Rules are always it seems open to interpretation. So much so that we have disinterested third parties, for example referees and judges, just to render decisions in an objective manner on subjective topics. There is no question when two parties disagree there will be some bias to each parties logic as to why they are right.
The business of inspecting homes and buildings is very much an interpretive occupation. Not just for home inspectors, but municipal inspectors and even engineers and architects. Codes, installation instructions and general building techniques must be constantly referred to and often interpreted. This can sometimes cloud the waters and be the beginning of a disagreement.
Inspecting a newly constructed home is always a great challenge as a home inspector. Home inspectors are not municipal code officials. Yet when inspecting a new home the home inspector must be cognizant of building codes. In this instance they do have relevance to the home inspection.
Safety is always a first priority of any inspection. As such when interpreting safety guidelines it is always wise to err on the side of caution. Being loose in this area can result in someone being hurt or worse killed.
So when inspecting a new home recently I found wood framing members exposed in the garage I cited this as in need of repair. The three boards penetrate through the wall and ceiling. All walls must be covered in sheet rock as a fire break when the garage is built into the house, especially when there is a bedroom above as there was here.
The builder did not interpret things as I did. He said the home was inspected, met code and has been issued a CO.
Could the garage door have been raised during the local building officials visit blocking his view? Could he have been distracted and missed those three boards? Why would every wall and the ceiling be covered except around the boards?
When you stop and ponder these questions and look at the issue logically, it would seem clear what the solution should be. As I said erring on the side of caution is always wise in matters of safety. Letting distractions cloud your judgment over a simple repair as in this instance is dangerous.
Hopefully good sense will prevail and this issue will be resolved.
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