question for you contactor pros.

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2 actually. 1 My town requires a permit to put paneling on your walls. Is this normal? NOt that I am putting paneling up, but it seems odd to require it... why would it be required aside from the money grab.
2 My town will not allow contractors to draw and design mods even if not structural unless they have an architecture /engineer license. But the home owner is allowed to draw / design.. Is this normal too?
I would think most contractors would be better than a homeowner.
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On 3/28/2014 2:12 PM, woodchucker wrote:

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FrozenNorth wrote:

from just the money for the permit)?

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On 3/28/2014 1:32 PM, Bill wrote:

That is quite common also. In Texas the appraisal districts have access to all municipal and county building permits and records, and it is rare the process does not insure a rise in property values.
Then again, it is YOU who allow the bastards to get away with it in the first place ... they count on your apathy, and rightfully so.
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On 3/28/2014 1:12 PM, woodchucker wrote:

See below.

Answer to both is the same, YES. It is both normal, and ubiquitous, for municipalities to require permits for most anything done to a residence.
That is a GOOD thing!
It is also common for a homeowner to be allowed do his own work on his home, even electrical, plumbing and other "trade work", providing the owner permits the job in his name and it is inspected ... and that also entails the homeowner do, or have done, any necessary plans and drawings.
That is a GOOD thing!
However, a fact most don't know/forget, and a mistake I see made by homeowners, especially those who try to fly under the permit/inspection radar, all the time:
FACT: _You can NOT expect/get an _accurate_ bid from any contractor without specific plans/drawings depicting/spec'ing the job, and therefore what you are expecting of the contractor_ .
Many contractors are more than happy to bid on an ill planed/planless, unpermitted jobs. It makes for much more "ca ching" when things are not specified, and unexpected changes occur, which they always do; and that much easier to cheat the homeowner on something that obviously didn't exist in the first place.
Besides an approved plan being obviously necessary for the homeowner sake, now and at resale time, it is also easier to inspect for the city inspection department, which insures you get at least a "built to minimum standards" job.

Being in the business, and seeing the work done by contractors on unpermitted jobs I see, fix and repair, I would not agree with that at all.
I tell homeowners all the time, a permit and inspection is in _both_ of our best interests:
1. As mentioned above, it insures the homeowner gets at least a "built to minimum standards" job for their money.
2. And it also gives me, the contractor, a hammer over subcontractors without risk of a job being sabotaged in some manner through hard feeling about quality of work performed and/or not doing the job properly (a happening not uncommon in the business) ... IOW, if a trade sub fails an inspection, there is no one to blame but himself.
Long and short of it for homeowners ... unless the Contractor is me, or your mother, and even then - get the farkin' job on your home permitted and inspected!
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On 3/28/2014 3:07 PM, Swingman wrote:

What I don't understand is why paneling requires a permit? That seems odd, as it is not structural.
And why a contractor could not provide the design/layout for a non-structural change for the permit.
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On 3/28/2014 3:27 PM, woodchucker wrote:

Both can likely be answered by the same concept in vogue these days among many urban jurisdictions.
In the guise of "safety", many jurisdictions now have ordinances in place that require certain things be done, like installation of fire sprinkler systems, if the total cost, or total square footage, involved in a renovation exceeds a certain percentage of the square footage of a home, or a certain percentage of the value of the home.
In some cases these calculations, part of the required plan review/approval for permit process, are even figured on a room by room basis.
An example - in some jurisdictions hereabouts we can easily, and inadvertently, run afoul of these plan based requirements when simply removing a 2sf section of drywall in a ceiling to determine load bearing components of a structure, or even for purposes such as finding the best location to install a skylights.
If the total of the drywall we remove for that purpose, added to the square footage of drywall that was subjected to the renovation in the approved plan, exceeds the allowable square footage in that approved plan, the owner may well find himself being suddenly forced to install an expensive fire sprinkler system, or is some cases, and as extreme as it may sound, rebuild the entire structure ... I'm not kidding, but I wish I was.
(A couple of years back I did a $250,000 remodel of a home in one of the mini cities West of Houston where I had to constantly monitor what we did with the walls to preclude triggering one of these dictated "upgrade" requirements based on both the square footage, and percentage value of the renovation with regard to the home's appraised value ... (Leon may not remember that part of it, but it was the same project his now infamous "Domino Drawers came to light <g> ))
There you have just one of the reasons why 'wet stamped" drawings are often required now for "purposes other than structural" for permit approval in some places.
Yep, you're right ... this is government gone wild, but they get away with it because you allow it.
Sucks, eh? But a fact of life, so get used to it, or rebel.
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On 3/28/2014 7:47 PM, Swingman wrote:

