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Miscommunication contributes to confusion over requirementsSome builders say it's never been clear



Published: Tue, September 17, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Miscommunication contributes to confusion over requirementsSome builders say it's never been clear to them that a final inspection is required.AUSTINTOWN -- Simple miscommunication offers a partial explanation for why so many inspections are missed.

Take the final inspection as a case in point:

"It is required," said Don Hall, Mahoning County's chief building official.

The final inspection is included on a list of mandatory inspections available at the building department. Hall said the list is given out with building permits, and that the final inspection was required even before he took the helm of the department in February 1998.

Denies receiving list: Dino Costello, president of the Home Builders Association of Mahoning Valley, said he was not given the list of required inspections when he took out a residential building permit for his company in July. And Mike Wilson, executive director of the HBA, said that he had never seen the list containing the final inspection until a copy was mailed to his office last month.

"A lot of people, including myself, don't consider it a legal inspection," Wilson said. "It is still a question mark."

Costello insists that at an HBA-sponsored meeting two years ago at Lucianno's Restaurant in Austintown, Hall said that the final inspection is not mandatory. Another builder, Barry Tancer, agreed.

"Don Hall told us that it is not required," Costello said.

Official's interpretation: As chief building official, Hall has the authority to make final inspections a required part of the inspection process, said Donald Duda, the assistant prosecutor who represents the building department.

"Where the inspection is for the health, safety and welfare of the county, I would say that the law gives him the power to require that inspection," Duda said. "Period. It is there."

This confusion only goes so far in explaining the missing inspections; if the final inspection is set aside, in 1999 the rate of compliance over the three remaining structural inspections was still only 48 percent.




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