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Credentials to review and inspect questioned?

ICE

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Jun 23, 2011
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California concrete jungle
There is a fundamental problem with the current system that allows an individual with little or no qualifications to enforce regulations when he or she has no understanding of the regulations. True there are some individuals who may have some qualifications but in general that is not required.
While I chafe at your frequent characterizations of inspectors as buffoons, that is because the members of this forum are anything but. That said, I concur with the label for the general population of inspectors. In fact it's much worse than you might have imagined. I have many examples of ineptitude, dishonesty, malfeasance and downright bullying.

Does that matter? The average contractor/trades-person knows less about code than the average lousy inspector. Half of all construction is not inspected. In some locales all construction is not permitted or inspected. What are the results of this? Are houses bursting into flames? Are people suffocating in their sleep? Well no. So what does that mean for the worth of what we do? Are we more than a fly in the ointment? I'm not so sure.

There is an intentional dumbing down in the ranks of inspectors. The less an inspector does, the smoother is the existence for managers. Observe the path that California prepared for the solar industry. We used to perform a racking inspection as well as a final inspection. I would find ample reason for that inspection. The legislature dictated that we are now allowed just one inspection and of course that's a final inspection. Soon we will not be allowed to perform a plan check. The end of the road will be self certification by the contractors.

It is rooftop, electrical and brought to us by flimflam artists. Other segments of the construction industry are paying attention

It was not like this twenty-five years ago.
 
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fatboy

Administrator
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Oct 17, 2009
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6,265
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Northern CO
If they want to know the origin, I point them to the ICC site, and tell them if they do some digging, they can find the rationale and code changes there. My job is to administer the current adopted codes. Happy to quote section and verse.

I have also used steverays approach, fun to see the hem and haw about why they don't have one there. :rolleyes:
 

Pcinspector1

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Oct 28, 2009
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Last week, I told the concrete floor crew other day that they needed to remove the excess mud off the rebar and they asked why? I did not know the code and had trouble finding it in the field, so should I've kept my pie hole shut? Was I bullying?

Let's poll! ..put on your red dress... and let's poll!

Do you say the following:
1) Because I said so?
2) Because it's code?
3) Because I'm gonna tell your mother?
4) Cuz the Architect or Engineer wants it that way? *Not indicated on the plans to remove the mud from the rebar.
5) IBC 104, gives me the right too! (Please read this section prior to polling)

I vote #5.
 

rktect 1

Gold Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
Messages
954
Location
Illinois
I usually ask them to pull out their code book and I will show them the code section....I think twice someone had a book. When they don't I tell them I win then...
Im going to start using this. If they can't follow along with the code section, I can't be spending 15 minutes or more reading it to them, explaining their current situation and educating them on it.
 

ICE

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Jun 23, 2011
Messages
9,609
Location
California concrete jungle
"Last week, I told the concrete floor crew other day that they needed to remove the excess mud off the rebar and they asked why? I did not know the code and had trouble finding it in the field, so should I've kept my pie hole shut? Was I bullying?"

I suppose that I would have said, "So that the concrete can adhere to the steel and not the dirt". If they then challenged that I suppose I would have said, "Let's put this job on hold while I search for a code section. I'll get back to you in a day or two."
 
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Sifu

Sawhorse
Joined
Sep 3, 2011
Messages
1,559
I usually ask them to pull out their code book and I will show them the code section....I think twice someone had a book. When they don't I tell them I win then...
Way back when, just starting out as a GC I challenged an inspector on a code. We had a good relationship and respect so it wasn't contentious. When I questioned him he said go grab your code book and I'll show you.......a couple of weeks later, I brought my code book, we opened it to the section in question and he explained his position. That is how I was initiated, and I learned a valuable lesson. I love opportunities where I can teach or learn. I don't love the times when it is a foolish argument, without any basis other then the "30 year" rule or the "we do it over there" rule. Unfortunately, the unhappy occasions outnumber all others by a mile. Most of the time when providing a valid explanation, the applicant refuses to even try to understand and just escalates the complaint to those above. (This very thing JUST HAPPENED 5 MINUTES AGO!)
 

