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-   -   Pergola - can you believe what the building inspector told me (http://www.diychatroom.com/f19/pergola-can-you-believe-what-building-inspector-told-me-40488/)

Italgrl 03-16-2009 09:25 PM

Pergola - can you believe what the building inspector told me
 
I talked with permitting today and to build a 15' x 8' pergola which is a more simple version of this one http://www.renovations.com.my/matahari/images/pergola_ooi.jpg I must hire an engineer and have sealed engineering plans, a soil sample "to make sure the ground can support the structure" (huh? if the ground won't support a couple of 6"x6" posts and my house is only 8 feet away...!) AND MOST RIDICULOUS OF ALL, if I do NOT attach it to the house and do NOT sink the poles it will be easier to get the permit......???????????????????

SO, the LESS secure and sturdy I make the structure, the easier the permitting?

According to building dept. here in FL, most states require a permit for anything over 30" inches tall and engineer's plans if it has any roof structure at all. How in the world is there even one pergola on the planet? The sealed engineer's plan alone will cost 2500.00.

They did say I should buy a kit (around 4-5k) rather than build it (less than 1k) myself.

Please tell me about your pergola permit experience. P.S. My HOA requires a permit or letter from building dept that I don't need a permit before granting their almighty approval.

No Roof on mine and I explained the rafters to the guy but apparently if I drape a bath towel across the top...I have a roof and need a permit.

Scuba_Dave 03-16-2009 09:48 PM

Permit for a Pergola?
Shirley you jest :laughing:
I checked on a permit for a 12'x12' low deck for out back & was told to fugetaboutit. It was only about 16" off the ground at the back. But I did sink 8' 4x4's at each corner to hang pool stuff from. Same deal with a small deck around my hot tub, tha was over 32" off theground but very small - 4' x 10'

I was thinking frost heave would be an issue for attaching to the house, but I guess not in Florida

Pergola doesn't have a roof - just shade "rafters", are you adding one?

DecksEtc 03-16-2009 09:52 PM

I build pergolas all the time and have NEVER needed a permit. As long as the rafters aren't covered, it isn't required where I live/work.

I'd call back and ask for a different inspector.

Very odd.

Tom Struble 03-16-2009 11:34 PM

here in n.j. you need a permit for anything attached to the house

soil analysis and engineer sounds like over kill tho

OutToPasture 03-17-2009 12:39 AM

Hey Italgirl, your big mistake was telling the guy that you would put some kind of cloth on the rafters. :no: you don't tell the inspectors any more than they ask... In 20 years of running my own company I've learned, "the more you talk the more you pay". As for soil testing "8 feet" away from your house :eek: uncle sam wants his cut... You need to understand, every professional involved in your project needs to pay "tribute" to your town/city building office. And where do they get that payment? From you, of course...
Sorry for your troubles
good luck

Just Bill 03-17-2009 06:48 AM

In most metropolitan areas run by Democrats, you need a permit to change your mind. Some of it is well founded for safety, but most is simply a ploy to get money. Now that you have told them, they will be watching. As suggested, scale it back to something simpler(no covering) and try again.

Termite 03-17-2009 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Just Bill (Post 245683)
Some of it is well founded for safety, but most is simply a ploy to get money.

You think that permits and inspections are a money-making venture for the City? Uhh, no. For most cities, the costs of running the inspection department are not fully covered by the permit fees and are subsidized by tax dollars. The "they're just trying to get more money" argument holds no water. Sorry. Inspection departments are well-intended in nearly all cases.

Yes, many areas do require a permit for a pergola. That's not abnormal. Requiring soils tests and engineering seems like overkill to me, but there are jursidictions that cover their backsides pretty carefully. Florida is known for its shifty soils and high water table, so I can see that.

An engineer should cost you nowhere near $2500. You're calling the wrong engineer. If you take them some plans, many engineers will review the structure and stamp the plans for less than $400. If you want them to draw the plans then you're talking more money. Call the HBA (homebuilders association) rep in your area and ask for names of engineers that do small residential jobs.

Greg24k 03-19-2009 07:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thekctermite (Post 245792)
You think that permits and inspections are a money-making venture for the City? Uhh, no. For most cities, the costs of running the inspection department are not fully covered by the permit fees and are subsidized by tax dollars. The "they're just trying to get more money" argument holds no water. Sorry. Inspection departments are well-intended in nearly all cases.

