Was at a family get together recently, where I saw my brother the inspector. Now, he's the inspector for a place several time zones away, so we don't get to meet very often- but his area saw a fair amount of building in the last decade. I mean, it's a real city, with electricity, flush toilets, everything.

We began to discuss the house I'm remodelling, and I started by drawing a simple floor plan on a paper towel. What he said next disturbs me:

"Stop. Right now. I have to tell you that what you have drawn is already far better than at least half of the stuff I see submitted by real contractors."

In all the complaints about plan review, permits, etc., ... I need to ask: are we doing anything to help the process along?

Just as important, does the city paperwork make any sense?

How about something with this format:
1) What's the purpose of the work?
2) What's there now?
3) What will be there when you're done?
4) How do you plan to do it?
5) What special issues have been addressed?