What happens when you are asked to enforce the provisions of the code which were obviously missed by an inspector before your time? How about when an inspector just misses the boat? Here is our background:
Recently our agency was made aware of a serious flaw in an operating hotel (the day before Christmas). The owner of the hotel noticed multiple cracks in the ceiling of the pool area (a two story atrium over the pool, with hotel suites which open to the pool area). The maintenance supervisor contacted a structural engineer who was very surprised by the construction techniques found in the attic space.
The attic contained multiple wood trusses which were installed upside down, bowed, showing deflection, and were sagging approximately 9″. The structural engineer felt he could not sleep and had to contact the building and fire departments. A temporary measurehas been installed and now they are working on a permanent fix.
Obviously we are disappointed that the original design professional, contractor, and inspector did not catch the improperly installed trusses. With the sense of liability placed on inspectors, design professionals, and contractors we (as the inspector) must continue to ensure code compliance. If projects do not make the grade or provide a reasonable degree of safety the inspection must not pass. We are not here to be the inspector police but to lend a hand, so this scenario does not repeat itself. Can you imagine if the hotel roof did fall? How much could have been prevented by a complete inspection the first time!
While conducting an inspection on a scenario similar to above please remember your safety. If a structural engineer has deemed a structure unsafe, don’t stand in it or below it until the problem is remedied. The life of an inspector can be difficult. Keep up the great cause to keep the built environment safe.