Yes, many areas do require a permit for a pergola. That's not abnormal. Requiring soils tests and engineering seems like overkill to me, but there are jursidictions that cover their backsides pretty carefully. Florida is known for its shifty soils and high water table, so I can see that.

An engineer should cost you nowhere near $2500. You're calling the wrong engineer. If you take them some plans, many engineers will review the structure and stamp the plans for less than $400. If you want them to draw the plans then you're talking more money. Call the HBA (homebuilders association) rep in your area and ask for names of engineers that do small residential jobs.

Yes, I agree with you, some towns in NJ require soil test for decks over 500 SQFT, the reason being is they know they have been having structure failures due to soil condition.

Italgirl If you did or doing the pergola yourself, all you have to do is provide them with pergola specs and show how the structure (Posts) will be secured to the ground. There been many incidents where people got hurt and property damages been done due to improper installations. They want to inspect for your own good and believe you me, it is in your best interest.

Good luck :thumbsup:

rocketdoctor 03-19-2009 02:13 PM

City Goverment is anti building
 
Whenver possible try to get around permits the Permit department in all US cities are a bunch of lazy clowns who do anything to get in your way of building. If they do allow you to build they will put huge expensive, rediculous requirements for you to jump over.

California can solve alot of its budget crisis if it dismantled the city building deparments and allowed people to actually do improvements to their homes instead of putting HUGE roadblocks in the way.

Scuba_Dave 03-19-2009 02:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rocketdoctor (Post 246958)
Whenver possible try to get around permits the Permit department in all US cities are a bunch of lazy clowns who do anything to get in your way of building. If they do allow you to build they will put huge expensive, rediculous requirements for you to jump over.

California can solve alot of its budget crisis if it dismantled the city building deparments and allowed people to actually do improvements to their homes instead of putting HUGE roadblocks in the way.


I don't think so
My last house was a firetrap & falling apart due to the HO doing work incorrectly & un-inspected, My inspection/building Dept has been a huge resource for us. They assisted in submitting the paperwork for Conservation permit (required due to stream on property). I haven't had any huge expensive requirements, on the contrary they have helped me save $$

SR996 03-19-2009 03:44 PM

OP: Did you merely call the code enforement office and tell them of your plans? The reason I say this is that the people answering the phone will generally give you boilerplate answers. Based on my limited experience with the local building department, I would draw up a set of plans with dimensions, make an appointment, and then review my intentions with the actual inspector (depends on size of town, I guess). In my case, this discussion accomplished two things: 1) I came accross as a reaonable homeowner trying to do things correctly, and 2) Found out what "correctly" meant. A week later, I came in with finalized plans and a check, and walked out with a permit. Good luck to you.

rocketdoctor 03-19-2009 05:44 PM

It mayhelp to go to the Planning department and ask them what you can do to get around these requirements, might be just changing the size by a few feet. Also like most contractors do in our town of stupid buerocratic building requirements; do the least you have to do and then once you get the inspection signed off change or add on what you wanted originally

gma2rjc 03-19-2009 05:57 PM

Quote:

Whenver possible try to get around permits the Permit department in all US cities are a bunch of lazy clowns who do anything to get in your way of building. If they do allow you to build they will put huge expensive, rediculous requirements for you to jump over.
No offense rocketdoctor, but that's very bad advice. I got a permit to have a deck put on my house. The man who built it did an excellent job. The inspector came for the final inspection and found 2 or 3 things he wanted done. One of the things was an easy fix and made the steps a lot safer for the kids. Didn't see a clown suit on the guy and there was no jumping over ridiculous requirements. Best of all, the kids are safer than they would have been.

jaros bros. 03-19-2009 09:57 PM

I live in an area where permits and plans are needed for everything. You can't do anything without a permit or engineered plans. In my neck of the woods, what you are being asked for is standard procedure. You might be able to get a variance.

Termite 03-20-2009 12:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rocketdoctor (Post 246958)
Whenver possible try to get around permits the Permit department in all US cities are a bunch of lazy clowns who do anything to get in your way of building. If they do allow you to build they will put huge expensive, rediculous requirements for you to jump over.

California can solve alot of its budget crisis if it dismantled the city building deparments and allowed people to actually do improvements to their homes instead of putting HUGE roadblocks in the way.

What a moronic statement. If you want to spew such worthless advice and misinformation, find a forum where it is welcome.


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