Q: I am planning major remodel work to my 4plex. My contractor told me not to worry and he will have everything under control, but I know that City inspections can cause serious delays if we are not ready for them or if I do something wrong. I am not an expert or experienced in construction; what should I watch for as far as the actual inspections are concerned?
A: Listed are the top reasons why professionals do not pass inspections taken from a 2015 JLC (Journal of Light Construction) survey.
Foundation: Improper reinforcement or support of rebar
Wall Framing: Missing fire-blocks and hold-down straps
Floor framing: Missing anchor bolts and sheeting nails, missing joist
Trusses: Bracing not installed or improperly connected to wall plate
Roofing: Over-driving of nails into shingles; missing nails, incorrect felt
Window & Door: Improper flashing; inadequate fire rating; improper weather stripping
Handrail: Improper height or spacing
Plumbing: Missing nail plates; improper pipe support
Electrical: *Missing grounds; GFCI protection; labeling of circuits; electrical code many have changed in many places to require Arc Fault receptacles
Decks: Deck not built according to the plans; improper handrail installation; be mindful that there could be new standards on decks and elevated surfaces.
Last word: It is helpful to have a contractor who is familiar with the local inspection standards for rental properties because they vary from owner-occupied. Have the contractor include in the scope a timeline for the job to be completed in writing before the job is started. It should include a reasonable estimate for the time needed for the inspections.
Sources: Buffalo Maintenance and NAA Education Institute’s National Maintenance and Safety Instructor Paul Rhodes, CAMT, CAMT+E