Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "building inspectors" ...

  • Abandoning Our Mentally Ill

    A year-long investigation of living conditions of the most severely mentally ill patients in the Milwaukee area discovered that those conditions were far from ideal, sometimes filthy and dangerous. Among the discoveries were patients housed in illegal group homes which city building inspectors did not discover or report. In addition, caseworkers were still placing patients in homes despite knowledge of their poor and filthy conditions. At the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex, a 33-year-old woman died from dehydration and starvation after doctors allowed her to go nearly four weeks without food or water. Social service and government agencies had also passed up opportunities to accept federal money for construction of better facilities, $3.3 million in the past seven years.
  • Inspecting the Inspectors

    "The Phoenix area is one of the fastest growing parts of the country. Developers and home construction companies are trying to keep up with demand, so homes go up quickly; some owners say too quickly." It turns out that building inspectors were taking half the time that experts say they should. They're work loads were high. Also the developer themselves were to blame in some cases. One developer "poured sub-standard slabs for homes to save money."
  • Inspecting Inspectors

    In the booming San Francisco Bay Area building market, the inspectors don't seem to be keeping up. In 2003, the busiest year for construction, each building inspector performed 43 inspections, 3 times what experts say their normal workload should be.
  • Alarming Absence

    The authors investigated reports that inspectors with the Columbus Fire prevention Bureau had missed or falsified dozens of fire inspections. The inspectors were supposed to make sure new or renovated buildings were safe for the public to occupy. There were missed inspections, allegations of intoxication on the job, and overtime fraud.
  • Fighting for Wanda (The Wrecking Crew)

    A WXYZ investigation reveals a pattern of illegal demolition of houses in the city of Dearborn. City lawyers and building inspectors, called by some "the Wrecking Crew," have "booted dozens of people from their homes." The crew cited "nonexistent problems such as rats or filthy conditions," the team reports. All the wreckages have been done with blessing from the mayor, although in violation of state laws, city ordinances and owners' property rights. Most of the victims were poor and elderly. The story sheds light on a specific case in which a local senior citizen, Wanda Lobach, was tossed out of her home.
  • Luxury by Design, Quality by Chance

    Some of the big builders of luxury homes have cut corners in their rush to earn profits during the construction boom of the 1990s. New owners and building inspectors note walls that are unsecured to foundations, fake stucco, water-soaked wood that warped upon drying, sloping floors, uncompacted ground, and other kinds of building mistakes. Homeowners also charge Toll Brothers, one of the nation's most successful building corporations, with misrepresentation, sloppy siting, and building floor models that were far better built than the homes they later purchased. Further, the "major builders will not sell homes to buyers unless they sign away in advance their right to bring lawsuits."
  • Home buyer beware

    Charlotte Observer examines the serious construction flaws that thousands of families across the Carolinas have discovered. A housing boom has strained home builders and swamped building inspectors. Builders are routinely hiring workers with little or no experience and building code inspectors, who sometimes do more than 60 inspections a day, are missing serious flaws.
  • Boone County Building Inspectors

    An investigation of the Chief Building Inspector in Boone County, whose department is responsible for the safe construction of all homes and businesses in the fastest growing county in Kentucky. The I-Team found the chief inspector jeopardizes public safety by overlooking code violations designed to keep us safe, and we showed his conduct in office includes tampering with pubic documents, doing favors for friends and family.
  • (Untitled)

    The San Francisco Chronicle investigates that city's building inspectors; using public documents, the reporters found 11 inspectors were involved in the ownership of projects that received favorable treatment from the department; 13 reports, April 7-Nov. 15, 1989.
  • (Untitled)

    Asbury Park Press reveals how county-hired building inspectors failed to spot fundamental construction flaws in about 75 homes that later sold for as much as $300,000; during the building boom, inspectors were rushed and local officials did little to ease the workload, Feb. 19, 1989.