cases, or not enough in others (like politicians should have the same rules that us PEON's have).
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On 3/28/2014 1:12 PM, woodchucker wrote:

1) For that alone w/ no other improvement does seem a little over the top, agreed. Can't say as to how unique it might be; many places are pretty limited on what doesn't need one.
2) Virtually all places have exemptions for single-residence owner-exemptions. I think it's been litigated they can't completely stop an individual's right for their own property if they're not doing something to somebody else (like a renter).
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cash grab. I'm talking "decorating". Electrical and plumbing is a different story.
The reason an "unqualified" contractor may not be allowed to submit drawings is he is charging for the service, and the service being provided is covered by a "mandatory qualification" trade.
A homeowner can submit his own drawings for his own home due to "property rights" legislation - the same thing that allows a homeowner to do his own work on his own home. Anything safety related - particularly to do with the safety of others, (generally) requires an inspection. Anything that carries a fire risk (generally) requires an inspection.
I can sort of see the rationalle behind requiring a permit for installing panelling - if nailing it up an idiot can do a lot of damage to wiring and plumbing by using the wrong nails - and covering junction boxes etc would be very easy - good way to cover up the unpermitted and unispected wiring hack-job.
That said, a lot of so-called contractors are every bit as bad - particularly in areas where mandatory qualification is not in place, and "contractors" do not need to be licenced or insured, and where no job specification is in place (customer just says "fix the wiring and plumbing and make it look pretty - for the lowest price possible"
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woodchucker wrote:

sheets over a frame--white for the roof and translucent for the sides. No contractor, no permit. The next year our taxes increased. We went down and contested it. They had pictures of the house from every side and a picture of the greenhouse. We have a high solid fence around the back yard but someone had gotten a picture without our knowing it.
They did back off on the taxes though.
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On 3/28/2014 4:32 PM, G. Ross wrote:

certain size I would not pay taxes and not require a permit.
Well I didn't require a permit, but they hit me with taxes anyway. The money hungry bastards.
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On 3/28/2014 5:01 PM, woodchucker wrote:

I needrd a permit over 100 sq ft, but no tax unless I anchor it and make it a permanent structure. I had to give a sketch of the location as it could not be within 5' of the property line.
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On 3/28/2014 3:32 PM, G. Ross wrote:

Around here they use Sat photos to see any improvements.
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On 3/28/14, 3:27 PM, woodchucker wrote:

The only thing I can think of is fireproofing. Wood paneling doesn't retard the spread of fire like sheetrock does. It is possible they would want it treated with a fire retardant spray, or even put up *over* sheetrock to keep the fire rating of the wall hee same.
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On 3/28/2014 5:15 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

Yea they are kind of wierd here, they would not let me surface the walls in my shop with plywood, due to fire risk. But I had to use ply as a firestop every 10 feet between the studs and the concrete, and caulk it. So why is it good as a firestop, but not for a wall treatment?
Bizarre rules. What do people with tongue and groove pine or wainescotting do ??? I have been to estate sales around here that are tongue and groove.
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wrote:

Do they need another reason?

Normal? It's certainly not unique. Where I lived in NY, a homeowner could do even structural drawings for additions up to $10K value.

Perhaps but homeowners tend to over-design, too.
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wrote:

Well how about a rule after you have served your time in congress, you get a free vacation in a minimum security facility.
Mark
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On 3/28/2014 8:58 PM, Markem wrote:

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On 3/28/2014 8:01 PM, woodchucker wrote:

Freudian slip? ;)
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