Your Response could be: The fact that a product passed a building/fire inspection is not determinative of lack of defects. The Uniform Building Code (UBC), adopted by the public entity (City, County), provides the contractor is responsible for constructing a building properly, notwithstanding the public entitys issuing an inspection. This includes the various sub inspections, such as for electrical and plumbing, as well as the final inspection. In fact, the great majority of damage cases deal with homes and other structures that have passed inspection.
The law generally allows broad immunity to the building department for improper inspections or even a failure to inspect. Each contractor is responsible for his work, and the general contractor is responsible for the entire structure.
In addition, there may be a design team, such as architect, building designer, construction manager. If so, they are additional possible defendants.
1. Obtain a copy of the building department file, which includes permits, plans, record of inspections, and the like. It also may identify who applied for the building permit, which is in all likelihood the general contractor. (In some cases, the owner can apply for the building permit.) Additional records may be available at the fire department.
2. Through a title company, trace back the history of ownership from the assured backwards to the developer.
3. If the fire or water damage emanated from the neighbors property, the neighbor may be liable for the loss, in addition to the construction entities.