Go to How Not to Build an Addition Index! This page includes notes on bribing inspectors.


Bribery of an inspector should be attempted only if there is an unsafe or non-standard condition in your work that you do not want to take the trouble and expense to repair. This could be anything from the single-pane low-efficiency window you got from your brother-in-law to the bewildering system of pipes you installed in the crawl space after inhaling glue.

Bribery is a delicate business. It is best to prepare thoroughly for the attempt. Rehearse what you are going to say. Think about the bribe you intend to offer. Remember, cash is taboo. It is too obvious, and too easily traced. Thus you must bargain in commodities, perhaps something that you inadvertently over-purchased. Bags of cement are a good choice.

When the inspector arrives you cannot simply ask, "Will you take a bribe?" This can land you in jail quicker than a nose runs in January.

It is best to let the inspector look over the site first. By some miracle he might miss the 480 volt power line and the coaxial cable designed to bring big screen TV into your bathroom.

Not until his hand slowly strokes his jaw and he begins to shake his head is it time to sound him. Be circumspect; say something like, "You know, last time I was at the hardware store I bought too much cement."

"Did you?" will be his response. If he asks, "How many bags?" it means he is either interested in your cement or he is being very polite.

"Ten or so."

"Hmmm..." he will likely say, and continue to shake his head.

About this time you can see yourself having to rip out that cable. Perhaps you should bump up the offer. "I also got too many roofing nails."

"Not much you can do with cement and roofing nails." He muses. You are still not sure if he has understood you. He might just be talkative.

You shake your head. What else could the guy want? What else can you afford to give? "Seven 2X4s."

The inspector turns to you and smiles, "You know what you can do with those materials?"

Uh-oh. He has a strange look on his face, big eyes and a strained grin. You might have offended him with your offer. He may even make an obscene suggestion regarding those 2X4s.

"Build yourself a dog house and get yourself a mutt. I love dogs," he says scratching the back of his neck and smiling at the ceiling. Then the hanging wire catches his eye. He tugs on it lightly. "You're gonna have to pull this out. You can't have an outlet so close to your bathroom sink without a GFI."

Suddenly you are relieved that he did not catch your subtle hints. Dog lovers are not amenable to bribery. "Anything else?" you ask.

His head bobs about. He checks out a few outlets and a light switch. "On the whole, it looks pretty good."

You nod your head, get a quick signature on the permit and whisk the inspector to the door.

"Make sure you get rid of that wire before I come back for the final inspection." He wags a pencil at you and is gone; gone to make some other poor homeowner sweat.

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About the Author:
W.J. Rayment built an addition on his house, and in the course of the project learned from his many mistakes. This on-line compendium is his effort to help you learn from his experience. The advice and stories are often humorous, sometimes silly, but always informative. for yourself or as a gift for family or friends.

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