| Windows and Exterior
doors | Rough
plumbing HVAC & gas lines | Rough
electrical | >>4-way
At this stage inspection of the
rough framing, rough plumbing, rough HVAC, and rough
electrical takes place. Some building jurisdictions
have a final 4-way inspection and others break the
4-way into separate inspections. The second option
allows an expert in each area to inspect each
part of the rough-in work.
The job of the inspector
is to make sure that the construction of the house
follows applicable building codes. Since the
building code is not "concrete" and is open
to interpretation, subcontractors and inspectors often
disagree about the meaning of certain code requirements.
However, most subcontractors
know that it is in their best interest (and the
owner builder) to get along well with the inspector
even when they seem to be unreasonable. If you
show that you are willing to satisfy the code and
follow the inspectors corrections it will help make
subsequent inspections go smoothly.
The rough framing is the
first part of the 4-way inspection. At this
stage the house will be completely framed with exterior
doors and windows installed.
There are literally hundreds
of items that the inspector will look for during the
framing inspection the most important of which are
structural items. The inspector will check bearing
walls and point loads to see if they are transferred
all the way to the foundation. Fire blocking
and bracing are also items that are high on the inspection
list. Inspectors will not usually check that
a wall is plumb or that a room is square as that is
up to the builder.
The plumber installs the
DWV and supply pipes to all fixtures, appliances and
exterior hose bibs. Tubs are installed, as are
shower drains and shower pans. It is a good
idea to cover tubs and showers after installation
as they are very susceptible to damage from other
subs during the finishing stages of the construction.
Part of the rough plumbing
inspection will be a pressure test on the DWV and
supply lines which will make sure that the pipes don't
leak. Once the inspection is scheduled, it is
the plumbers responsibility to pretest the systems
and have them "pressured up" when the inspector
Now the furnace and all ductwork
is installed. It is important that the furnace
is in working order after the rough-in since if the
weather is cold the Drywall and paint crew will need
heat to complete their jobs.
Hot water heating systems also
require a pressure test to check for leaks. Again,
coordinate with the HVAC sub to ensure that the system
is "under test" when the inspector arrives.
The gas piping is inspected
by the gas company or by the building inspector by
putting it under a low pressure test to check for
leaks. Check with the gas company to find out
who will do the inspection.
If you have passed the inspection,
you are ready to move on with the construction
schedule. If not you will have a list of deficiencies
from the inspector. Contact the subcontractors and
let them know which items need to be fixed.
Most subcontractors are anxious
to pass the inspections (and get paid! ) so generally
they will come the next day to fix their work.
Most fixes are minor and can be completed in less
than an hour. Before calling for a re-inspection
go over the list and make sure that all the items
have been fixed. The follow-up inspection should
only cover those areas that failed in the first inspection.
Make sure that the inspector
understands that your goal is to comply with all building
code requirements and don't be afraid to ask
questions if you don't understand why an inspector
asks for changes or corrections. If you have
competent subcontractors, problems will be minimal.
Work with your subcontractors
to get their work inspected in a timely manner.
Some contractors like to call for their own inspection
(where each trade is inspected by a separate inspector).
In areas where a four-way inspection is required it
will be up to you to coordinate the inspection and
make sure that all the work is complete.