Ever wonder what it’d be like to eliminate the counter between Building Official and the contractor?
At this year’s inspector’s panel, Bob Berger (Grafton), Anthony Ciccariello (Newton), William Forte (Waltham), Frank Ramsbottom (Acton), and Daniel Walsh (Formerly with Lincoln) participated in the discussion. Also, Mike Elliot, Asbestos/C&D Program Coordinator, Mass DEP Bureau of Air & Waste, joined the panel to discuss evolving asbestos policies.
Themes at this year’s discussion:
- Inspectors urged contractors to “never be afraid to challenge officials … provided you have chapter and verse,” they said, referring to the importance of going to the code book as the single source for basis.
- Building inspectors are not designers. They cannot inspect what they designed -- that’s a professional conflict. Present a design to the inspector, but don’t go to the inspector asking for his or her design solution.
- Regarding asbestos -- Mass DEP will investigate every complaint. The town’s Building Official’s office, however, has no obligation to report or enforce.
- Some towns, Waltham and Newton included, are starting to require an engineer’s site visit and sign-off on installation of non-prescription engineering (engineered building solutions that go outside of the prescribed methods in the codebook.)
- Make-up Air units continue to be high interest for our members: Currently, all hoods with an air extraction rating more than 400 cfm will require a make-up air unit to be installed in the home.
- The costs of building permits and their effect on local municipal budgets were also discussed at length. Newton, and some other towns are now requiring a copy of the signed construction contract as a means of determining the permit price for a project. Newton has also started requiring a cost affidavit, signed by the homeowner, at the end of the project to close the permit. This was one of the more heated discussions of the evening, especially since many building official offices bring in revenue that is many times over their dept’s operating costs.
As regulations and codes become more complicated and specific, these cross-counter discussions are an integral part of keeping our chapter’s members on the right side of professionalism and education. Thank you to the building officials who came and openly spoke with our constituency. It means a great deal.
Also, special thanks to CPS HVAC for sponsoring our September dinner meeting. As a Gold Corporate Sponsor of EM NARI, the support from CPS is critical to our organization's success!
Justin Zeller, Owner Red House Custom Building
Chapter VP & Chair Marketing Committee, EM NARI