Do you really need to a permit and inspector to do work around the house?

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Ignoramus5713 wrote:

Yeah, like a wall being more than 3/4" off vertical from top to bottom. Wait, that was my new carefully built, with permits, and inspected house built by professionals. Didn't notice it until I installed a wood stove and dropped a plumbob for the chimney.
My point is that poorly done doesn't mean that a non-professional, unlicensed person did it. If you do careful neat work that is correct, the inspector might notice but will likely figure it was done by a professional.
I have several friend that have receive highly complimentary statements from inspectors on their electrical, plumbing, or other work, indicating that it was far above the standards done by professionals. Not unusual or unexpected if you work carefully as the usual trade person doesn't have the time to be exceptionally careful.
Oh, yeah, we looked for about 2 months and finally selected this house as the best location and construction from what we had visited. After 6 months and climbing up on the roof to install the chimney for that wood stove, I finally notice that there was no cap on a section of the roof. No water problem because the shingles were overlapped, but still. One call and the roofer sent is son out immediately to fix it. Seems there was some mix up each (father and son) thought the other had finished the cap. I may have made some visual errors (no one notices) when I reroofed years later, but it doesn't leak and I sure didn't leave the cap off.
Oh, I forgot the pieces of wood left in the furnace plenum, because somebody was too lazy to pull them out after another stupid person dropped them in there. Lots of stories of screw ups in other houses.
Nope, you won't have a bit a problem if you are halfway neat and follow what responsible people at your local supply houses tell you.
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Oh_Jeeze wrote:

Most people don't get permits for inside work in the west. Your local building department, city or county, can give you a list of everything that requires a permit. They may inform you verbally of all sort of stuff, but believe it only if it is included on the list. They can also tell you what must be done to meet code.
Painting, replacing windows, doors, floor coverings, walls coverings (non structural) and replacing original fixtures and appliances requires no permit in many if not mosts areas. Since you are an electrical engineer you will probably have little or no problem doing electrical work but you won't know what the code is. Nonetheless you can easily do minor stuff like adding new circuits. Anything major, even if they can't see it, should be done with a permit and inspected just to protect yourself. If you are handy you can do plumbing and construction, but you need to look at some books to see what is a,acceptable. You should also get those free sheets that big box stores and other stores dealing with the public have on electrical, plumbing, and structural changes and other areas such as insulation, concrete work, etc. This stuff should be up to date and show what is necessary to meet the code.
If the previous owner did something and it is wrong or unsafe, redo it correctly and forget getting a permit whether or not the previous owner got a permit. If you corrected the work remember it isn't your responsibility and you don't know anything about it. The point is safety for your family. Even if the work was under permit and inspected, there may be no record at the building department. So, an inquiry might result in an inspection and possibly the requirement of a permit (read money) and a following inspection even if the original was inspected and passed. That kind of stuff can get lost easily in many jurisdictions.
You might also want to find out what the fine is for not getting a permit. In my area, if you do the work without a permit and they find out they will fine you double the cost of the permit. OTOH, if it isn't visible, they will never find out. If it bothers you get the permit.
Before you believe what lots of people tell you about home insurance, check your own policy and/or talk to you insurance agent. Crappy insurance companies/agents will screw you no matter what you do, good companies will cover you no matter what you do. Anyway, why plan for a disaster, do it right, do it safely, and protect your family so that you won't have an insurance claim. Don't smoke in bed (or at all), don't get drunk (without someone watching over you), use flammable liquids judiciously, don't start fires or barbecues with gasoline, keep the house clean, vacuum the clothes dryer and vent periodically, maintain your furnace, get rid of oily rags, and don't let your kids play with matches and you will likely never see a fire. Statistically, if you have a newer single family house, it is highly likely that you will never suffer any fire damage even if you are a complete slob at cleaning and smoke in bed while draining a bottle of bourbon.
Farm and suburban out-building around here burn, mostly because people burn weeds or fields when it is windy, and houses burn when there are forests fires. Apartment house occasionally suffer some fire damage, usually directly caused by crappy clientel, but single residence houses usually burn only when the fire department sets them on fire for training purposes. A quick look at fire statistics can be rather revealing, but may lead to question of why you are paying so much in taxes for a fire district. Like many people, I pay way more per month for health insurance than I do annually for homeowners insurance, of which fire is a tiny part.
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Plumbing, electrical, outside construction, decks, roofs, anthing that could increase your taxes.

Not always. Sometimes the problems take a long time to s urface. There is more to it than leaks in water lines.

BFD! Having a degree means you know how to read a book and memorize. It does not mean you have the manual dexterity to make a proper connection. It does not mean you know how to properly route a wire, mount a box, and a lot of other practical applications that must be done manually. You may or may not have those skills. In my experience, teachers are some of the worst when it comes to doing physical work. Knowing that you need a hammer to hit a nail does not mean you actually hit the target.

