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Over the last few months, our building inspectors have encountered serious challenges with clients deviating from approved plans without contacting us first.

Even minor changes can lead to problems down the road: changing a 6’-wide window to a 7’ window may require a lintel (header) to be altered from a three-ply 2x6 to a three ply 2x8 to handle snow loads. If that isn’t communicated to us, the end result will be a complete tear-out of the window assembly to install the correct lintel.

Another example: replacing a deck or exterior stairs serving a second storey duplex or apartment suite. There is an array of fire-safety regulations at play in such cases, and something as innocuous as moving a set of stairs two feet closer to a building wall can create problems that will require expensive alterations after the fact.

One area that has also been problematic involves renovations: very often, “replacing a living room window with a similar-size window” turns into “that whole wall is rotting, and we have to rebuild a load-bearing wall.” If the scope of work changes, call one of our inspectors.