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You’re The Boss

In any other state I could have been all the way up to the second floor framing this week but here in San Diego the City inspector wants to see your floor system framed up first, verify the hold downs and framing, then come back and inspect the underfloor plumbing lines, then come back again and inspect the insulation. You lose a day in between each inspection so this would have dragged out for a week. It really makes sense to do it this way because its easier to do the under house plumbing now, rather than crawling under the house later to do it but the reason the inspector wants it done in this order really just comes down to the fact that he’s not crawling under the house no matter what.

After framing up the floor system in a day I had my plumber come and set all the under floor ABS waste lines and fill them again with water to make sure there’s no leaks. Lastly the insulation got dropped in on nylon netting we strung between the floor joists. Its a real trick way to insulate the floor on a new construction raised foundation house. I’ve used wires in the past but the insulation always ends up falling down in some places. Once we pass then we just sheet over it. The threaded rod you see sticking up is for the Simpson HDU hold downs that secure 4X6 posts in the exterior walls all the way down into the concrete foundation footing. This is to securely hold the structure on the foundation in case of an earthquake and they are strategically placed in shear wall areas by the engineer on the plans.

Of course I had a better idea. I tried to speed things up by only calling once to have him come do all 3 inspections simultaneously. I had the insulation pulled back along the sides so he could see the framing, plumbing and hold downs thinking this would be fine, unfortunately he wasn’t really that excited about my idea. My regular inspector didn’t show up but rather a Senior Inspector who happens to be very thorough and whom I’ve dealt with before. He almost gave me the signature required in order for me to sheet the floor with CDX and start putting walls up, but he found one plumbing fitting that he said wasn’t correct so he’s coming back Monday after we change it and also wants me to pull more of the insulation back for a better look. Uggghhh. My plumber swears the fitting he used is allowed, its a Sanitee on its back for a 2″ vent pipe. The inspector wanted a sweep which is weird cause its only a vent, not a waste line. Who knows but I wasn’t going to argue with him, I told him he’s the boss but I kinda want to check the code book now though just out of curiosity.

The senior inspector asked who the general contractor was. Hesitantly, I told him I was an owner/builder. Seeming surprised he said it looked better than most jobs and kept congratulating me on doing such good work. Maybe he was just trying to make me feel better because he could see it on my face that I was bummed not being able to start putting up the walls. He knew I was totally ready to go, as he was doing his inspection I received the first delivery of truss material for the second story. I should pass on Monday and we’ll be back in action. I’m a Chevy guy but how cool is this early Ford extra cab delivery truck from La Mesa Lumber?

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  1. 7 Comment(s)

  2. By tj & the bear on Aug 5, 2012 | Reply

    I’m a Chevy guy, too, but that is a classic.

    How many inspections will there be by the time you finish?

  3. By Tom on Aug 5, 2012 | Reply

    There are 97 inspections on the yellow inspection card here in San Diego.

    Not all are applicable on ever job. Here is a list of the roughly 23 inspections that will apply to my new construction plans:

    1. sewer service tie in (passed)
    2. backwater valve
    3. foundation
    4. Special inspection for rebar in block stem wall
    5. under floor plumbing
    6. floor system framing
    7.floor system insulation
    8.rough-in framing
    9. rough-in plumbing
    10. rough-in electrical
    11. house insulation
    12. drywall screw pattern
    13. meter inspection
    14, gas line pressure test
    15. rough in HVAC system
    16, Rough in fire sprinkler system
    17. third party special inspection for A/C ducts
    18. third party special inspection for shear wall nail spacing
    19. final inspection for electrical
    20. final inspection for plumbing
    21. final inspection for HVAC
    22. final inspection for fire sprinklers
    23. approval to occupy/certificate of occupancy

    I messed up the order a bit and might have left one out but that’s pretty close. Seems like a pain but its not that bad.

  4. By Daniel Courtney on Aug 5, 2012 | Reply

    That’s a little lesson I learned a while back. Inspectors don’t get very excited about creativity when it comes to speeding up the inspection process. I pissed my guy off and he waited 4 days to come back.

  5. By Travis on Aug 8, 2012 | Reply

    Good luck dealing with the inspectors. Your patience will pay off. Your projects turn out amazing.

    Love the truck. My favorite color, too.

  6. By Tom on Aug 9, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks Travis, luckily we passed those 3 inspections Monday. A different inspector came, my regular guy, he scoffed at the correction notice and said he wouldn’t have failed us for that plumbing fitting. Walls have been going up this week, I’ll show everyone some progress this weekend. Very exciting and refreshing doing a new build compared to the full gut rehabs we are used to.

  7. By DQ on Aug 10, 2012 | Reply


    Huge fan of your website and the work you have performed. Had a few questions for you and would like your insight;

    I have completed 3 houses, one with minor cosmetic work, and two that were just about complete interior guts and remodels (no structural issues).

    Being that my education is in finance and real estate, with some construction knowledge, I feel comfortable buying houses 25-40% of the ARV and then sell for 85-95%. This is a conservative approach in my mind and has worked out well; currently I stick around the ARV of 100-120k and for first time home buyers there seem to be plenty in San Antonio.

    My question to you is how did you get the confidence to go into an area to buy properties structural unsound and remodel them / add onto them and sell for prices greater than the neighborhood comps? Not sure if you grew up in a construction family or if you learned being out in the field which would make since. I like the cosmetic fix ups but am looking for a challenge but not quite sure what I can do to ensure that I am ready (besides having enough money to have other people do all the work which is not feasible at this moment nor would I want to),

    Another question that I have if you wouldn’t mind sharing is what brought you to San Antonio, and did you leave because you saw something negative in the market? After reviewing all of your properties it seems as if San Diego is working out well and you had / have a job out there; just curious about that.

    Once again, really enjoy what you are doing and the information you share. I am not looking to “flip” but yet to redevelop and feel good about the end project that would be appreciated and enjoyed by a family and neighborhood.

    keep up the great work.



  8. By Real Estate Investment Software on Oct 5, 2012 | Reply

    You share very good information You put a nice twist to it. Thank you for the article Tom.

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