Are City Building Inspectors Fraudulent for Allowing Faulty Construction?

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“Some friends hired a building contractor to add on to their home.  The city issued a building permit for the job. The building inspectors inspected the work and failed to require the contractor to install vent flashings on the pipes coming thru the roof. It rained and the roof collapsed.

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Three months later the building inspectors sent the friends a letter with the building codes that required vent flashings on the roof and faulted the builder for the roof penetrations by the rain.

Since the building inspectors did not make the contractor install vent flashings which were required by building codes, have the building inspectors and the city committed fraud by taking money for a building permit? Any thoughts or suggestions welcome…”

The short answer to your question is, most likely no.

The reason for that is something called “sovereign immunity,” which basically means that you can’t sue the government.  You can in fact sue the government for certain things, because there are laws which are exceptions to the general rule of sovereign immunity, so for example if the municipal bus hits your car, you can usually sue for that.

Unless your area has a law which allows you to sue for improper building inspection (and I’m not aware of any area which allows this, but it certainly isn’t impossible), you’re out of luck in terms of going against them.  However, while you’re talking to a lawyer about your claim against the contractor, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to ask; maybe your area is the exception.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.