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-   -   No Permit for my Porch and Deck (http://www.diychatroom.com/f19/no-permit-my-porch-deck-9090/)

jokiddjr 06-11-2007 02:14 PM

No Permit for my Porch and Deck
 
I was foolish enough to believe a contractor who told me that a permit was not required for my jobs. Essentially, he told me there was no point and he doesn't do it for most of his jobs.

I've never hired a building contractor before and hadn't research the requirement before hand. I thought it was more of a formality, which is basically what he told me as well. After later learning about the REQUIRED need to have a permit I wonder what my options are.

He build a 12x18' gabled screened in porch on top of a deck a 14x20' just outside the porch. Both are about 8" off the ground on 6x6" footers.

I have email from him stating that a permit is not needed and that he guaranteed everything is built to code. He is insured but not licensed (does work < $30k). If it was just the deck, then I take my chances w/o permits after what I've read recently. However, the porch concerns me since it is roofed and attached to the house.

What made me start researching codes and later permits is that I think the headers in the porch were done wrong. The upright supports are 6x6x8' spaced 4.5' O.C. All they did was put two top plates (2x6") laid flat rather then on building a true header beam.

The headers I could have someone fix or make him fix it. The bigger issue for me is the permit. Should try to get the permit now and pay fines plus potentially have the whole project ripped up? Or should I just fix the header and put the porch ceiling up and pray?

Oh and yes, I know that I am a fool.

Dave

KUIPORNG 06-11-2007 02:48 PM

To be honest.... since you already done it... it really not much points to apply now... I do think you need to fix it the way the code said for your own safety though... I know many people will be disagree with me... unless you are really wealth... this is what people normally do I believe...

joeyboy 06-11-2007 03:05 PM

Just a question on this topic - say it wasn't built to code, and no permits pulled. What if it collapsed and people were injured? Would you be liable? The builder?

KUIPORNG 06-11-2007 04:17 PM

Well... I would think it would be unfortunately, the home owner... if anyone decide to sue...but then the home owner can then sue the builder if he still around...etc... then it will be up to the judge what to do... but anything like that happened is considered a disaster to the HO anyway... well pulling permit will sure give peace of mind like that...

KUIPORNG 06-11-2007 04:25 PM

but then.... I think you may have another option, as I did apply permit before.... what you can do is do not tell the department you already built the structure... apply the permit like you have not done it yet... they normally won't visit you to check if you have already start building etc... everything is on paper.... once they approved your design. you then ask them to come to check your finish product.... then they may ask you to do some correction if necessary..etc.etc... but then you should anyway if you didn't follow the code... but then you are free from any fine and you have your permit...etc..etc... well.. if you don't tell them anything... this does not mean lie anyway... I actually started working on the basement before they gave me the permit...

warnerww 06-11-2007 05:31 PM

If you went to the building department with your contractors statement that no permit was require I would be highly surprised if they fined you a dime. If this is something that will eat at you and keep you from sleeping I would go down to the inspectors office and be frank and honest. Most of those guys are quite understanding. They are there to protect you the homeowner and keep the contractors on track.

AtlanticWBConst. 06-11-2007 06:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by warnerww (Post 48669)
If you went to the building department with your contractors statement that no permit was require I would be highly surprised if they fined you a dime. If this is something that will eat at you and keep you from sleeping I would go down to the inspectors office and be frank and honest. Most of those guys are quite understanding. They are there to protect you the homeowner and keep the contractors on track.

Yep...

jokiddjr 06-12-2007 07:51 AM

After looking at the county website it looks like the penalty is paying twice the normal permit and inspection fees.

This is not what scares me. I'm afraid they will rip it all up since the footers are already in. The inside of the porch is not finished (no ceiling is up), so they can see the framing and how it is tied to the house.

Is there a way they can inspect the footers w/o making me take it all down? I know each inspecter and county are different, but do they generally make you start from scratch?

NateHanson 06-12-2007 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jokiddjr (Post 48638)
I have email from him stating that a permit is not needed and that he guaranteed everything is built to code.


So he has agreed in writing to build to code for you. Point out to him the things you don't think are to code. Ask him to fix it. If he disputes it, or doesn't want to fix it, get the inspector involved.

The trick is going to keep things friendly enough that the builder doesn't bolt on you.

I think the Code folks at your town will be helpful to you. The builder is in the wrong.

Good luck.

KUIPORNG 06-12-2007 11:47 AM

if the builder is not licensed, I do not know how the inspector can punish him or make him fix it even he did some advice wrong..... though... but I do agree... the inspector will probably try to help you rather than punish you.... he won't ask you to tear down the structure for the sake of the punishement... but if it need to tear down if it is the only way to fix it... I don't think the inspector will hesitate on doing so either.... I think you probably will end up absorbing the cost of fixing it... at least in the beginning .... you can then sue the builder for damage as a separate case ... nothing to do with the inspector....

AtlanticWBConst. 06-12-2007 07:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NateHanson (Post 48738)
So he has agreed in writing to build to code for you......The builder is in the wrong.

"Building to code" also means pulling the proper building permits.....per code requirements....

I don't trust the guy at all....

warnerww 06-12-2007 09:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. (Post 48815)
"Building to code" also means pulling the proper building permits.....per code requirements....

I don't trust the guy at all....

If a builder says no permit is needed a home owner should run away as fast as they can. Those are the guys that seem to have the cheap bid. Gee I wonder why that is.

Ron6519 06-12-2007 11:43 PM

If you're concerned about the structure being built correctly, there are a number of ways to check it out. Call in a licensed contractor and ask him. If it's not, have him fix it to code. You can call in a structural engineer for his appraisal of the structure. Once you either know it's correct or have it fixed, then go get the permit with the explanation of how the original contractor told you it didn't need one.
Ron

RippySkippy 06-13-2007 07:14 AM

Have you made the final payment? If not, do as warnerww said, be frank and honest and if there's a fine, it's NOT your responsibility, it's the contractors. If there's inspections to be done, your contractor needs to deal with the permitting/code office.

What does your contract say, you did have a contract didn't you?

KUI****G: Not all offices are as you say. Ours for example does a site inspection BEFORE construction can begin, and of course several milestone inspections during construction. Being honest and upfront is a better way to go.

jokiddjr 06-13-2007 09:12 AM

Thanks for all of the advice. I wish I had researched this ahead of time. The other sign that should have turned me off was that he wanted to get it done quickly (4 days after we signed the contract).

RippySkippy: The final payment has been paid. I did have a contract but it does not mention code in the contract. He guaranteed the code in an email and that all of his workers (2 other than him) knew the code and would abide by it.

I think I'm going to take Ron's advice and get a license contractor to look at it. I'll ask the contractor to let me know if he thinks the whole thing will need to be taken up in order to inspect the footers and/or floor joists.

If the contractor doesn't think it will pass and can't fix it w/o redoing everything, then I wonder if I should keep it up until I try to sell my house? When/If I try to sell my house, I could just rip it down, or then ask the county to come and inspect. I spent $13k on the porch and a lot of time painting and staining. I would hate to lose all of that plus fines one month after the porch is up.

Either way, I will update this thread after the contractor looks at it.

Thanks again


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