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plumbing inspectors

When I built my restaurant 11 years ago, all mechanical systems, including the grease trap were up to code. Recently, my city demanded that I retrofit a much larger grease trap (1,500 gallons). I hired a contractor recommended by the city inspector and got the new trap installed. Within days after the installation, the smell of sewer gas was all over my property. Since the installation, the contractor has been back at least four times to try and fix the problem. I have resorted to calling other contractors to evaluate the installation. Their opinion is that the contractor should not have snaked the sewer lines into a giant "S" to accomodate the retrofit. They say sewer lines should run as straight as possible and be correctly graded. The problem is that since the city inspector green tagged the rough-in and approved the installation, no plumber will put anything in writing that would pit them against the inspector. Suggestions, anyone? Thanks.

Re: plumbing inspectors

Sounds like politics are involved here. Best advice might be to make a politician your friend. :)

Re: plumbing inspectors

Guess I'm just naive. I thought working seven days a week to build my business, paying my taxes, and playing by all the rules was all I needed to do. Have to remember to put "make friends with a politician" on the top of my list of things to do.
Was really hoping someone knew of an oversight agency that I could contact.

A. Spruce
Re: plumbing inspectors

The only thing I can think of is to consult with a real estate attorney who might be able to offer some legal advice. If "fault" can be placed on the inspector, it's possible that you can have the repairs done at the city's expense. I'm sure that doesn't help, but you're not alone. I've had the same issue after taking over an "owner builder" property. The original owner/builder couldn't afford the place anymore and sold it. The buyer hired me to finish the project and do a few upgrades. We ended up having to do an additional $15,000 in code compliance upgrades on items that had already been signed off by the county. And that was only half of it. The owner/builder put a garage under the house that was in flood plain when he wasn't supposed to. Instead of the county making him tear it out, they left him alone, only to hassle the new owner about it. The new owner talked his way out of doing the retrofit repairs because of the expense of all the other "code" issues. They gave him something like 6 months to comply. When I finished my work, I never went back to the property, so I don't know if the garage was ever readdressed.

Re: plumbing inspectors

Good luck trying to assign fault to any government employee!!

It's been my experience that an inspector signing off on something never makes them responsible for a 'code compliant' system actually being able to function! I can understand the other plumbers not wanting to make waves in the cesspool of politics since they have to deal with the inspector on a frequent basis. Maybe you could get someone to come in from a neighboring jurisdiction (next county over?) to do the dirty work since they would not have to deal with this inspector on a frequent basis?

Good luck, I hope you don't get into the finger pointing game between the contractor and inspector.

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