ICE

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Jun 23, 2011
Messages
9,609
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California concrete jungle
I wrote an electrical correction on an inspection for a new warehouse that the superintendent was not convinced was valid. We looked at my code book and sure enough he was seeing it different than me. So he gets out a NEC Handbook. I won that one and my reward was a NEC Handbook when I came to the next inspection.

Sifu,
I stopped entertaining knuckleheads long before I went virtual. For the last fifteen months their voice has gotten smaller and smaller and smaller....until I don't hear them at all.
 

tmurray

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Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
2,083
Location
NB, Canada
Way back when, just starting out as a GC I challenged an inspector on a code. We had a good relationship and respect so it wasn't contentious. When I questioned him he said go grab your code book and I'll show you.......a couple of weeks later, I brought my code book, we opened it to the section in question and he explained his position. That is how I was initiated, and I learned a valuable lesson. I love opportunities where I can teach or learn. I don't love the times when it is a foolish argument, without any basis other then the "30 year" rule or the "we do it over there" rule. Unfortunately, the unhappy occasions outnumber all others by a mile. Most of the time when providing a valid explanation, the applicant refuses to even try to understand and just escalates the complaint to those above. (This very thing JUST HAPPENED 5 MINUTES AGO!)
You gotta love the, we do it that way over there, argument. I now have a canned reply to that statement of "well, it's going to be expensive to move the building there now". I rarely get a further argument from them after saying that.
 

my250r11

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Joined
Feb 16, 2015
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829
Location
Roswell, NM
I would have said ACI 318 & the concrete manual. IRC & IBC reference the 318 The concrete manual is an ICC publication that is a mix of the building code and 318. When I took my test the concrete manual was one of the books some of the questions can out of.
 

Mark K

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Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
1,856
If the inspector doesn't know the code reference off hand the response should be that he will provide the reference when he gets back to the office.

ACI 318 is a part of the code by reference.

The ICC Concrete Manual is not the code. It is a secondary reference that may help the inspector find the reference. Since so much of the code requirements reside in reference standards such as ACI 318 it underscores the need for the department have somebody familiar with these documents. Almost without exception this person will need to be a registered engineer. Remember no one individual can be expected to be familiar with all of the provisions in the published IBC as well as with all of the reference standards.

IBC 104 does not give the inspector the right to impose requirements not formally adopted. IBC 104 does not say that the contractor does not have a right to know the code basis for the requirement.. Read IBC 104 from the point of view of others.
 

my250r11

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Roswell, NM
Most States amend all of chapter one like we do, so it may not be the case in every State. And yes the manual is not code but it does talk about the rebar being clean in regards to mud and also points you to the section in 318.

It is a secondary reference that may help the inspector find the reference.
This is what I was getting at. Not only for an inspector but also the contractor. The manual is written in plain English that even people that have a hard time with the code can understand.

Most contractors will not educated their selves. They wait for correction notices. The ones that do educated them selves are generally the ones that don't need to be told to clean the rebar and are not the ones that are problematic.
 
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No Soup for you

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Feb 13, 2020
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52
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New York
I try and educate as much as possible. Can I quote a code section in the field? probably not.

When I come across an obstinate contractor thats gonna do it his way.... I calmly just tell them they failed the inspection, stop work in the area in question and call the office and re-schedule a re-inspection when they correct the situation.

regarding rebar: I love the guys that prop up their rebar not on chairs but on beer cans and rocks and tell me they have been doing it that way for years.

My normal response: Just because youve been doing it wrong for 25 years doesnt make it right.
 

ICE

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Jun 23, 2011
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California concrete jungle
"IBC 104 does not give the inspector the right to impose requirements not formally adopted. IBC 104 does not say that the contractor does not have a right to know the code basis for the requirement.. Read IBC 104 from the point of view of others."


