Inspection myths and facts

There is a common misunderstanding that the city inspectors should be checking every hinge or baseboard attachment.  Many of us are getting back in to our brand new homes and finding flaws or things we think the city should have made our contractors fix.  Most, if not all things that we are finding can be resolved by getting in touch with our builder.  Generally at the end of a project you will do a final walk through with your builder and they will have you make a “punchlist“.  The builder will work to resolve those items with you.

We asked the city to shed some light on the topic of inspections that they perform during and at the end of your build.  Hopefully this explanation will help debunk the idea that not everything falls on the city inspectors shoulders.

The requirements for inspections are in the codes and there isn’t a comprehensive “checklist” to go by.  The way the city inspects is really reliant on the plans and their accuracy.  They inspect to what is presented, and many times point out things that are not shown on the plans.  The inspections are accomplished by staff who must have experience and knowledge in all aspects of the codes.  Construction inspection is a true combination of effective design professionals depicting everything to be constructed, builders executing all of those things depicted, and inspectors looking at both (plans and actual work).  All three main elements of construction and inspection (plans, construction and inspection) are also reliant on all 3 phases doing the things and catching elements that aren’t shown.  A design professional can never catch every single requirement on plans, a builder can never catch everything that is depicted in the plans – and an inspector can never catch everything that is missed in the first two stages.  But – the combination of all phases picking up misses where the other phase was short – culminates in safe and compliant buildings.   Additionally, another important element of the phases is the plan review.  This again is an attempt to catch everything that should be shown on plans for construction.  Yet-another element to pick up where other phases may have missed.

It is recommended that owners hire a third party inspector either during or after your home is built.  Having a third set of eyes on one of your largest investments is seen by many as a critical part of making sure that progress is being made at the rate payments are being requested and best practices are being met.  The inspector will be able to communicate with you any concerns they might have that you can discuss with your builder.

lyle stanley says February 3, 2020

What about these fences? Some are so-much taller then before. Isn’t their a standard? Why isn’t it being inforced?

    Sasha Butler says February 4, 2020

    Thank you for your question. Yes, some fences are taller than previously. There are fence and screening guidelines that you can view on the Rebuilding Together site by the City of Santa Rosa, Some are building a 6′ fence with 2′ of lattice above. This may be significantly higher than what they had before, but it is allowed. I hope this answered your question!

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