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Old 08-11-2008, 08:54 PM   #1
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Building Permits and Fines


How much would a fine be for building without a permit in Texas?

We have recently tore down the kitchen to our restaurant to build a new one. The old one was 10 feet by 30 feet. The new one is 30 feet by 30 feet. We have poured dirt to make the ground even, put up the 4x4 support posts, and poured concrete. A man that works for the city came by and said we needed a permit for the construction. I don't know how long it will take to get the permit, but I think it will take a while and we only need one or two days to finish the work. I also don't think that the fines for building a permit will be too much. We have been closed for two weeks and are going on to our third week closed and that restaurant is a major source of income for my family and I also don't want to upset any of our customers. So should I hassle with the city and get a permit or just finish the work without a permit, open the restaurant, and pay the fines later. Or can the city keep us from using the kitchen?

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Old 08-11-2008, 08:59 PM   #2
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Building Permits and Fines


Frankly, I can't believe that you are even asking such a question.

You, my friend, really need to catch up on educating yourself on city permits.

Get the permit ASAP, or you will not even be able to open that restaraunt.


Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 08-11-2008 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:05 PM   #3
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Building Permits and Fines


You may even have to pay for tearing down what you have already built. You actually thought you could triple the size of the kitchen without any plans or permits?

The building permits is just as important as the city and state permits and health inspection you have to live with if you are running a business for the public.
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:41 PM   #4
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Building Permits and Fines


yep, find a contractor , Pronto

offer tacos for life!!!
get legal or you will risk the whole enchalada....
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:58 PM   #5
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Building Permits and Fines


From an inspector's standpoint...

Scenario 1: YOU GOT CAUGHT AND ARE NOW WILLING TO ENDURE THE PERMITS AND INSPECTION PROCESS...
I'd issue a punitive fine for working without a permit, and would require you to supply the plans and necessary engineering as part of the permit process. I'd put you in line with everyone else that needs a permit and would get to you in a first come first served order. Since the restaurant is closed due to construction, keeping the public out is a non-issue.
When you get your permit you can commence working after getting caught up on the required inspections. At those inspections I'll work with you to make everything right, and I'll be pretty easy to deal with even though I won't let you cut corners. You'll be open for business as soon as reasonably possible (it won't be two days).

Scenario 2: YOU GOT CAUGHT AND ARE NOT WILLING TO APPLY FOR AND OBTAIN A PERMIT, OR THE NECESSARY INSPECTIONS. YOUR CREWS CONTINUE WORK.
I'd issue a stop work order immediately, requiring your crews to vacate the premesis. If ignored, see you in court. In my city, police will help you out of your building and the fire marshal will install his lock on the door. Punitive fines will be issued, and ignoring the process will probably get you taken to court anyhow. If you have a liquor license, I will have it revoked immediately, and will not sign off its re-issuance until a satisfactory final is done. You're probably not going to get my best effort to help you get your business back up and running in a hurry...It'll take a reasonable amount of time and will not be a priority (why put you ahead of those that played by the rules?). You're tearing out everything that is already in place so I can do the necessary inspections (slabs, structure, etc). Inspections will be very thorough and no corners will be cut, and no freebies or "trust me I'll do its" will be given. You aren't going to open for business until you pass every required inspection.

Don't fight city hall. I guarantee that the two scenarios will play out in most cities with a fair degree of similarity to what I described. There's no reason that you shouldn't get a permit. You owe it to your employees, customers, and neighbors to make sure the building you're working in is safe.

Your idea of pushing on is ridiculous. You got caught. Now take your lumps.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:55 AM   #6
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Building Permits and Fines


Not to mention that the health department is someone you need to be good friends with, and they happen to be on the building department's side of things...
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Old 08-12-2008, 04:42 PM   #7
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And they CAN and WILL lock you up if you choose to ignore a "stop work" order. Go to the building dept. with your hat in hand and be humble!! Claim ignorance and rectify the situation before you loose your source of income for a looong time.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bjbatlanta View Post
And they CAN and WILL lock you up if you choose to ignore a "stop work" order. Go to the building dept. with your hat in hand and be humble!! Claim ignorance and rectify the situation before you loose your source of income for a looong time.
Very true! "Be humble" is the best advice you can get. Admission of guilt will gain you more ground than anything.