104.2 Powers and Duties of the Building Official.

104.2.1 General. The Building Official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce all the provisions of this Code, including the Electrical Code, the Plumbing Code, the Mechanical Code, the Residential Code, the Existing Building Code, and the Green Building Standards Code and to make all inspections pursuant to the provisions of each such Code. For such purposes, the Building Official shall have the powers of a law enforcement officer.

The Building Official shall have the power to render interpretations of this Code and to adopt and enforce rules and supplemental regulations in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, rules, and regulations shall be in conformance with the intent and purpose of this Code.

The Building Official shall classify every building or portion thereof into one of the occupancies set forth in A Chapter 3 of this Code according to its use or the character of its occupancy.

The Building Official shall also classify every building into one of the types of construction set forth in Chapter 6 of this Code.

104.2.1.1 The Building Official is authorized to make and enforce such guidelines and policies for the safe-guarding of life, limb, health or property as may be necessary from time to time to carry out the purpose of this Code.


Well then, the door is opened wide.
 

Pcinspector1

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I guess the alternative is to let them leave the mud all over the rebar and go ahead and let em pour.

Wonder if I shouldn't have mentioned that the polyethylene needs to overlap a minimum of 6-inches or do I need to cite that code number? Probably stepping out of bounds on that one too.

Wonder what happen to the ufer ground wire and the radon T-pipe?

I guess if I don't know the code section number I shouldn't be inspecting is the lesson I'm learning here!

Thanks ICE for a little back up.
 

Mark K

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May 12, 2010
Messages
1,856
The inspector does not need to educate the contractor as to why the code requirement is. If the contractor or owner does not understand the implications of the code provision the contractor or owner can consult with an architect or engineer. But the inspector needs to define the reason for the comment in terms of code provisions.

There is a basic disconnect between words in the building code such as "adopt and enforce rules and supplemental regulations" and our system of laws and in particular our state constitution. The basis principal is that only legislative bodies may adopt laws, not individuals. There is recognized a limited exception to this rule when the legislature has defined the basic constraints of the regulations and delegated the adoption of the detailed regulations to an administrative body. This administrative body is required to follow particular procedures when they propose to adopt a regulation. An individual cannot be given the authority to adopt regulations particularly when the procedures for doing so have not been complied with.

Thus depending on whether it is the state or local jurisdiction adopting building code the requirements must be adopted either by an state administrative body or by the local legislative body, such as city council. The administrative agency or the local legislative body does not have the authority to empower the building official to adopt rules or regulations.

Yes the building official can clarify what the code says but in doing so the clarification can only be clarifications of the adopted laws and cannot constitute the adoption of additional rules or regulations, which are laws.

This disconnect exists because the model code is created by a bunch of building officials who either do not appreciate the law or do not care. Then state agencies or local jurisdictions blindly adopt the model code as their building code without looking carefully at what it contains. The fact that the building code contains provisions in conflict with state law does not make them legal since the state agency or the local jurisdiction did not have the legal authority to adopt the provisions in conflict with state law..

Clarifications are acceptable but when they essentially impose new requirements they are not.

Bottom line is that the building official cannot have the authority to unilaterally impose new rules or regulations.

The question is do we have a system of laws or are we ruled by autocrats?
 

ICE

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California concrete jungle
I’m going to go with autocrats. Always eager to toss a stone at an inspector leaves you ill prepared to defend a line that inspectors on this forum rarely cross.

I am probably the worst offender that you will find here and know this: I have yet to be found out of bounds when crossing the line. Every time that I have failed to have a code to support a correction I was found to have a valid reason behind the correction. What I do has nothing to do with ego. I think that the job is important. I see the result of the thinking mans best effort and sometimes the result needs correction. You'll have to excuse me for having the temerity to challenge my superiors.
 
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