Renovation

I'm on the verge of the purchase of a first home and I'm considering a number of renovations. Can someone tell me if there are any regulations regarding the interior state of a "work in progress"? Like, can I just rip interior walls and ceilings out, and are there any issues with leaving things that way for a length of time? I do not intend to affect the structural integrity of the building.
I am in Massachusetts but would appreciate info from anywhere.
John
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Before you begin your renovation work you should place a call to your local building department. Regulations vary from place to place on what you need permits for and such. It's best to start off on the right foot with your local inspectors- instead of getting a nasty surprise later. Pulling permits is not always inexpensive or fun but helps to protect you and others by insuring that the work meets a certain standard- usually based on the Uniform Building Code but often with local variances. I would especially recommend talking to the building department and possibly a contractor or two before you rip out any walls. Unless you can identify which walls are load-bearing or not you might sacrifice the structural integrity of your house by taking out the wrong framing pieces. Another reason for permits is that insurance companies often will not cover damage caused by work that was done illegally- say you do some wiring that starts a fire and burns down your house- no compensation. Where I live permits are good for six months from when they are issued. We are in the middle of a renovation right now- the permits where pulled in Feb. or March and there's no way we will be ready for a final inspection before the six months is up so we will have to get them renewed- most likely for an additional fee, but that's the way the game is played. Ask lots of questions of the inspectors and get to know the building code if you plan on doing lots of renovation work. Often you open a whole can of worms unknowingly by what seemed like a little project. Sometimes you will be required to bring things up to current code depending on the scope of your project. Here in California that means things like shear walls and hold downs for earthquakes. If you live in an older house this can mean a lot of additional time and expense but in the end you will most likely be living in a safer, more comfortable house. Good luck with your house and have fun.
Dale
J wrote:

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J wrote:

Regulations are generally made locally so you will need to check with your local authorities.
Older homes often have hidden bombs, like lead paint or old leaks that have done serious structural damage. Renovations may turn up far bigger problems than expected.
I am not saying don't do it. I did one home and I was very happy with the results. Lots of work, but great results.
In my case there were long periods where areas were work in progress.
Good luck
--
Joseph Meehan

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If you have to ask , then I wonder how you know you wont affect structural integrity.
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m Ransley wrote:

That is a very good point. I glossed over that tearing out walls thing in my first response. If you don't know exactly what you are doing, and the fact that the question was asked indicates that the OP does not, then don't take out anything 2x4 or larger!
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Joseph Meehan

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Tearing out walls even non load bearing can have dramatic results above the wall, settling being the main issue. Once I took an architect aproved wall removal job, well he wasnt a very good architect because down came everything above, luckily my crew was quick enough to throw back up supports before all came tumbling down. And since he was an architect it was on his insurance claim.Yes wall removal needs expert direction, from someone who has done them regularly.
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More clarification:
I was a cabinetmaker for 4 years. Woodworking become a hobby of mine and I've helped friends do some residential framing, but by no means am I a seasoned builder or contractor.
I'm wondering if there's a specific line past which permits are best. I'll be using a dumpster in the street for demolition so that's pretty much a given permit situation. I have talked to the engineer about vaulting the ceiling so I would anticipate being able to demo the attic without affecting the ceiling joists. I do not have trusses to worry about. I may install wider (2x8?) rafters to allow for adequate insulation, venting, etc. And then if I decide to replace or move the ceiling joists, I'm borderline in over my head and will probably need to rely on some help.
The main point being that it will be taking me a lot longer to get everything done, but both my girlfriend and I are prepared for this (stepping over a pile of stock to get to the kitchen to eat breakfast, etc.) But if I get permits for everything, then I will be under pressure with time and this is something I'd rather avoid if possible. To be sure, I have no intention of jeopardizing the safety of the building. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions and that's really why I'm asking here. I also realize the importance of maintaining a decent relationship with building inspectors and I'm also wondering if tackling some of this stuff without permits gets me off on the wrong foot. I'm planning to run a lot of this by the inspection department before I get too involved, but I figure here is not a bad place to start.
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J wrote: ....

....
Your local building department has all the requirements in b&w...all you have to do is ask. :)
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One permit should cover it, it does in my area, just tell them what you want to do upfront. If permits prices are based on the cost of the job then lowball the price. when you are done you get the final inspection and the cert to inhabit. inspectors are easy to work with as long as you are upfront and dont hide things.
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If it's anything like the project I took on it will explode & one thing will lead to another & another. I started out thinking I'd do a few things & little by little ended up gutting the place. You didn't say how old this place is.
But if I get permits for everything, then I will be under

My permit expired six months into the project. One year later, with the stroke of a pen they renewed it for another six months. My experiance with the inspectors wasn't too bad. They let me know right off the bat who was boss. I was careful not to piss them off. One line I heard more than once was "We'll catch it on the final". I fixed it but they never bothered looking.
Around here, any re-hab over a thousand dollars requires a permit. AND EVERYTHING needed to be brought up to current code.

That said, it's also about taxes. They want your money.
I also realize the importance of

It will take longer than you expect it to. It will cost more than you expect it to. But when it's done you'll be proud.
Good luck.
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The house is 100 years old. It has a hip roof and a chimney on center which isn't used, and I don't know yet if it can be. The rafters are definitely spaced wider than 24", but the roof was recently reshingled and it looks like a decent job. No evidence of leaks, but I'm still pre-inspection.
I'd like to do is vault the ceiling on the 2nd floor, but I'm still figuring out how this might be done. I could replace the ceiling joists, but ideally I'd like to have exposed beams higher up. At first I thought I was out of luck but apparently there are lots of ways to do something like this, with rails, I'm told that steel is used in some cases. Then it becomes a budgetary question more than anything else.
Thanks for all the comments.
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I probably wasn't clear. The way I see it I can't exercise too much caution. When I referred to walls, I meant removing surfaces and exposing the innards, without removing any framing. I'll be consulting with a structural engineer, to be sure I don't make any serious mistakes.
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I probably wasn't clear. The way I see it I can't exercise too much caution. When I referred to walls, I meant removing surfaces and exposing the innards, without removing any framing. I'll be consulting with a structural engineer, to be sure I don't make any serious mistakes.
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Why remove the sheeting to expose the framing , unless you are going to remove the framing?
You dont remove anything till you are sure you have everything planned out. Or you may find yourself resealing the wall as it was.
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J wrote:

Hi, In a way walls are part of structure. Be careful. Tony
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