Do you ever not bother with permits?

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Like (for example):
When adding a single new circuit. When installing a generator back-up switch. Installing a chimney liner.
I mean, I'm all for code and everything, but it is a pain and it is very slow, and requires a day off to wait for the inspector...
-Dean
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Just be careful with anything you are covering up. If they do catch you they may require you to uncover anything they want a peek at. You could be punching holes in drywall or busting up concrete. Other than that the fine is usually double the permit fee, Feel lucky?
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Depoends on where you live. I didn't bother getting a permit when I built my house. I did get a permit for the septic tank.
--
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Yesterday, I saw the new neighbor draining his hot water heater. He had just bought the house. I went over and asked what was up. He said his hot water heater went out. He has owned the house for only a month.
He got the house warranty. The installer said that it would cost him $45 service call, and that he needed to replace the supply lines, install earthquake straps (we live in Las Vegas) and put a catch pan under the new heater. He also said that it would require a permit, that he would get it, and that would be $150. Total out of pocket expense not covered by the warranty: $650. He told the man to get off his property.
He called the insurance agent who called the warranty company. They sent another installer who did the job for $45 out of pocket expense.
You don't always need a permit. I have done major work on my properties. I know people with experience who know codes. The work is always done to code, and I'll be damned if I am going to go and pay to do work on my own property. And then wait on inspectors.
And don't give me that crap about having to have permits to sell. The man who sold the house across the street did a lot of the work himself without permits, did horrible work, and still sold the house. In today's market, the seller is in the driver's seat.
STeve
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wrote:

Same here (Las Vegas) and about the same price. I found out the company was from Kalifornia, operating in Nevada. I kindly explained the house was built without the "earth quake" strap, etc. He stated it was "new code", so I sent him packin'.
I bought a new water heater, installed it and was refunded the cost of the water heater from the house warranty.. no permits.
I do get permits (built stucco patio cover) when it is required by the home owners association (HOA)... The CCR's required them, plus the neighbors had to signoff on the "neighborhood impact statement" (acknowledging I'm building onto the house). If it's inside the house I don't get permits.
Oren "My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes."
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On Wed, 02 Nov 2005 08:03:40 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@at.us wrote:

What would you do if you were just building a deck, the same size all the neighbors' new ones are, 12'x12', two feet off the ground, and you were expanding the basement with a new 12x12 room right under the deck?
Permit or no?

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Where do you live and how close are the neighbors? Too visible and big enough project and easy to get caught in most places, but out in the country, I'd just do it. . I'd go for the permit in town. OTOH, when I took down my 10 x 12 deck and put up a 12 x 16, no permit. I just figured it was a repair.
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wrote:

I live in a townhouse at the end of one building that has 8 townhouses, in the near suburbs..
You're saying they might turn me in for the deck alone! Everyone but me has gotten a new deck, and I don't think they will think of that.
The HOA approved my new deck, although that was before the new neighbors moved in. But it's the same side as theirs, and I don't see a problem.
But I'm probably going to have someone pour the basement walls, or at least I'll have to rent an excavator. Again I think my neighbors mind their own business, but who knows.
I guess I am going to have the concrete delivered. People will notice, but because there are so many neighbors, everyone will think someone else is making sure I have a permit.
The work will be up to code.

That seems fair to me. I'm replacing a 12 x 5 deck. I would go to 12 x16, and have a bigger basement room too, except there would be little left of my back yard.
The new room is just for storage. There won't be any electricity in it except for a ceiling light and one receptacle.
I wanted to start building this next spring.

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How do you know they all didn't get permits for their decks?
Really - for this, I'd check with the town. I'm not saying one has to get permits for everyting (see my other post), but what do you gain by not getting a permit, especially for that extension you're putting in?

??
It's not a matter of placating evul-meenie neighbors, it's a matter of needing to document that your *addition* is structurally sound.
Say something happens at the site, or the excavation is really sloppy. The neighbors complain about that - not to be evul meenies and turn you in - just that they don't care for the backhoe tearing up a part of their yard, and the town discovers the work? Can you say "stop work order"?
I'd just get the permit if your municipality requires it. What do you lose?
Banty
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clipped

Do you have a setback requirement in your code? Are you adhering to it? If you have a HOA, and the concrete truck causes a crack in parking lot pavement, will anyone get PO'd? Call the code enforcement folks? Make you fill in your new basement? That is more risk than my cowardly guts would take on :o) At least make sure the kids don't have a party while you are away and have 100 of their heaviest friends on the deck :o)
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All it takes is one prick that you pissed of by parking too close to his car or starting your lawn mower too early one day. Never underestimate the wrath of a neighbor who's lawn your dog crapped on.

Where is that room in conjunction wiht the neighbor? If he is sitting in his yard, is ot going to block his view? Shade his garden? In a townhouse situation, that can really PO the neighbor.

One light or a 200A panel and lots of equipment. The inspector will still nab you if you are turned in.
The situation you describe sure begs for someone to rat you out. too much going on, too big a project to hide. It will take more than a $20 handshake to fix.
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It depends on the town, the town rules, and the town established practice.
Seems there is some grey area. In my town, since you're adding a room under the deck, and building a new deck (even if it's like your neighbors', it's new to your house), you'd definitely hear from the town if they noticed. You'd want a COO for the lower-floor room - no? The previous owners of my house had to scramble to get the three-season porch on my house accounted for when they put the house on the market - it had been built without permit, should have been.
It seems around here the dividing line is - fix or replace, no permit; add on or anything significantly structurally changing, permit needed. The grey area being replacing vs. upgrading.
There was no permit for my foundation repair. Engineer thought it was optional, contractor didn't think it was needed. But wouldln't you know the town was re-assessing and the photogs came around in the middle of the excavation! Heh. No one said anything; my neighbor reported the town came back to take more pictures after the job was done, that's been the end of it. I'll check with the town eventually, but I think it was just documented that there was no addition to account for.
Banty
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SteveB wrote:

Your neighbor might have talked to the "crook of the month". I got curious, so I did a google search. If I read the permit app right, it costs $20.85 for a water heater. Link: http://dsnet.co.clark.nv.us/dsweb/bldg_pdfforms/plumbpermitapp.pdf

Sounds good :o)

Our city has very different license and permit regs depending on whether it is single fam, multi or to be rented within a year. Seems to allow more risk by DIYers for themselves, rather than for renters.

