled all the permitting, inspections, etc. BTW...be glad you didn't have to have the city fire inspector involved.

I'm happy your nightmare is coming to an end Charlie.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:51 PM   #97
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Maybe times have changed but when I built a building in Montgomery County, Texas about 12 years ago it took less than 4 months from approval of the architectural plans till obtaining the CO. The building included over 10,000 sq ft devoted to paint and body repair and almost .5 acres of concrete parking. The only conflict was over whether a detention pond would be required. Maybe I was blessed with a good GC that handled all the permitting, inspections, etc. BTW...be glad you didn't have to have the city fire inspector involved.

I'm happy your nightmare is coming to an end Charlie.
I think that times have changed, Jim. A lot of things that used to be simple and easy are now not. It is funny that you should mention the fire marshal. I was at an Oscar party on Sunday and was talking to a guy who put a 4,000 sq ft addition on an already large house. The fire marshal nixed the plans until the homeowner agreed to put in a sprinkler system. It seems that the new criteria is that if the fire department pulls up in front of the house and takes hoses around both sides to 250 ft and those hoses cannot meet in the back, the house has to have a sprinkler system. I admit that 250 ft around on half of a house is pretty far but I probably had that from the street and around a 3 car garage in our old place.

I "persuaded" the electric company to put my meter on the truck for Monday. If they are done by noon, the inspector will stop by and do his test. I'll then get my CO....and the nightmare will hopefully be over. They are giving me permission to start moving stuff into the building over the weekend as long as I stay away from where the wiring is. I'm hoping to be completely out of both storage containers by the end of next week so that they can be hauled off and I can stop that financial bleeding. I had another landscaper stop by to give me a bid on fixing the drainage issue around the side of the barn. If things dry out, he thinks we can do that correction in a couple of weeks. That gives me some time to locate and repair the broken irrigation pipe

According the electric company representative, the Town has just hired an outside auditor to start following up on all of the previous construction problems for things like no issued CO. My neighbors might be getting visits soon. I understand the fines are $2K and up, depending on how many violations are found. I'm wiping my brow.....
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:02 PM   #98
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It's official. I have the CO
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