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Expert Witness vs Building Inspector

Expert Witness vs Building Inspector

Expert Witness vs Building Inspector

I am a expert witness on a very large house that was not issued a final C of O because the contractor was terminated. The building inspector allowed the general contractor to do his own design build. The architect is no longer on the job. What is the Building inspectors exposure allowing the contractor to disregard the Architects plans. The GC's workmanship is a million dollar disgrace. Any tips will greatly appreciated.

RE: Expert Witness vs Building Inspector

You really need to look at the AHJ requirements for their Building Inspectors. Many AJH only require a High School Ed and maybe a ICC cert. for their starting inspectors.
From one AHJ website
"Building Inspector I/II
Equivalent to graduation from high school.
Building Inspector I
One or more years of experience performing work in the building trades of plumbing, electrical, mechanical, foundations, and/or remodeling work. Experience performing building inspections is highly desirable.
Building Inspector II
Two or more years of experience performing journey level work in the building trades,"

Garth Dreger PE - AZ Phoenix area
As EOR's we should take the responsibility to design our structures to support the components we allow in our design per that industry standards.

RE: Expert Witness vs Building Inspector

This is one for a lawyer as the liability depends on the jurisdiction and any protection that may or may not be afforded. It also gets into the controversial issue of the practice of engineering, if these are structural issues in particular, probably without a license.

All I know is that I am glad I am not that building inspector. Could be a real can of worms here.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Expert Witness vs Building Inspector

The lawyer for the homeowner has already submitted a huge claim to the builders CGL insurance company. There are some very serious structural issues as load bearing walls were removed and LVL's were installed by the GC.
Designed spread footings were not intalled as the steel posts were set on the wall footings where the walls were removed.

RE: Expert Witness vs Building Inspector

I just became an expert witness for another new house. Thats 2 in less than a month. This one got a CO and the homeowner is suing the builder for $150,000 for shoody workmanship. What is going on with high end residential construction and the municipal inspectors allowing such lousy work to proceed.

RE: Expert Witness vs Building Inspector

The contractors are looking for work and cutting as much cost as they can to increase profit due to the money lost in the last couple of years. The municipal inspectors are happy just to have some work to protect their jobs.

Garth Dreger PE - AZ Phoenix area
As EOR's we should take the responsibility to design our structures to support the components we allow in our design per that industry standards.

RE: Expert Witness vs Building Inspector

Cap4000...if the inspection is done by a municipal inspector, they generally have sovereign immunity from lawsuits, so no big shakes for them to be right or wrong. As woodman88 noted, they usually have few if any credentials. If the inspection was done through a private party, authorized by the municipality to do so, they are usually not indemnified by the municipality and can be held liable...all questions and deliberation for an attorney.

Residential construction codes are more "forgiving" than commercial codes, so part of the blame goes there. If an architect or engineer was required to submit the plans, then the contractor is obligated (under the IRC/IBC and state codes derived from them) to follow the submitted and approved plans or the permit is invalid.

Another issue is that CGL does not usually cover a contractor's screw ups or bad construction...only the consequential damage of such. As an example, if subcontractor A screws up and it damages subcontractor B's work, then a claim can be made for the work damaged by A, but not A's work. To further bring this one home, suppose Sub A is a stucco installer and Sub B is a framing installer. Sub A fails to install the stucco correctly and it causes water intrusion damage to Sub B's work. The damage to the framing would probably be covered under Sub A's CGL; however, the defective stucco work would not be covered. An argument would then have to be made that the only way to repair Sub B's damaged work is to removed Sub A's work, defective or not. It gets complicated with insurance coverage.

RE: Expert Witness vs Building Inspector

I just was retained on a 3rd case as an expert witness. There is something wrong the inspections passing and the homeowner suing for a lot of money due to shoody workmanship and breach of contract.

RE: Expert Witness vs Building Inspector

A building inspector is only responsible for compliance with the building code adopted by the jurisdiction. I did a quick check and there are 3 sections in the IBC where one finds the word workmanship and these are in the Special Inspections requirements in Chapter 17. A building inspector has no responsibilities between the contract agreement of the owner, the designer and the contractor.

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