We had this problem until we explained to the building inspectors that they were approving foundations that were not being built to the Building Code.
All the rebar is to be installed on blocks or chairs and tied together before the pour.
Dumping rebar into the foundation during the pour or having it stick out of the concrete into the earth is not the correct way to install the rebar.
On residential we have convinced most of the contractors to use 3/8 rod when they feel they must have rebar.
Those that use 1/2 must install it correctly and either bring it up inside in a dry space or have the copper connected before the pour.
This is definately a topic that needs to be covered at all Chapter and Section meetings of the Inspectors.
Even after I thought I knew it all I found out I didn't know it a lot.
On commercial jobs it is OK to go from the rebar to the building steel and building steel to the service. It does not have to go all the way to the service from the rebar.
The connection to the steel must be accessable.
The Code does not require a ground rod if the Concrete encased electrode is used However, the utility Co. usually will require Grd rods because the cannot see or confirm the Ufer ground.
If it was easy anyone could do it, and you couldn't charge $75 a hour.