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


When all else fails, try brown-nosing.

Obsequiousness is the art of being overly nice to someone to get something from them, which is different from pure flattery in that a flatterer could be simply an agreeable person. The obsequious person wants something. In this case, you want to pass an inspection.

My experience tells me there are few people in the world who are not willing to believe a compliment, especially if it has some basis in truth. I always try to find something to say about an inspector the moment he or she walks in the door. If nothing else, you can break the ice with, "Gee, you have a sharp pencil," or "I have never seen such shiny work shoes; were you ever in the marines?" This one works exceptionally well on the female inspectors.

If brown-nosing is your objective, do not lead them directly to the construction site. Make a detour to the kitchen where you should have coffee in a pot, tea in the kettle, and rich pastry piled on the counter. Make it plain to the inspector that this food will go to waste if not eaten on short notice.

Offering food and drink, by the way, is not considered a bribe. After all, the evidence is immediately destroyed.

When the inspector has eaten one doughnut, show him to the construction site. It is best if he is still hungry on the way out.

Tell him you have been looking forward to his visit because every time he shows up, you learn a tremendous amount about construction work, not just in his field but every other one as well.

As soon as the inspector looks at your work, mention sports. "Well, the Sonics sure did well last night."

Give him an opportunity to reply, "Looks like they'll make the playoffs."

Of course, this ploy may or may not work on women. It is safer with them to avoid sports altogether. It is better to say something complimentary about your wife. Whether or not it is true, women like to think there are men out there who show affection for their wives even when they aren't there to demand it. If you implant this image in her brain, she will feel warm and cuddly toward you, not too cuddly, just cuddly enough to maybe let you slide on a discrepancy.

When they have completed the inspection, take them back to the kitchen. The permit should be sitting next to the plate of pastries. It will be a broad hint to them that if you pass, they can expect you to offer them another doughnut and another cup of coffee.

There is only one problem with this sequence. Just as most inspectors are untouchable, there are an equal number who are hardhearted.


Perhaps it is the job that has jaded so many of these men and women. Perhaps it is simply a sense of duty that calls people of courage and fortitude to this profession. Either way, it is a pain in the neck. It means only one thing. You have to build your addition by the code books. Life would be so much easier if we did not live in such a moral world.

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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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