Please permit me…

Posted: June 19, 2010 in Home building in the Valley

   Back before we got into the Rock Inn, we had built houses in Spokane for something like fourteen years. We did 90 % percent of it in Spokane County and so we were very familiar with the county’s building department. While we were at the Rock, the City of Spokane came into being and along with it a new building department. For years I have been hearing how tough it is to work with these guys and I’ve really been curious to see for myself if it is true or if some people in the industry are giving them a bad rap because they don’t like change or any number of reasons people give unwarranted bad wraps.

   In the last couple of years we have been general contractors on 3 custom homes but they were all in the County and everything went smoothly. Now we are getting ready to build a spec home at 13716 e. 22nd and that falls smack dab in the middle of the Valley and so I get to see what this fuss is all about.

     I draw my own plans and have never had one problem getting them approved for a permit. But it was a different story with the Valley this time. I get a call from a guy named Tom in the building department and he has a lot of questions and issues with my plans and he asks me to come in and talk to him. Well, I was quite busy and didn’t see why I should have to take the time when I never had to with the County but I knew I had better be cool and just go along, besides the guy really sounded nice on the phone.

   Turns out the guy was nice and quite knowledgable and helpful. He explained that the Valley just wants to be very thorough in the plan review process and make sure everything on the plan is up to code before they issue the permit. I thought they were going a little overboard but we got everything worked out in about half an hour and I got the permit the next day. Now that I know how they do business I don’t think I’ll have much problem in the future.  

   So far I would say that they are not difficult, just different. I am not one of these builders who thinks he knows everything and I learned a few things from Tom and I appreciate that. The one thing I never liked about the County was that I never had a number or a contact in the building department that I could call and ask questions. Maybe there is a way to get little questions answered at the County but I never found it. But already with the Valley I found a guy who gave me his number and actually answers his phone himself. Building a house is a long process and I will go through a lot of inspections but I would say we are off to an encouraging start.

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