View Single Post
Old 10-12-2008, 10:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
EcoModding Lurker
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Portland Oregon
Posts: 34

the Mule - '99 Dodge Dakota
90 day: 14.54 mpg (US)
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
A lot of times alot of that information you seek can be found for free over the internet. Seems like a dumb thing to say on the surface, but better searching can often dig up info that you didn't think you could find with broader searches. Also know what gov agencies hold the information you need. The city and state auditors often have a lot of the information you wouldn't think they have. Infact, I found the strawbale code while looking for the code for egress standards for a basement bedroom.

For example, for fire rated testing. Find an group that did the test, see if you can find the company that ran the test. For things like fire safety you need independent testers, then go to the testers web site and search that site for the info. If you can find anything published on that site, try asking them for it. What do they care, unless they have a contract for hold that info in secret, they've been paid for there work. It helps if you can get the name of the individuals that did the testing and speak/email them directly. The person at the info. desk might not even know what your talking about.

Even if you don't have a hard copy of the info. on hand. If you have the information on the test and the testing company, you can still refer to them. Building boards and inspectors just wanna make sure their butts are covered. If it truly looks like you know what you're talking about and can seem to be able bookmark your information, then they'll likely give you what you want. Make sure if you go this route that you have phone numbers and names. Inspectors will often talk with other inspectors even if they wont talk with you.

Always be nice and respectful to these people, even if they seem not interested or you don't get what you want immediately. As a structural steel welder I work with alot of inspectors and I can't tell how much easier my job is because I've work for years in establishing a reputation with the inspectors as being polite and doing good work. They trust me, and will often sign off on things not 100% done. I've never allowed myself to get mad at a single one of them even though at times I've wanted to toss a few of them off the building. They'll even listen to me when I disagree with them on unclear prints, or other issues that might come up.

DON"T make them feel stupid. They really don't like that, especially by someone not in the trades---casue trust me they aren't and if you ever have a code problem this factor alone can be difference between s/he telling you whats wrong and how to fix it, or them just blankly refusing your work with no info (They don't have to tell you what does and doesn't pass, they can also word things in their reports that are nearly undecipherable). Instead present it to them as a learning experience. Tell them it's the future and they're getting a leg up on others in their field locally for when this becomes more standard. Talk about the environmental aspects energy savings etc. They are in the business of buildings and find this stuff as interesting as you do, perhaps even more so.

More importantly. Ask them questions (even if you know the answers already). Most of them do know their stuff, and you can learn a lot from these people. They just need to be stroked a little.

You gotta remember these people are berated by people trying to cut corners and get away with as little as possible. If you give the impression that you want to do the job right no matter what it takes they'll like you, and help you as much as possible.

If you've never been to one of their (the local building boards) public meetings I'd recommend going to a few and just watching. First they aren't well attended so they'll probably recognize you when you do appear before them for your house. And you'll also get an understanding of some of the bs they gotta suffer on a daily basis.
"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible"---F. Zappa

If we can't be free, at least we can be cheap"--- Again F. Zappa

My guilty little pleasure

Last edited by conradpdx; 10-12-2008 at 10:38 AM..
  Reply With Quote