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  1. #1
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    Default Whose the proper AHJ

    So the addition ( 3 bdrms., bathroom, living room) to the small original house has a permit I've seen, but they got the 3 stooges to build it and nothings to code. Its been occupied for the 14 yrs. since it was built. How is it this house became occupied? Awesome property, clients love it but want questions answered. Me too. Local building inspector?

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  2. #2
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Robertson View Post
    So the addition ( 3 bdrms., bathroom, living room) to the small original house has a permit I've seen, but they got the 3 stooges to build it and nothings to code. Its been occupied for the 14 yrs. since it was built. How is it this house became occupied? Awesome property, clients love it but want questions answered. Me too. Local building inspector?
    Sounds like a drive by inspection...

    Best

    Ron


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Assuming your question was not just rhetorical and that your laws work like ours; you would need to check with your local city for the REAL story on the permit history on the house. Just because they applied for a permit does not mean they received the final Certificate of Occupancy signifying that the local AHJ signed off on the house as being built to their minimum codes.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Defenitely!


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    No not rhetorical, thanks, that's what I was looking for, certificate of occupancy, AHJ is local building inspector? Sorry if it seems like stupid question, still in training.


  6. #6
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Robertson View Post
    No not rhetorical, thanks, that's what I was looking for, certificate of occupancy, AHJ is local building inspector? Sorry if it seems like stupid question, still in training.

    Authority having Jurisdiction.

    Best

    Ron


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Robertson View Post
    AHJ is local building inspector?
    .

    The AHJ is the local building department.

    The person who has the authority of the local building department is the local Building Official.

    The local Building Official delegates many duties to the inspectors under the Building Official, however, only the Building Official has the right to make interpretations on the code.

    Whatever is signed off by the inspectors is, in effect, signed off by the Building Official.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Robertson View Post
    So the addition ( 3 bdrms., bathroom, living room) to the small original house has a permit I've seen, but they got the 3 stooges to build it and nothings to code. Its been occupied for the 14 yrs. since it was built. How is it this house became occupied? Awesome property, clients love it but want questions answered. Me too. Local building inspector?
    After 14 years does it really matter? I don't know about the codes or laws in Ontario but, I would bet that if it has gone this long then not much can or will be done about it.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    After 14 years does it really matter? I don't know about the codes or laws in Ontario but, I would bet that if it has gone this long then not much can or will be done about it.
    .

    They did things about it in South Florida, even after more years.

    I always recommended to my client to make sure that all suspected (or known) unpermitted work be permitted, not only does it make the work "legal", but it now protects the buyer (your client) when they become the seller.

    Once reported to the AHJ, the AHJ has several options:

    - Just ignore it. (Which is unlikely since it has now been reported to them and they now know about it, which means legally they need to do "something".)

    - Make the seller obtain an after-the-fact permit and pay the permit fee and the penalty (the permit fee again).

    - Go out and do inspections, signing off what is there, just because they can, and they have now been paid their "tax" (the permit fee and the penalty). Then they issue the CO, making it all "legal". Some AHJ in South Florida have done just that.

    - Go out and do inspections, asking to be shown certain specifics (such as remove devices and show the inspector the boxes, wiring, connection; and other things). If what they see meets their minimum 'well, I guess that'll do' standard, they sign on off on it. Then they issue the CO, making it all "legal". Some AHJ in South Florida have done just that.

    - Go out and do inspections (see above), find that it *does not* meet their minimum standard (as stated above), then issue an unsafe structure notice, requiring the homeowner to tear it all down (or correct what is wrong with it, depending on what they found that they did not like). Some AHJ in South Florida have done just that.

    - That means it is up to the AHJ and what they find.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    The politically correct name for that kind of "stuff" is; "Pre-existing/Non-Conforming."

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    The politically correct name for that kind of "stuff" is; "Pre-existing/Non-Conforming."
    .

    Is that "existing" or "pre-existing"?

    When one goes out to do a home inspection, they are looking at what "exists", thus it is "existing", however, it also "pre-exists" the date and time of the inspection.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
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    Cool Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    "It" existed before the code was changed, therefore "it" pre-existed the current code. Also, what was "conforming" is now "non-conforming."
    RE agents, especially the listing agent, love to say, "Don't worry dear, that condition is "grandfathered." Now of course that makes it just fine
    .

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  13. #13
    Richard Pultar's Avatar
    Richard Pultar Guest

    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    nothings to code ... if there was a code at that time ,in that area , and what was requirements at that time. .what code was in effect at that time?
    Follow the paper trail It will be interesting. Ask the people that signed the papers,they might still be around.
    hopefully your prying does not force a demolition or excessive monetary penalty.
    You might not want to shake the sleeping baby. that AHJ might be colicky.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    "It" existed before the code was changed, therefore "it" pre-existed the current code. Also, what was "conforming" is now "non-conforming."
    .

