As I’ve posted before, when we started building homes we knew a lot less than we know today. Each day brought with it new lessons. I can remember the first day I met the building inspector from the Town of Breckenridge. His name was C and he was in a foul mood the moment he got out of his car. He’d come out to our building site to check to see if there was frost in the ground. We were installing pre-cast foundation walls, which are bedded in a gravel footer. Beneath the gravel was compacted dirt, and the building department had stipulated that we must lay our foundation walls on ground that was unfrozen. It was about 5 degrees that morning, and per agreement we’d called in our frozen ground inspection, and C had arrived thermometer in hand. After sticking the thermometer into the ground and consulting it, he told us in no uncertain terms that we were not going to be putting in our foundation walls that day. Determined to get the walls in (we had a crane on site charging us by the hour) I commenced to debate with C. I had gone on with my carefully crafted argument for about a minute when he gave me the blackest of looks and turned and walked away. And it dawned on me that I had just managed to completely annoy the one person who held sway over our entire project. I’ve previously posted about how we’d erected a plastic tent over the entire site to keep the soil from freezing. And how the wind had blown the tent away. Big mistake. And now another big mistake. The building inspector hated us. For minutes afterward my brother and I just paced in silence wondering what to do next. Because it certainly wasn’t going to be getting any warmer for months. How were we ever going to get those concrete walls installed?  Then someone suggested that there was a miraculous device called a ground heater that was usually used in situations like this. And so we rented one, and when C came back the next day, the ground heater had thawed the ground and we were allowed to proceed. I went out of my way to apologize to C telling him that I was doing the best I could to figure out how to build my first house. And to my surprise, C told me about feeling totally miserable the day before because of a terrible cold, and how he was feeling much better today, and we had a chat about colds, cold weather, and building in the cold winter. From that day on, C and I got along just fine. Over the years my brother and I grew to know, to respect, and to appreciate all of those who worked in the Breckenridge Building Department. They can be your greatest allies, or, should you decide to cut corners, your worst enemies. They are our partners in standards of quality and safety. And we are proud to join with them in producing the best product possible.

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