Monday, September 3, 2012


Here's what a passed inspection sticker looks like!


That's what a failed inspection sticker looks like. Stuck to the stainless steel of my front door, no less. I had to use a razor to peel it off. In this case the plumbing inspection failed only because the house was locked when the inspector came. There was a key hidden nearby, but apparently these inspectors don't pay attention to that, even if you tell them where it is. And they don't call you if there's a problem. And they don't tell you when they are coming. "So I just have to leave the house unlocked all day??," I asked my builder friend / consulting general contractor, who called in these inspections. "Yep." So I had her call for re-inspection on a day I knew workers would be there. Then the plumbing passed.

The house did fail a couple of inspections for other reasons than the house being locked, though they weren't exactly legitimate failures either. The heating and air system failed at first because, as my builder friend texted to me, "there's no insulation on the ductwork in the unconditioned space." I texted back, "There is no duct in unconditioned space." "That's what I told him," she said. So he came back out to look again and passed it. One glance at my section drawings would have shown that not only is no duct in unconditioned space, there is no unconditioned space in this whole house.

Then the framing inspection was put on hold until the inspector could measure the heights of the window sills in my bedrooms. He thought they looked too high to pass the egress code (but didn't have a measuring tape with him at the time). That made me nervous at first, even though I remembered looking up that height in the code and being very careful to follow it. I knew it was close, and I started to worry that the inspector would interpret the rule a little differently than I did. Was it 42 inches to the top of the wood sill? Or 42 inches to the window frame? That's a few inches of difference. I looked at the code again and it specifically says "sill," not "frame," then I went out and measured the height to the sills: 42 inches exactly. Apparently the inspector interpreted the code as I did, because the next sticker I saw was a "pass" for the framing. And I vowed to give myself a little more wiggle room in the future.

Oh yeah, and the plumbing failed originally (before it failed because the house was locked) because water pressure had not been applied to the pipes before the inspector arrived. This was just an oversight. We called the plumber out to add pressure and then it passed.

Come to think of it, the electrical wiring is the only part that passed immediately.

This series of inspections is called the "rough-in inspections," since they are done after all the systems have been roughed-in - plumbing, electrical, mechanical. And in this county they lump the framing inspection in with these. I felt relieved when everything finally passed, since each one is unconventional in some way, or ways.

The next inspection was for the insulation, which passed on the first go-round, amazingly enough. But this insulation deserves its own post, so that will be next. Teaser: It ain't pink.

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