    All based on the assumption that it actually was in conformance at one time. The original poster states that such was not the case.

    That now means is was "existing/non-conforming"?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    That now means is was "existing/non-conforming"?
    Hey ec Jerry, now that's a nice way of putting; FUBAR.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    There are stairs and railings that could never have passed any codes, heck theres an incomplete railing with an 8 ft. drop. Real obvious stuff everywhere. So I,m saying it was "pre-existing, non-conforming" ? Anyhow the buyers really don't care, there taking it and he's gonna fix things at his own pace. Thing is like someone mentioned I don't want to wake up a scary dog on this, the buyers don't want to have to tear it down. Thanks for all the replies guys!!


  17. #17
    Dale W. Feb's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Brian,

    Cross your “T”s and dot your “I”s. The real question is who is the AHL (Authority Having Liability). I have been to several fires where the AHJ has supposedly returned to inspect unpermitted work. They receive their investigation fees and played with something while they were there, but still failed the occupants. As long as you make all the correct calls and document the hell out of it and you are properly insured, you will survive. When the buyers state they like it and will fix it themselves, you should be armadilloing-up (preparing for an offensive). It sounds like someone’s going to get hurt. Hopefully this won’t be the case and all will work out just fine. However, when times are tough, litigation increases. Remember, the inspection standards are the minimum requirements. You want to provide a through report until you are no longer the AHL (if that’s possible).


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    So Dale your saying regardless of the buyers intent, even though they say "we really just want to make sure it isn't going to fall over or burn down next week, you don't need to be picky as we can see there's many obvious problems" one should still be meticulous and call out everything. I like the AHL designation, and I suppose thats us if were the last ones looking at the place. Thanks. Brian


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Robertson View Post
    So Dale your saying regardless of the buyers intent, even though they say "we really just want to make sure it isn't going to fall over or burn down next week, you don't need to be picky as we can see there's many obvious problems" one should still be meticulous and call out everything. I like the AHL designation, and I suppose thats us if were the last ones looking at the place. Thanks. Brian
    Buyers memory and intents change over time. Inspect and document everything as if they wanted to know everything or document why you did not inspect anything. Verbal just doesn't cut it, if it is not in writing, it did not happen.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  20. #20
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    The nice guy is out to get you! I take some 300 plus photos of ever thing.
    I may only put 20 or 30 in the report. but i keep every photo.

    If you do you Job your should be O.K. But form my short time on this board one thing I have come to understand that there are a lot better inspector then me on hear and some of them have posted the 3:00AM Phone call. The buyer is mad at me for? All we can do is just do our job and put in all in the report. spend the extra 1/2HR on the report for the little extra things.

    Best

    Ron


  21. #21
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Write up what you see. Test some outlets, switches, plumbing etc. Write what you see and write that they should have the local building department involved because you are not sure and is not your job to find out if the proper course was taken at the time of the addition.

    You certainly have nothing to worry about. You can only inspect what you see and state what you may or may not know and turn it over to someone else. When inspectors get to involved that is when they get in trouble. Some will contradict that last statement all to hell. Fact is you can only report what you see. What happened before you got there and what happens after you leave has absolutely nothing to do with you.

    The local building inspectors office will have (maybe) any info your clients need.

    Keep it simple. Don't get to involved. Go there and do what they are paying you for, a home inspection followed by a report. Collect your money and live happily ever after.

    Amen


  22. #22
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Whose the proper AHJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    .

    The AHJ is the local building department.

    The person who has the authority of the local building department is the local Building Official.

    The local Building Official delegates many duties to the inspectors under the Building Official, however, only the Building Official has the right to make interpretations on the code.

    Whatever is signed off by the inspectors is, in effect, signed off by the Building Official.
    JP: Maybe.

    From the NEC:

    Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). An organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation, or a procedure.
    FPN: The phrase “authority having jurisdiction,” or its acronym AHJ, is used in NFPA documents in a broad manner, since jurisdictions and approval agencies vary, as do their responsibilities. Where public safety is primary, the authority having jurisdiction may be a federal, state, local, or other regional department or individual such as a fire chief; fire marshal; chief of a fire prevention bureau, labor department, or health department; building official; electrical inspector; or others having statutory authority. For insurance purposes, an insurance inspection department, rating bureau, or other insurance company representative may be the authority having jurisdiction. In many circumstances, the property owner or his or her designated agent assumes the role of the authority having jurisdiction; at government installations, the commanding officer or departmental official may be the authority having jurisdiction.

    From the IBC:

    They don't define AHJ. Curiously.

    BUILDING OFFICIAL.
    The officer or other designated
    authority charged with the administration and enforcement of
    this code, or a duly authorized representative.

    Aaron




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