Thee are a few possibilities. He may be able to say he "forgot" to get a
permit, pay the fee and keep on going. If he decides to contest it all,
they have the power to make him take it down. In any case, I'd not do any
outdoor work until the situation is resolved as that will just aggravate the
officials. Doing the indoor finishing is risky too, as they will want to
inspect electrical, etc before it is closed up.
If he is building to code it is much easier to resolve than if he is in
violation, not matter what he, you, or I think of the practicality of the
At work we moved our production into a building we bought 8 years ago.
Suddenly we have to bring the entire building up to code due to the new use.
This is over $250,000 in upgrades and we have no choice. I suspect your
friend will be in the same situation.
It is a dammable shame that property owners cannot build their own
homes. It is happening all over the US. The insurance companies and
financial institutions have attempted to stop people from building
their own homes so people are forced to go into debt. I live in
Alaska in a borough where we can build our own homes, put in our own
wells, and septic systems. That is why I live in Alaska and suggest
the rest of you move here and help us keep the banks and insurance
companies out of our lives.
My motto is this: I had rather live in a 2 by 4 shack that I own than
live in a mansion with a mortgage.
In Florida it appears the other thing homeowners can't do is draw
their own plans. You can do all the work once you do get the permit
The property appraiser seems to be a totally separate operation. They
have found all my unpermitted work within a year and raised my taxes
but I never got in trouble for it. They have better records of my
projects than I do.
Isn't it that you have to have plans professionally stamped that is the
actual requirement, not the origin of the drawing itself, though?
That is, you _could_ do the design and drawings then take them to the
engineer and get the approval (assuming you could find an engineer
willing to work on that basis, of course, which would undoubtedly cost
way more than them doing it from the git-go even if would accept the job).
That was one of my ill fated trips down town. They rejected a stamped
plan because it wasn't the "scale" they wanted. (11 x 14, not the huge
paper everyone else uses) even though the whole project fit on it in
the standard 1/4" per foot. The woman actually told me they don't want
to look at "hand drawn" plans. I am not sure where she thinks the rest
of the plans actually come from.
That's simply a storage/retrieval issue -- they're likely set up to
handle C drawings. As the other respondent notes, the bulk of
everything comes from CAD systems and the engineers and architects have
the equipment to churn out drawings as easily as you can print common
I suspect that's not part of the actual law but simply an office
practice where you live. It's definitely not worth fighting a battle
over, however... :)
Steve might be right about there being nothing you can do. Maybe wait
a day until this thread is on groups.google and send him the link so
he'll hear it straight from us.
Being an inspector is probably boring a lot of the time, but they keep
at it partly because they need a job and partly because they have
convinced themselves they're doing something worthwhile. Which they
are, 98% of the time. A case like your friend's puts excitement in
their lives. And if he can just ignore their orders, then everyone
else will think they can too. Plus it's an insult to be ignored.
They won't let this go.
The longer this goes on, the more your friend will pay, in time,
money, effort, and delays, maybe permanent, in getting his room built.
Although all the facts are different, this reminds me of when I had to
borrow 50,000 dollars from my brother to buy my house. He didn't
hesitate to lend me the money, but when I asked him to send it express
mail, he balked at the 10 dollars even though I was going to pay it.
He said it was too much money and WHAT COULD THEY DO TO ME if I didn't
have the money that day. This was a guy who had already bought a
house for himself. I said the contract was expiring and he might sell
the house to someone else**. He send the money Express Mail.
**Another friend had a house for sale and the buyer couldn't get a
mortgage in the 45 days allotted. The day after the contract expired,
someone knocked on my friend's door, liked the house and paid cash.
So he should be humble, apply for the permit, apologize, be humble,
ask what he do to make things right, be humble, apologize, and maybe
the inspector will be nice to him, like he would have if he had gotten
the permit in the first plac.e
It's the government brute squad. Unlimited resources to take your life,
liberty, or property, as they see fit.
Don't think they won't. Building codes and permits are chiefly about
boosting the profits of a few tradesmen via barriers to entry and restraint
of trade, so the code/permits/licensing goons tend to have powerful
enforcement when they are roused by a cheeky homeowner.
Although Florida has a law guaranteeing her citizens the right to work on
their own domicile within codes and permits but without a trade license,
I've stood in the Broward County building department and listened as the
chief plumbing inspector said a guy with three engineering degrees wasn't
allowed to replace an ordinary kitchen faucet in his own home.
Your friend should either submit fully to these authorities, or hire a
construction lawyer to contest anything unfair.
Steve is correct on the WH quake straps in NV. In '95 closing on a
house a Disclaimer was added, from CA rulings - lead in faucet
I have been in my first quake ever, a small one in the Las Vegas
Valley some years ago.
The inspectors check the dates on a WH and if it has been changed
after a code, then quake straps are required.
The fancy ones look like seat belts vs an early metal galv. strap from
Watch out the left coast is coming your way:)
Ask your insurance agent what happens if you have a loss which is
somehow related to work done which should have had a permit, but didn't.
When selling a house the purchase agreement may have an area where the
seller must specify any work which was done without a permit. What now?
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