A familiar scenario is repeated all over the country: An inspector arrives on the job and even though a detail was included in the permit set of plans, and you were not informed by the inspection office, your job fails because of a code change. Here are some tips to help avoid surprises like this.

Read the code book. Don't try to read it all at once, but by reading a few codes at a time, you can pick up a great deal of information and save yourself much grief.

Ask questions. When an inspector arrives for an inspection, ask him or her if the codes are expected to change in the near future. Most inspectors take classes before the code is changed. Most likely, they will share the general areas that are affected by the change.

Make a friend in the inspection office. By treating the inspectors with respect and working hard at following procedure, you can gain their confidence. Then they are more likely to help you out.

Join a code review committee. Volunteer to review code changes proposed by your local city or county. You will be better informed, and you'll also get to know the council members and inspectors. —Tim Faller, Field Training Services, www.leadcarpenter.com.