By Philip Kedrowski Redleaf Consulting
Throughout most of the U.S., building construction inspections are performed by either a city, county or state inspection bureau. This is so ubiquitous that it’s often assumed these inspections are performed on all construction projects everywhere.
That’s why it’s no surprise that people moving to Big Sky, purchasing property and building homes, wouldn’t know these inspections aren’t performed here. Yep, that’s right, nobody is doing building construction inspections in Big Sky. Here’s why:
Montana has adopted the International Building/Residential Code (IBC/IRC), which requires inspections during construction; however, many counties including Gallatin and Madison haven’t become a state certified building inspection jurisdiction. Therefore the ‘Authority Having Jurisdiction’ is the State Building Codes Bureau; however, the Montana Codes Annotated exempts the State Building Codes Bureau from issuing residential construction building permits (MCA 50-60-102 1.(a)). This means no construction permit is required for residential structures in Big Sky.
Since no permit is required in Big Sky, residential construction inspections aren’t performed by any government building department. However, buildings must still be constructed according to the IBC/IRC.
Since inspections aren’t performed, it’s a good idea for land owners building a home in Big Sky to hire an engineer to perform construction observations as defined in IBC Section 1702. At a minimum, these observations should occur at the following construction milestones:
1. Completion of site excavation

2. Completion of foundation reinforcement prior to pouring of concrete

3. Completion of steel erection if applicable to project

4. Completion of rough framing

5. Completion of project
And remember that while construction permits aren’t required, electrical and plumbing permits are.

Philip Kedrowski, PE, LEED-AP, is owner/engineer of Redleaf Consulting, PLLC. Redleaf is the only engineering company based in Big Sky.