Permit Inspection Process

One of the most valuable steps in the permitting process is having the work looked at by someone who knows how it should look. If you are doing the work yourself, then it is another set of eyes checking things out. If you are hiring a contractor to do the work, having it inspected reassures you that the work is meeting the safety requirements established in the statewide building code.

When this inspection is done by someone who is trained in the field for the type of work you are doing, it brings a certain value to the project. Most over the counter permits need just one or two inspections; it is only the more complex project, like a house addition, that requires a number of inspections.

Permit inspections help protect your family by ensuring the project is done safely and correctly. It can also save you money by catching errors to make sure the project is done right the first time. These inspections can also ease the frustration that many homeowners experience during a home improvement by eliminating mistakes and preventing extensive rework.

Explaining the Permit Inspection Process

The home inspection process is straight-forward and nothing to fear. When an inspector comes into your home for a permit inspection, they should only be there to look at the specific project that is permitted. They are NOT supposed to search around your house for code violations.

The one exception is if an inspector sees a profoundly unsafe situation, like a live exposed electrical wire or dangerous fire hazard. In that case they will bring it to your attention and ensure that the hazard is repaired safely.

There is no need to worry about a surprise inspection, in fact, inspectors only come when you call and schedule an appointment.

How the inspection process works if you are doing the project yourself:

  • When a project is ready to be inspected you need to call and schedule an inspection appointment.
  • The inspector will visit your project site and evaluate the work.
  • If the work is up to code, the inspector will approve the work.
  • If there are any changes required, the inspector will give you a list of items that do not meet the minimum code requirements, which will give you a checklist of what needs to be corrected.
  • Once you have completed the list, you need to schedule another inspection appointment where the inspector can verify everything was fixed correctly and approve the work.
  • Once the work is approved, the inspector will file your completed permit with the building department and you are done. Make sure you keep your copy for your records as well.

How the inspection process works if you hire a contractor:

  • Talk to your contractor about scheduling the inspection(s), keeping informed about what is being inspected and when. If you are interested, you can let them know you want to be present during these visits.
  • The inspector will visit your site and evaluate the work. You want to make sure the contractor schedules an inspection before they seal up walls.
  • If the work is up to code, the inspector will approve it.
  • If there are changes that need to be made, the inspector will discuss these with the contractor and provide a list of the codes that need to be met in order for the project to be approved.
  • Once the contractor has made the changes another inspection should be scheduled, before walls are sealed, to have the work approved.
  • These steps may be taken several times during the life of a remodeling depending on the amount of work being done. You may need to have an electrical, plumbing and structural inspection on the same project.
  • With each inspection, once the work is approved, the inspector will file your completed permit with the building department. Make sure you get a copy of each permit and inspection approval for your records.