New house, new nightmare

Legal problems erupt when builder ignores approved plans

Dear Barry, Construction was just completed on our new home, but the building official would not approve the final inspection. He says an as-built permit is now needed before major corrective work can be done. The builder, we have now learned, failed to follow the plans that were engineered and approved by the county building department. He contends that he is only required to comply with the building code, not the specific standards determined by the engineer and the county. Is there any validity to his position? --Lauren Dear Lauren, Your builder is completely out of step with the realities of building-code enforcement. There is an established hierarchy in the determination of construction standards, and building officials are the pinnacle of that pecking order. As the final arbiters of construction adequacy, theirs is the first and last word in the administration of building requirements. What they say goes. The building code, on the other hand, is merely a "minimum standard" and de...