As for claiming ignorance....I've heard that one a thousand times, and so have most inspectors. Trust me, we don't believe you!
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:13 PM   #9
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Building Permits and Fines


Quote:
Originally Posted by csnez25 View Post
How much would a fine be for building without a permit in Texas?

We have recently tore down the kitchen to our restaurant to build a new one. The old one was 10 feet by 30 feet. The new one is 30 feet by 30 feet. We have poured dirt to make the ground even, put up the 4x4 support posts, and poured concrete. A man that works for the city came by and said we needed a permit for the construction. I don't know how long it will take to get the permit, but I think it will take a while and we only need one or two days to finish the work. I also don't think that the fines for building a permit will be too much. We have been closed for two weeks and are going on to our third week closed and that restaurant is a major source of income for my family and I also don't want to upset any of our customers. So should I hassle with the city and get a permit or just finish the work without a permit, open the restaurant, and pay the fines later. Or can the city keep us from using the kitchen?
This thread has got to be the worst one I've ever heard of before. It has to to a joke or it should just be deleted.

You deserve every single fine you get and they should make you rip it down!!
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Old 08-13-2008, 10:22 PM   #10
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Building Permits and Fines


Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
Frankly, I can't believe that you are even asking such a question.
You, my friend, really need to catch up on educating yourself on city permits.
Get the permit ASAP, or you will not even be able to open that restaraunt.
Just wanted to quote that for truth..
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Old 08-14-2008, 03:06 PM   #11
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Building Permits and Fines


Around here, depending on the jurisdiction, I've heard of the planning department making violators tear down everything they'd built and start over. Apply for a zoning permit, then a building permit. Submit blueprints. They checked EVEYTHING with a fine tooth comb. Load calcs for every structural member had to be shown. Very thorough inspections with NO leiniency. They just generally made it a pain in the butt for the offender.
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Old 08-16-2008, 02:30 AM   #12
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Building Permits and Fines


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Originally Posted by Maintenance 6 View Post
...Very thorough inspections with NO leiniency. They just generally made it a pain in the butt for the offender.
That's completely the wrong attitude to have - they were dealing with a known offender, they had every reason to give a through inspection... it's their signature on the line.
"made it a pain in the butt" - no, he brought that one on himself.

Mac
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Old 08-16-2008, 05:23 PM   #13
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Building Permits and Fines


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Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
Not to mention that the health department is someone you need to be good friends with, and they happen to be on the building department's side of things...
So far you have run afoul of the building inspector, and the health inspector. We have not even dicussted plumbing, electrical and fire plan reviews or inspections. Are the people doing the work licensed,insured, and bonded as required?
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Old 08-18-2008, 06:22 AM   #14
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Building Permits and Fines


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Originally Posted by BuiltByMAC View Post
That's completely the wrong attitude to have - they were dealing with a known offender, they had every reason to give a through inspection... it's their signature on the line.
"made it a pain in the butt" - no, he brought that one on himself.

Mac
I didn't say the offender didn't deserve everything he got. He certainly brought on his own woes.
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Old 08-22-2008, 07:24 AM   #15
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Building Permits and Fines


I agree with those of you who responded to the original poster (OP). I would add the OP should consult an attorney if major fines and/or a shutdown order from the Health Department shows up. Unfortunately, in situations like this, individuals tend to "go it alone" and really get raked over the coals because they don't know the rules, regulations, and laws that they ended up not following - or the procedures to get any fines or penalties somewhat lessened (if that is even possible). With the recent outbreaks of food poisoning at various restaurants, it is surprising that the OP did not get the necessary approvals upfront. I can just imagine what would happen if a customer got sick after the remodel and then their lawyer found out the restaurant did not have all the necessary building permits and Health Department approvals for the addition...

Oh, and hire a qualified contractor to finish the project - one who knows the permits to get and then procures them for for you. It is one thing for a homeowner to get busted for not having building permits (not that they shouldn't, or should not be fined if caught without them); it is a whole 'nother league when it is a business that serves food to the public.

(I notice the OP has not responded since posting over 10 days ago. Hope they aren't in jail )

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