Chances are no one will ever find out. If everything ever done to a house was inspected the towns would have to hire hundreds of more inspectors to keep up. Don't be concerned about minor repairs on the inside. It is the thing visible that you want to cover your ass.
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It
connection. It

a lot

or may

worst
to hit

Having a masters degree means that I understand electricity, electric, and electronic components many orders of magnitude better than most people. I know it's easy for someone who does not understand the engineering process or what engineers do to become easily confused. My 8yrs of experience have been spent in a practical engineering environment. So, not only do design but when need be I can make proper connections, route wires, and mount boxes. I can hammer a nail too. WIPPIE! Maybe if I were a wet eared engineer fresh out of college with no practical experience would I not have the ability to connect a circuit. But hey, as for your other advice, thanks for the repeating everything "zxcvbob" pointed out.
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There is not that much about electricity as such that one needs to know to route wires etc. The main source of NEC and codes and such, is accumulated bad experience, knowing what kinds of things can go wrong.
If you try to "route wires" without consulting with that body of experience, you may repeat some mistakes that you simply forgot to think about. Troubles that you would no doubt understand once they are brought to your attention, but may not necessarily recognize at the time of making decision.
I am not insinuating that you in fact want to do it without reading codes and how to books. Merely stating that it is necessary.
If you are a handy person, who read books on residential electricity, I would be greatly surprised if you were incapable of doing a great electrical job on most everything.
i
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is
wrong.
are
I completely agree!
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No, I'm not confused at all. I have engineers in the family, I deal with lots of engineers. Some are geniuses, some are twits. Happens in every walk of life. I don't get impressed by the wall paper but by your accomplishments. You only told me about the wall paper you have.

Now why do you denigrate recent graduates? Some have lots of practical experience and can run rings around the paper hangers.

As an engineer with a masters pedigree, you must know how news servers work. You probably know that I did not see his post before I sent mine. Anyway, I'm glad I could reinforce what he had to say. Engineers like lots of redundancy.
Hey, you never told us what railroad?????
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Kinda a tangent here, but I'd be curious to see what percentage of work done that required a permit actually did get a permit. I'm gonna guess that its below 50%
Dave
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The kinds of things which can be noticed by nosey neighbors who call the city on you.
Otherwise, forget it.
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The kinds of things which can be noticed by nosey neighbors who call the city on you.
Otherwise, forget it.
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Depends on the jurisdiction. In general, large things like new roofs, new electrical panels, decks, additions, etc, require permits. Repairs and decorating don't. Like in my case, a replacement furnace doesn't need a permit, unless you are changing the type of furnace, like going from oil to gas.
As to why do people do it? Because if you don't have a permit, and the authorities are upset, you can be required to rip out all the work, get a permit, and re-do it. Or they can condemn the house as unsuitable for living in.
Call your local building department, and ask. (or visit their web site, if they are on-line like they should be these days).

If you have a condition that is wrong, you may need to pull a permit and fix it.
In general no, you buy a house as is, and the previous owners problems are now yours. That is why a pre-purchase house inspection is such a good idea, so you know what problems you are acquiring.
By "in general" I mean I'm not a lawyer that is familiar with your localities laws.
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Largely because the people with the guns and badges say you have to do it.
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Oh_Jeeze wrote:

Because it's the law, and often they can spot something wrong that you missed.
Because if the worse happens and it was the result of your work and the insurance company finds out, you may find yourself without insurance to pay for the damage.
Because when it comes time to sell, you could end up in trouble.

Depends on the local laws.

Not always. It is the stuff you don't think of or know about that will cause problems. For example using two different metals in a connection without insulation, may not leak right away but come two years later, it could be a big problem.

There are a lot of things in the code, local or national that you would not think of, but if pointed out to you, at least you would be able to understand, maybe after the fire and death of a loved one.

Depends on local codes.
--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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This question is best asked of your local code enforcement office.
Pop
Oh_Jeeze wrote:

--
--
One should not be so p-h-i-l-o-p-o-L-e-m-i-c
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wrote:

Locally, replacing fixtures, as in your toilet or lamp doesn't require a permit. Relocating a pipe or outlet would. But unless you live here, whatever's required here doesn't matter to you.
Jeff
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In many states home seller's are obligated to reveal to potential buyers any problems or substandard issues with the house. Work done without permits would be among the things that must be revealed.
Oh_Jeeze wrote:

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Really, like what kind of work? Changing a light fixture? Replacing a door? A new sink? Everywhere I know work of that type can be done by the homeowner without a permit or inspection. If permits were required for most home work, there wouldn't be enough inspectors to handle it.
Certainly you do need permits for improvements that are structural, a new septic system, well, etc, but I don't think the new homeowner was contemplating that level of work.
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My village requires permits for all electrical work involving adding receptacles, for example. The process of getting those permits is complicated and expensive.
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I found this thread quite interesting. In 2 different cities, I have had numerous cases where inspectors have signed off on improperly done work.
My 2 cents: NEVER count on a city inspector saving you from a bad contractor. The inspector is there for the city's benefit, not yours.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

That seems to be correct. I posted this same question to some people that I work with at lunch and the consensus was that an inspector's signature does not guarantee that the work is done correctly regardless of whether it was done by a contractor or a novice.
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