Step 5 - Schedule Inspections
Now that you’ve started work on your project, it’s time to schedule inspections that will help ensure the work is being done safely and to code.
Review the information below to develop a clear understanding of what needs to be inspected and when that needs to happen.
Building and Trade Permits
Building and trade inspections are required while work on your project is still in progress to verify it is being done according to code requirements and the stamped, approved plans.
The following inspections are required for building permits:
- Foundation inspection
- Framing inspection
- Drywall inspection
- Final inspection
The following inspections are required for trade permits:
- Underground plumbing/mechanical/electrical inspection
- Rough plumbing/mechanical/electrical inspection
- Final plumbing/mechanical/electrical inspection
To schedule an inspection with Missoula county Public Works, please provide at least 24 hours' notice. Call 406-258-3701 in advance of when you need an inspector dispatched to your location. If calling before 7 a.m. or after 4 p.m., you may leave a message that includes the following information:
- Address where inspection is needed
- permit numbers(s)
- type of inspection
- afternoon or morning inspection requested
- contact name and number
- any pertinent information the inspector will need to know to perform the inspection.
Well and Septic Permits
Once your well is installed, you must call the Health Department at 406-258-4755 to notify them that the well is ready for a location inspection. Since homeowners and contractors do not have to be present for this inspection well inspections are scheduled throughout the month and arranged geographically to maximize efficiency and minimize costs. NOTE: The Health Department also offers an optional “pre-inspection” to verify the permitted location before you begin to drill. If you are interested in a pre-inspection, call 406-258-4990. This is the only required inspection for well permits.
To schedule a septic inspection, call the Health Department at least one business day before your system is ready for inspection. The sanitarian will schedule the inspection within one business day of the requested inspection time. This is the only required inspection for septic permits.
What are inspectors looking for?
While septic and well inspections are only required after the system has been installed, building and trade inspections are required while work on your project is still ongoing to verify it is being done according to code requirements and the stamped, approved plans. Inspections are required to close out all building, floodplain, fire, mechanical, electrical and plumbing permits. Do not wait until your project is complete to schedule an inspection!
Inspectors will look for different things depending on the scope of work being done. View a sample red card detailing specifications.
The county performs building inspections for foundations, walls, floors, ceilings, stairs, roofs and other types of projects. Whether you’re remodeling a small room or building a new home, these elements need to be inspected before they are covered, or before pouring any concrete. The county will give you an inspection card upon building permit issuance with a list of all inspections possible for a project. When the project is completed and all the trade permit inspections have been approved, and any necessary fire or floodplain inspections are done, you’ll schedule a final inspection to close out your permit. A Certification of Occupancy is available by request at this point.
Residents must have a mechanical permit for work on heating, ventilation or air conditioning systems (also called HVAC). You must also have a mechanical permit to install a natural gas line, vent, fuel oil tank or chimney liner, or woodstove. You must have all projects inspected before covering them up or putting them into service. Specific inspections for this permit may include: underground, gas test and piping, rough-in and a final mechanical.
Electrical permits typcially require three general inpsections: rough-in, service and final.
- Call 406-258-3701 for a rough-in inspection when all the new circuits are wired. This could include having boxes installed, wires run, grounding conductor connected or made up, nail plates installed in areas as needed, among other things. Do not cover your work with insulation, receptacles or wall switches until the rough inspection is approved.
- Call 406-258-3701 for a service inspection when the service electrical mast, meter base, service panels, grounding electrode systems and (if possible) branch circuits have been installed.
- Call 406-258-3701 for a final inspection when the electrical work has been completed and panel boxes are covered, the circuits are labeled in the right spaces on the box and all cover plates are installed. All equipment and appliances must be installed, grounded and energized by the time the final inspection occurs.
All piping (water, sewer, stormwater, waste and vent systems) must be tested and exposed for inspection prior to burial or covering with floor, wall or ceiling coverings. A final plumbing inspection must also be approved after all plumbing fixtures are installed and operating. Specific inspections for this permit may include: underground, rough and final.
Well inspections ensure that the well was drilled in the permitted location and that all setback distances have been met. Homeowners do not need to be present for an inspection.
Septic inspections are detailed, thorough inspections of a fully exposed system to make sure the system location and design meets the permit conditions and well as state and local regulations. As a certified installer is required to install a septic system, most inspections do not involve the homeowner.
The Building Division may charge a $45 re-inspection fee for the following reasons:
- The inspection record card and approved plans are not available when the inspector is on-site to perform the requested inspection.
- The inspection record card has been lost and needs to be replaced. Inspections will not continue until the card has been replaced and posted at the job site with the approved plans.
- Failure to provide safe, approved access on the date for which the inspection was requested.
- When the work for the requested inspection is clearly not done, or when the inspection reveals that a previously identified deficiency has not been corrected.
- Deviation from the approved plans to the point that the plans have to be redrawn and re-approved.
When a re-inspection fee is assessed, no further inspections will be performed until the $45 fee has been paid.
At this point, you're well on your way to completing your project – congratulations! But don't forget to put the finishing touches on the permit process by continuing to Step 6: Finalizing Your Project!