The residential home project was cited with a City of San Diego (City) Code Violation for construction of non-permitted room additions in a residential rental home. Bernal Builders, Inc. came highly recommended and I reached out to their team to schedule an on-site inspection to assess the code violations identified, visual inspection for scope of work to be performed, and payment options available. Mr. Manuel Bernal personally met with my aunt and I to assist with us in bringing the home into compliance with the City's directive since there was a deadline associated with achieving this or face additional penalties, legal action, lien on the home, etc.
Mr. Bernal's team began construction/remodeling work in late Summer 2022 and completed all necessary repairs as stipulated in the contract including waste removal and general cleanup. Throughout the process, I met with Mr. Bernal for a visual walkthrough of the progress at the end of the day, which he documented with photos. Ms. Vanessa Bernal compiled photos and provided a formal email report to me with photo attachments, showing the "before and after" work performed.
After completion of the Scope of Work that was identified in the original contract, there was additional damage (eg. hidden termite damage, stucco damage, etc.) found after removal of the non-permitted rooms that needed to be addressed prior to Final Inspection. The Scope of Work contract did state any hidden damage found after "deconstruction" is subject to additional charges not covered by the current contract. Mr. Bernal identified this issue right away and based upon his opinion and experiences from previous projects, recommended these issues be addressed to ensure the home passed Final Inspection. We received a Contract Change Order (CCO), discussed terms of the CCO, number of days to complete the work, and agreed on work to be performed.
At the completion of the CCO, Mr. Bernal contacted the City of San Diego Division of Building Construction and Safety to schedule a Final Inspection. When the Building Inspector performed a site visit, the Inspector signed off on all non-compliant issues that were identified in the City's letter except for one-single item that wasn't originally cited. The City's Building Code changed in 2021 and requires older residential homes to have "interlinked fire alarms" instead of the traditional fire alarms that activate when smoke is detected at a single location. Interlinked Alarms are commonly found in commercial buildings, hospitals, businesses, schools, new homes, etc. will all activate at the same time if smoke is detected. Although none of existing upstairs bedrooms were identified in the City's Code Violations, the City Building Inspector did ensure that the residential home complied with the current building code standards.
Mr. Bernal and I performed additional research and found a set of X-sense Interlinked Fire Alarms on Amazon. We programmed the interlinked alarms, replaced the existing alarms in five bedrooms, and 2 in the hallway, confirmed they worked as intended, and contact the City Building Inspector to reverify corrective action/compliance. The City Building Inspector found the interlinked alarms acceptable after we demonstrated to him all 7-alarms activated at the same time, and we achieved Final Inspection sign-off.
Overall, I was very pleased with Bernal Builders, Inc for their experience, advice, suggestions, communication, and professionalism throughout the entire project! I work as a State of California Regulator for light rail transit projects and do have an understanding of the construction industry standards, practices, delays, final inspections, compliance, etc. I give props to both Manuel and Vanessa Bernal along with their construction team, for helping us achieve compliance!