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Old 10-19-2008, 08:27 PM   #16
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Yes, it is widely understood that the conduit requirement in Chicago is union influence at work. It is a ridiculous rule, but is law nonetheless.

Unfortunately, ignorance of the code's permit requirements isn't a legitimate excuse, and the City is doing their job by the book. They're not being overly hard on you from what you've described. I have a considerable amount of experience in this topic and I can assure you that you need to do whatever is needed to get your home into compliance. I've dealt with similar situations a hundred times, and every time the person doing the work said they didn't think they needed a permit or inspections...That statement carries no weight and probably just works against you in your dealings with the city...I assure you that they do not believe you, even if you actually didn't think you were in the wrong. You have little or no recourse but to bring the work into compliance with the jurisdiction's adopted codes.
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:22 PM   #17
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We have paid the fines (They gave us a break and only made us pay $250 instead of the usual $750) and pulled the permits (after the fact)so now its just a matter of doing the work. Since we live in the home there really is no rush to get this done. I had a baby this past April so we have been putting it off. The township has not bothered us one bit about it so I can say that they have been very very easy on us. The inspector told us he cut us a break because he wanted to work with us. Looking at it in retrospect yes we should have pulled the permits in the first place and yes my father in law should have known. I guess he presumed that since this was his own house he didn't have or he didn't want to.


The worst part of all this is that my home is a 2 unit property. We live in the first floor, which is duplexed into the basement. The upstairs is a 3 BR apartment so we have been missing out on at least $1000 / month because of all this. We initially bought this property because we wanted a rental to help out with the mortgage but for the last year we've been paying it all and it is sometimes a burden ($2600/month).
My husband and I are trying to come up with a plan to get it completed with as little mess and tearing out as little drywall as possible.

Thanks for all the thoughts. It helps me brainstorm. Up until this point we've pretty much put it aside but its like the elephant in the room that you just can't ignore.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:13 PM   #18
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Be aware that your permits probably have a 180 day time limit unless the jurisdiction gave you longer. Might need to ask for an extension if it sits idle too long. I'm glad to hear that they were willing to work with you to get it permitted.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:56 PM   #19
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Here's some straight talk:
You say you can't afford $10,000 to fix the wiring but you've managed to afford to lose $1000 per month in rent for the past year. If you are any good at math you will figure out that you've already "spent" $12,000 in lost rent for nothing in order to avoid spending $10,000 for something. And you are now continuing to lose $1,000 a month for nothing. Hopefully you'll figure it out before you've lost $24,000 to avoid a $10,000 expense.
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Old 10-20-2008, 02:04 PM   #20
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Get the rental going first so you can get some income for that. If you think about it hiring an electrician to get it done will get you the $1000 per month you need. Even if you pay out $2000 to get the wiring done.

Since you hired out the drywall learn to do it yourself. It isn't that hard to do. Only pull out what you need to go get the electrical done and do patches.

And next time you vote, go for the other candidate.
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Old 10-20-2008, 03:16 PM   #21
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The worst part of all this is that my home is a 2 unit property.
Not sure about the Chicago area, but often there are different rules for electrical in single-family detached houses vs. other homes. I know you need to have this fixed up by a pro anyway, but if you do work in the future it's something to look into. (There's my 2c).
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:13 PM   #22
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I find it very unfair that they are asking us to do this.

Did you consider bribing the inspector?

Seriously, it couldn't get any worse.......right?

You are screwed. Suck it up and have it done.
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:31 PM   #23
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What town are you in -- Chicago or one of the suburbs? Sounds like you got a bum inspector. While I agree with the code issues, spending $4K on plans is ridiculous. I would find out if your town requires that -- seems punitive to me. Can you set up a meeting with the inspector and be upfront about admitting your "mistakes" (you didn't know they were at the time) and see what you can work out? Can you do the work in stages?
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:18 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Allison1888 View Post
While I agree with the code issues, spending $4K on plans is ridiculous.
Did you ever get plans drawn?
If there is structural work being done the plans will need an architect's stamp.
Just to place the stamp on the paper those dudes get $2500.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:49 PM   #25
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Bum inspector? Are you kidding me? It is a large scale renovation project, right? Stamped plans would be required nearly anywhere.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:16 PM   #26
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Bum inspector? Are you kidding me? It is a large scale renovation project, right? Stamped plans would be required nearly anywhere.
Geez, what a racket.

We can draw a plan on a piece of paper and that works.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:50 PM   #27
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We can draw a plan on a piece of paper and that works.
A testament to your local codes authority.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:59 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Allison1888 View Post
What town are you in -- Chicago or one of the suburbs? Sounds like you got a bum inspector. While I agree with the code issues, spending $4K on plans is ridiculous. I would find out if your town requires that -- seems punitive to me. Can you set up a meeting with the inspector and be upfront about admitting your "mistakes" (you didn't know they were at the time) and see what you can work out? Can you do the work in stages?
I'm in Forest Park (right outside the city). Yeah the plans were outrageous. They did require it because we did a lot of work.

I would like to sit down with the inspector in the upcoming weeks to help us come up with a plan to get this completed. We'll probably complete the top floor and then get a renter in there and then we can use the rental money to help us finish the other 2 floors.
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Old 10-20-2008, 11:03 PM   #29
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Here's some straight talk:
You say you can't afford $10,000 to fix the wiring but you've managed to afford to lose $1000 per month in rent for the past year. If you are any good at math you will figure out that you've already "spent" $12,000 in lost rent for nothing in order to avoid spending $10,000 for something. And you are now continuing to lose $1,000 a month for nothing. Hopefully you'll figure it out before you've lost $24,000 to avoid a $10,000 expense.
I've done the math and it is a bummer. All this happened when I was 7 months pregnant. I was just going on maternity leave and then I took 4 months off from work. Our income was cut in half during that time so we had no money to do the work. We had some money in savings- $4,000 of it was used for the architectural drawings and the other money we needed while I was on maternity leave. We are saving up some money now so we can get started on the top floor.
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Old 10-20-2008, 11:07 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by pchicago View Post
I would like to sit down with the inspector in the upcoming weeks to help us come up with a plan to get this completed. We'll probably complete the top floor and then get a renter in there and then we can use the rental money to help us finish the other 2 floors.
That's a great idea, and you should definately pursue it. There's a good chance he may not allow occupancy of part of the unit, given the electrical issues. The only way to know is to ask!
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