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Inspector Guidance

Discussion in 'Code Training *Sponsor: BuildingCodeCollege.com' started by Glenn, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. Glenn

    Glenn Corporate Supporter
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    I've found that being an inspector requires code knowledge, but also people skills. I thought I'd start a thread discussing advice, suggestion, etc, for how to conduct oneself as an inspector. Here is a rough little video talking about the advice provided in the 1927 UBC


    This was given to me by my supervisor on my first day as an Inspector
    [​IMG]

    ICC also has a book on the subject of "soft skills" https://shop.iccsafe.org/inspector-skills.html

    What can you share to help encourage quality inspector character and attitude?
     
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  2. linnrg

    linnrg Sawhorse

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    The codes have become thick volumes that creates lots of areas that need interpretation.

    I think one of the skills that each of us needs is how to read the codes and once that is understood you can apply and inspect to the code. Don't just pluck a sentence out.

    On most jobs the plumbers and electricians can produce the code to you on the jobsite - I have never had a residential contractor show me their copy of the code! You would think that when they got their license they would have studied the code - nope they go to the schools that teach you how to ace the test.

    Years ago, at the request of the home builders association, I used to obtain extra copies to be able to sell them to contractors. I quit doing that when no one bought them.
     
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  3. mtlogcabin

    mtlogcabin Sawhorse

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    You can not train personality. I will and have hired the less qualified in order to get the right character and attitude.
     
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  4. Sifu

    Sifu Gold Member

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    Code is teachable most of the time. Humility far less so.
     
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  5. Inspector Gift

    Inspector Gift Sawhorse - Made in USA

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    (Read #12)

    ..........................................................................................................................
    A good inspector:

    1) Recognizes human limitations, including his own, others know construction too!

    2) May be wrong, but is not ashamed to admit it.

    3) Is not prideful to ask questions.

    4) Tries to justify his decisions with reasons other than that's what the code say's.

    5) Helps solves problems rather than condemning work, but does not attempt to change design.

    6) Is certainly willing to concede minor points in order to produce general compliance.

    7) Discusses problems with other inspectors and comes to a joint conclusions with all staff members.

    8) Budgets his time.

    10) Keeps his/her appointments.

    11) Does not make demands he doesn't intend to enforce.

    12) Does not take the bosses’ cheesecake from the refrigerator when they are not around.
    ........................................................................................................................
     
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  6. ICE

    ICE Sawhorse

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    The definition of a "good" inspector depends on where and when the definition is applied. I have worked in areas where the good inspector wrote the violations as they were found. I have worked other areas where the inspector is not allowed to find violations. Some jurisdictions strive to hire competent inspectors and some want the opposite. It depends on the objectives of management. Here in southern California contractors can identify which type of area they are in. They tell me stories. I see it from the inside. It was a different existence when I started this journey.

    Every AHJ wants personable employees. The rest of the list is work habits like showing up for work on time.

    The small group of inspectors that participate here at the forum is not representative of the industry.....not by a long shot.
     
    #6 ICE, Jan 15, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
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  7. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    Four thoughts in one post:

    1) It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance. Thomas Huxley

    2) When you talk you can only say something that you already know. When you listen you may learn what someone else knows.

    3) Most people in positions of authority want to use it wisely and they're always looking for someone with common sence to help them do it.

    4) Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a person as if he were what he could be and should be, and he will become what he could be and should be.
     
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  8. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    A lot of he's and him's. I guess no women inspectors back in the day.

    The Bad Inspector Does not recognize alternative construction techniques: He limits himself "to the letter" interpretation of the code.

    I can not approve an alternative construction method, I am 3rd party and not AHJ. Only the AHJ can approve a alternative method.. On a job where they want to install roof drain piping to a method in the 2015 IBC but not in the 2009 IBC that this job is under. Had them go to the AHJ and he is making them go to the appeals board. If it was my decision I would let them do it.

    This must have been written before accessibility codes. I definitely cannot approve an alternative way for accessibility, I would lose my state certification.
     
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  9. Glenn

    Glenn Corporate Supporter
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    Great commentary. A few other bits of wisdom I was lucky to learn:
    "Rules without relationship result in rebellion"
    "Seek to understand before seeking understanding"
     
  10. Glenn

    Glenn Corporate Supporter
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    I can't believe the AHJ is making them go to an appeals board to use a future code edition as an alternative. That is someone without sufficient confidence in their qualifications to be a Building Official.
     
  11. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    I have been a AHJ and an inspector before but as just an inspector I need to much stricter following the code.
     
  12. mtlogcabin

    mtlogcabin Sawhorse

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    Our last Appeals Board Meeting was in 1998. There are many avenues of information available to a building official and design professional to use when applying the "intent" of the code to solve an issue. This forum I believes tops the list with the many different AHJ's, design professionals and trades people that contribute here.
     
  13. linnrg

    linnrg Sawhorse

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    I will offer that the industry has a sort of built in problem - why would some one real qualified in their trade making decent money take a job that pays so poorly? The rigid budget cycle of most municipalities do not allow for pay adjustments that keep up with the industry.
    For me in the beginning this job did not pay jack - so after a bunch of years I left and took a job in remote Alaska (that paid way more but I only came home 3 times a year). 4 and a half years later the city with new management had the job open and because of certifications they wanted me back. So I had a chance to negotiate and now many years later I have OK pay, During that rehiring process they asked me for references and I told them to call any contractor in the area and ask them if the don't recommend me then don't hire me. The new Public Works boss liked hearing that and did so. He later told me that they had convinced him that my knowledge and attitude was right for the job. Watching the jobs that mmarvel puts on here I see that the pay is low and real low in some parts of the country.

    Bad legs got me here but my attitude and knowledge keep me here. The perks of this job being steady employment, insurance and vacation are good.

    Now the other side - the client side has all sorts of character flaws! It sometimes is difficult to deal with them without getting pissed off. But for the most part I have good clients. Previous comments circle around the issue of getting to know them personally and having personal interaction with other than the top contract personnel - for me that is impossible. I know lots of these people and have for nearly twenty years. I have hunted, fished, flown in small planes of theirs, bought them lunch/coffee, watched their kids grow up, gone to many funerals, etc. - so I probably broke many of those 1927 offers of guidance.
     
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  14. Sifu

    Sifu Gold Member

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    I have always worked (inspection work) remote from where I lived and/or did previous contracting work or worked in a large enough city that I know very few people personally. I try to maintain that separation. On the rare occasions where I must enforce codes on people or places I am too familiar with I will admit I find it uncomfortable.
     
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  15. mtlogcabin

    mtlogcabin Sawhorse

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    Never lived in the jurisdiction were I worked and never socially interacted with contractors. The relationship I try to develop with them is they are my customers and I am just another set of eyes to help them build a good and safe product.
     
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  16. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    I lived and worked in the same Town....Oddly it was more the Town government that I ended up not being comfortable with, not the contractors....Every now and then I would have to see someone at the store or whatever, but I just chocked that up to customer service...
     
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