Q. We have a situation where our new house was finished but our contractor didn’t get any inspections. Now we can’t get our certificate of occupancy. We replaced our house after Hurricane Sandy, and because it’s taller, it needed sprinklers. The contractor died and left no paperwork or permits for us. The plumber seems to have retired and left the state. We’re scrambling to figure this out. The building inspector is trying to help, and says we need all the plumbing and electrical inspections, which means getting a new plumber and an electrician, who we located and is helping by giving us his sign-off, which we understand is through a private agency. We don’t understand why there’s a private agency instead of our building department. Don’t they give electric permits? The hard part seems to be the sprinklers in our ceilings. Our architect, who drew the plans and showed the sprinkler head locations, says he can’t sign the affidavit the inspector needs without a sprinkler test, and nobody knows who installed the sprinkler plumbing. What can we do to get this over with?
A. The common theme of everything you describe is a lack of respect for rules and the shirking of responsibility by people who do the work. The contractor, may he rest in peace, as with all contractors, had an obligation to get inspections when working in your municipality under your permit. He also had an obligation to make certain the permit was in the owner’s possession and that they were working with copies to protect the original documents, which are as valuable as the closing papers on your home.
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