Answering a Few Questions About Building Inspections

Building inspections need to be done throughout the construction or renovation of a building, and your contractor or local inspector can tell you what schedule of inspections you should expect for a building you're having constructed or renovated. In the meantime, note a few commonly asked questions about building inspections, and this will help you to know a bit more about the process overall.

What are critical stage inspections?

Critical stage inspections are carried out during any construction work, and not after the work is done. The number of critical stage inspections you'll need for your building will depend on the actual work performed; for example, if your contractor will need to cover any stormwater drainage openings, or if a room will be waterproofed. These inspections may also be needed during a renovation project, depending on the scope of the renovation. Your contractor or building inspector can note what critical stage inspections you should expect during any construction process, and how they might affect the overall schedule of construction.

What is an occupancy certificate?

An occupancy certificate is needed for anyone to actually occupy a building; this certifies that the building is safe and has passed all needed inspections for it to be usable. Bringing in your staff or even setting up your own office in a building without that occupancy permit it not legally allowed, even if you own the property! However, if the building is being renovated or the construction is partially completed, you might be able to get what is called an interim occupation certificate. This allows you to occupy a portion of the building while work is still ongoing; ask your contractor or city inspector about this type of permit, if you need to use the building before its construction or other work is complete.

Will the building need future inspections?

Even after a building has passed all inspections needed for the owner to receive an occupancy permit, it will still need future inspections. This will often include a fire safety inspection, to ensure that sprinklers and alarms are fully functional, and that the building has adequate and fully-charged fire extinguishers. Depending on local codes, the building may also need to be inspected for compliance with certain disability regulations, ensuring it's free of barriers and is safe for the disabled, and has necessary signage for the blind, and so on. Your local city inspector can tell you what future inspections your building will need, according to those local codes.