We needed permits for hurricane shutters, AC replacement and water heater, all of which were obtained by contractors. The only inspection done was the electrical work on the AC, and there was no delay. The installation was done by one crew, the electrical hookup by an electrician.
Hubby and I obtained the permit for seawall repairs for our condo, including new drawings, to save money the contractor would have charged. On that project, there was a stop-work order when the contractor was ready to pour concrete for tiebacks (13) because there was water (very little) in the excavations. The contractor was using hydraulic cement?, the tide comes up twice a day, and this was end of day. There was no work the following day and until around 10 am the next when the inspector returned. The inspector, as it turned out, was the same arse who ok'd our bad reroof with many shingles improperly nailed. On the seawall, I had the impression that it was a racial issue, plain and simple. The contractor had a specialty license and no complaints filed on it; believe he has retired.
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While I am not sure about hot water heaters. I do know that in Florida, where I reside permits are cheap. More importantly if a permit is required for something done to your home & you fail to get the required permit, your insurance company (home owners,hurricane,etc) can refuse to pay your claims for items that are not done to code or with required permits. AND they don't ask you if items were done to code, or ask if you got required permits ; they log online into the building code dept and can bring up any & all building repairs done on your property. [ some sort of agreement between these agencies] And while permits are a nuisance and cheap here, FL homeowners insurance is 5 times the national average per square foot, so I'd be wasting my money to pay 3K for home owners insurance and then not have it cover something , say something like a wooden fence. [using that as an example] Do I personally think you need to have an engineering degree to construct a wooden fence on your property ? Heck No!! But Florida home owners insurance is extremely high and are allowed to dictate all sorts of "reasons" for not covering damages, so they do not have to pay claims. There are not many companies writing home owners coverage here, so changing your insurance company isn't an option. I've lived at my residence for 12 years ; my homeowners insurance in 1993 was $450; currntly it's $3K a year & ironically it doesn't even cover the complete value of my home, because I can't afford to pay for more. So $25-$75 for a permit? or next time a hurricane blows over your $8K wooden fence,it's just too bad?
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deductible
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I am a strong believer in codes. As long as the work is done properly and safely, it is my house and no reason to pay for a permit and inspection. It is an income source for the town. If I was building a house or major addition, I'd get the permit. My roofer got one when they did their work, but did an inspector ever come around? No, they just took the money.
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Last place I lived required building permits for damn near any home improvement.
There was NO inspector.
It was just a rip-off tax on folks who tried to improve their homes.
<rj>
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"dean" wrote

Hell, no. Screw the inspectors. They're just toady boys for the over-priced contractors that think they know everything. Why, just last week I put in a chimney liner all by myself, and I didn't need any damn inspector telling me what's safe and what's not. In fact, I was... Uh, hold on a sec............ Sorry, I gotta go. My doctor just called, and an operating room just became available at the hospital, so I can get started on my skin grafts now. Just think, in only three years I'll have a recognizable face again. See ya!!
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This web site has examples of silly code problems http://www.sheridanhvac.com/codes.htm
dean wrote:

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If it is something minor (which would probably irritate the inspector to come and look at with *me* doing the work), and something I know 100% that I am doing to code and safely, then no.
But say I am just adding a new electrical switch... Well I used to be an electrician, so I know what I'm doing and don't cut corners. I *don't* use whatever wire happens to be in my shed. If I don't have the proper wire, I go buy it. Same with electrical box, switch, grounding, and everything else related to the work.
So if I am out of some wiring supplies, I will go spend $20 or $30 to get the right stuff to add that one electrical switch. But then I'll probably get a roll of wire and a box of wire nuts which I will use on other projects.
And I usually ask for permits more than is necessary. I'll ask if I need a permit for this or that, and sometimes they say that I don't need a permit.
And when I do get a permit for say electrical work, the inspector looks at some of my work, but not everything. He sees that I am doing things to code where he looks, and figures everything else is the same - which it is. And these guys are busy, they don't have time to look at everything (unless they can see that there are a lot of code violations), so it is really up to me to be sure all my work is done to code and is safe.
At one time, the inspector lived across the street from me. I was doing some work on my front porch and went to his office to ask if I needed a permit. He said don't bother. But basically I had the benefit of having a permit, because he drove by my house and saw what I was doing every day. So if I did anything which was not up to code, he would have pointed it out to me with a quickness. Actually when I was done, he came over and said nice job, and that I went beyond what code required!
I just installed a woodstove, hearth, and chimney. I had *no* idea what I was doing before starting this project. So you bet your bippy I got a permit. But I also read all I could about it and went to ask the inspector questions a few times before doing the work. So I now know 100% my work was done properly and is safe. The inspector came out and inspected everything and said nice job. (Double-checked my work.) And my insurance guy came out and inspected my work as well. (Triple check!)
So I would say, if you're *not* 100% sure what you are doing is safe and up to code, then get a permit - even if it is adding just one electrical switch. And so what if the inspector asks you to re-do some work, well you have learned something and will know your work is done safely. You will sleep better at night.
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