Working with Building Inspectors

Working with Building Inspectors

Regardless of whether you’re a general contractor, home builder, or sub-contractor, if you’re working in the construction industry, you’ll need to maintain a good relationship with the local inspectors. In many cases these people are involved in your project from the time permits are approved until the project is complete and sometimes even after that point if a problem develops. If you don’t have a good working relationship with these construction professionals, getting your project done on time can be almost impossible.

Tips for Working with your Local Building Inspectors

If you’ve had a lengthy construction career, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve encountered at least one inspector along the way that you just couldn’t seem to satisfy. If you happened to work in a small area that only had one or two building officials, not getting along with one of them can definitely pose a problem. However, even if your projects are in a large metropolitan location, sooner or later you’re going to encounter an inspector that gives you problems and it always seems to be when you just have to pass the inspection. What can you do to harbor good will between your company and the professionals who inspect its projects:

  • Show inspectors that your company is sincerely concerned with building a high quality product that meets or exceeds all Codes – even if it means spending a little extra money along the way
  • Make sure your project manager or superintendent on the site is familiar with all applicable Codes that affect your phase of the project
  • Don’t call an inspector out to the job if you’re not ready for inspection
  • Have an employee walk with the inspector and take notes of all concerns
  • If you tell an inspector that you’re going to correct an issue, make sure it gets done
  • Keep a Code book on site for reference when needed
  • Treat inspectors with the respect their position deserves

Keep in mind that inspectors are facing the same challenges during this difficult economy that you and your company are, and they’re just as concerned about losing their jobs as any other employee in the construction industry. This may make them more reluctant than ever to let anything slide that might possibly be a Code violation — even if you promise to correct it as soon as the inspection is complete. Maintaining a good relationship with your inspectors can make your life a lot easier and your project run much more smoothly.

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