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Archive for November, 2012

Inspector caught on camera inspecting roof from the ground

November 23rd, 2012 No comments

Given the technology that is all around us, an inspector needs to act as if everything he or she does is being videotaped.  Unfortunately one inspector in Largo, Florida didn’t follow this rule and ended up getting caught by an owner’s surveillance camera.  It shows the inspector walking right past a ladder.  His boss said he was “counseled” regarding this way of inspecting but no other steps were taken to discipline him according to a report by NBC Channel 8 in Tampa Bay.

When the chief building inspector went to the property, he found numerous deficiencies with the roof.  The public responded by arguing that cities just want the permit revenue but don’t want to spend time doing quality inspections.  This is very bad publicity because we justify what we do by asserting public safety. You can watch the video by following the link.

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Religion and building codes

November 6th, 2012 No comments

Morristown N.Y. recently settled a case with the Amish community over failure to follow the local building code. The Amish had contended they did not need to adhere to the code because of First Amendment freedom of religion considerations.  However, they ultimately worked out an agreement whereby criminal charges were dropped.  The town recognized that certain building techniques met the code and the Amish agreed not to use other ones that were not deemed proper.  Inspectors would install smoke detectors but there would be no enforcement subsequent to the installation. Amish communities are actually growing in the United States.  The Washington Times reported that other disputes have arisen in the past with Amish communities over codes but usually it involves waste disposal and outhouses.  This is the first time I have heard of the First Amendment being a defense to a building code.  I’d be interested to hear if any readers have experience with this issue.

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Code enforcement and cannabis

November 6th, 2012 No comments

Santa Barbara is a wonderful place for a code training.  I was lucky enough to be invited by the California County Building Offiicials Association to teach Legal Aspects of Code Administration on September 24th.  I really enjoy traveling around the country because I learn so much.  One of the big problems the building officials are facing in California are houses used for growing marijuana.  There are a lot of mom and pop operations because of California’s approach to medical marijuana.  Some unscrupulous individuals rent vacant houses, never letting on that they are not going to live in the house, and then fill it with plants.  The electrical system is compromised with all of the power needed for such an operation and the owner is left with a big mess when the perpetrator moves on or is arrested.  I wonder if anyone has ever used the zoning ordinances to prosecute anyone for illegal home occupation?

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