I would like to begin by saying I don't agree with what the inspector at the Home Depot did or say that was the right thing to do, or even back up his philosphy about inspection. I do feel for Inspectors that are not in on start up meetings, or clued in to specific details about the job. Sometimes companies will leave the Inspector out in the dark until it's too late and then they have a mess for the Inspector to magically make go away. Companies, maybe not on purpose, more out of ignorance about what is required to complete a good inspection, per the job specs., will leave out the Inspector when important desicions are being made.
For years, here at our company, bent plate had been detailed within a 1/2" of field welded moment joints. One day someone asked me about UT'ing the joints, but no provision had been made to hold back the bent plate from the joint on the top flange, therefore that joint could not be checked completely until the bent plate was cut back from the joint about a foot. The thicker the material, the further back from the joint, it needed to be. I cringe to think how many joints were done this way in previous years, only because no one bothered the Inspector to see how much the bent plate needed to be held back for him to UT the top flange.
I know there are more instances like this and some Inspectors may look the other way, but good inspection is good for everyone involved. I said "good inspection" not just picky over little things and miss important things. I'm partial to the inspectors because I've been there and know what its like to make those tough calls and not back down with all the pressure "to let it go".
If you need me to prep it, fit it up, and weld it, then I don't feel I can be the one to Inspect it. I don't really agree with what was said in another post about the Inspector needing to weld to be a good Inspector. I've trained some good inspectors that have never welded, but that don't mean they can't tell if it is not up to code, or specs., or not.
Just another opinion,