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.
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.
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
I'm not arguing permits. I am not against the permits.
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.
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
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.
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).
Requiring a permit for non-structural "renovations" is pretty much a
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
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"
I built a small greenhouse from scratch using corrugated plastic
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.
Yea, when I put in a shed, the town told me that if I kept it under a
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.
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.
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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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