When does a reno go from modifying existing to "new build"

So I’m having conversations with a builder who buys 50’s era bungalows, reno’s them and converts them to 4 and 5 bedroom student rentals. On a number of occasions I have called out bedroom window sizes, GFCI locations etc. only to be told this is “modifying existing” not "new construction.

My thoughts are that if all the wiring, plumbing, fixtures, finishes and some structural is done, this is basically a new house and not modifying existing. Am I wrong? Anyone have any documents that spell out the differences?

Also, he says he only needs one egress per floor since this is a single family home. I argue that it isn’t, because it is going to have 4 or 5 unrelated students living there and if one student locks their bedroom door (which many do) then there goes a means of egress if the biggest window happens to be in there. Again, am I wrong?

Who is your client… the builder?

No, the purchaser…he’s just been getting snotty with his answers like I’m some dimwit that doesn’t know the kitchen is an existing split (as if I could verify that during an inspection…) And am over reacting…

I would ignore the complaints and just do a proper inspection .
You need to CYA as some day there could be a law suit and you need to protect your self by doing a proper full inspection every time .
Miss nothing write hard and talk soft.

Just observations of others and past experience

This sometimes comes down to the status of repair or replace.

Recent remodel in my area.
Original windows were 10 inches off of the floor.
Repair or Replace with new Pocket windows the original build was sufficient.
Since they chose to strip the exterior siding, rebuild the window openings and replace with new flanged windows they had to meet current code.

New Electrical was placed in the house so the panel, grounds, and meter had to meet current code. Since the outlets and wires were not replaced they were not required to be brought to current code.

You also have to look at the use of the current building. This gentleman you are referencing is taking single family and converting to multi tennant. Check with your local jurisdiction and see if there is a building maintenance code that this new rental property would be subject to.

GFCI’S and egress windows are safety issues for the purchaser, your client, to be made aware of, not code issues for the builder. I simply tell the client what would you feel like if a tenant burned to death because they couldn’t get out or was electrocuted. And, just as importantly how do you think the law would treat you when they found out it was pointed out in the inspection report as a safety deficiency. Let them deal with the builder or not. Screw the builder and his ethics, I am protecting my client from liability issues.

He’s not your client, ignore him.