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Old 11-14-2008, 08:16 PM   #16
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Problem with building inspector. Please help.


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Originally Posted by buletbob View Post
when ever I remodel bathrooms I have to pull a plumbing permit not a building permit,that could be why they stated no structural changes, but the plumbing still has to be inspected. BOB
Oh this guy is definitely retaliating against me. He talked to another of his buddies and he went down today and filed for a permit and got one for a roof. Is it him or the whole office? I am paranoid now.

What is the cheapest, fastest, most efficient way for me to get my bathroom done? If I complain, can he make it much worse than he already is?

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Old 11-14-2008, 08:34 PM   #17
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Using terms like "retaliation" and "talking to his buddies" mean nothing. That is just a personal opinion which goes nowhere in the civilized world.

Once you jump in and try to take controll, you are becoming the responsible party (owner AND contractor) and are resposible for what was done (by anyone) earlier and all future actions.

When you called the inspector a "jerk", you lost any connection with a possible source of benefits. I would imagine he will be happy if you inherit another inspector that may not really care and will welcome the challenge.

In hind site, if you had started out properly with drawings and a permit, you probably would not have had the confrontation you could not handle and the inspector could have lead you through the minor problems instead of making his job impossible.

I am not a fan of the "out of work" tradesman being an inspector, but at least they have some experience and practical knowledge. A general contractor gone bust might be better in ticklish situations because they know how to handle "customers".

Most inspectors are just handed jobs and have to go through the enforcement process reasonably no matter who the owner/contractor is unless problems are created in advance. Not getting a permit where required, is a red flag for neighbors and inspectors.
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:45 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by concretemasonry View Post
Using terms like "retaliation" and "talking to his buddies" mean nothing. That is just a personal opinion which goes nowhere in the civilized world.

Once you jump in and try to take controll, you are becoming the responsible party (owner AND contractor) and are resposible for what was done (by anyone) earlier and all future actions.

When you called the inspector a "jerk", you lost any connection with a possible source of benefits. I would imagine he will be happy if you inherit another inspector that may not really care and will welcome the challenge.

In hind site, if you had started out properly with drawings and a permit, you probably would not have had the confrontation you could not handle and the inspector could have lead you through the minor problems instead of making his job impossible.

I am not a fan of the "out of work" tradesman being an inspector, but at least they have some experience and practical knowledge. A general contractor gone bust might be better in ticklish situations because they know how to handle "customers".

Most inspectors are just handed jobs and have to go through the enforcement process reasonably no matter who the owner/contractor is unless problems are created in advance. Not getting a permit where required, is a red flag for neighbors and inspectors.
Hindsight is 20/20 but he acted like a jerk well before I called him one. It wasn't like he wasn't acting inapproproately but I do regret doing it. The problem is if I asked for a permit(which I should have done) they would probably have never asked for drawings and we would have had it the same day. It's all speculation.

I just feel like something is going on to draw the whole process on. How long is reasonable for permits to get done? Really?
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:03 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by troach View Post
I just feel like something is going on to draw the whole process on. How long is reasonable for permits to get done? Really?
We have a saying for dealing with situations like the one you've put yourself in...
"An emergency on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part."

Once you turn in a completed application and plans, most jurisdictions will turn around a plan review, code check, and permit in less than a week. I can guarantee that the fact that you were doing work illegally puts you at the back of the line.

Understand that I don't agree with the way the guy acted toward you. I wouldn't have been your best friend for sure, but I would have been completely professional with you. I get the feeling that you are so convinced that you are a victim that you cannot take a step back and put any blame on your own shoulders for the situation that you're in. Chalk it up to experience and lessons learned. You'll get very little sympathy from reasonable DIYers and contractors when you get caught breaking the rules.
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Old 11-15-2008, 07:04 AM   #20
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We have a saying for dealing with situations like the one you've put yourself in...
"An emergency on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part."

Once you turn in a completed application and plans, most jurisdictions will turn around a plan review, code check, and permit in less than a week. I can guarantee that the fact that you were doing work illegally puts you at the back of the line.

Understand that I don't agree with the way the guy acted toward you. I wouldn't have been your best friend for sure, but I would have been completely professional with you. I get the feeling that you are so convinced that you are a victim that you cannot take a step back and put any blame on your own shoulders for the situation that you're in. Chalk it up to experience and lessons learned. You'll get very little sympathy from reasonable DIYers and contractors when you get caught breaking the rules.
Thanks for your feedback. I said I was wrong in calling him a jerk and I just didn't know.

PA state law says that as long as you request a permit within 3 Days of emergency work started, you should be fine (which was done).

I'll go down and make a complaint Monday morning and I'll mention at which point I called him a jerk (which was way after his unprofessional condescending attitude was exerted at me). The guy was overreacting bigtime but that didn't make it right.

Last edited by troach; 11-15-2008 at 07:06 AM.
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Old 11-15-2008, 07:10 AM   #21
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For others experiencing issues, here is what I found in respect to PA.

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I'm a Pennsylvania Certified Building Code Official and can tell you with all certainty that residential alterations and repairs are exempt from permit and excluded from compliance with the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code.

The only exception is, however, if your local municipality had local ordinances that regulated residential alterations and repairs that pre-date the adoption of the statewide Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (PAUCC) in April of 2004, they CAN require permits for the type of work you are having done.

You can find out whether your municipality has local amendmended the PAUCC to regulate residential alterations and repairs by looking up your muncipality on the Pa Department of Labor and Industry website here:

http://www.dli.state.pa.us/landi/lib/landi/bois/asb_lead_ucc_updates/uccmun.htm

If your municipality listed does not show 'amendments', then no permit is required for the work you are doing.

If your muncipality does list 'amendments' then it is possible that a building permit is required for the work being done.

By law, once you submit your permit application for the work being done, it must be approved or rejected by the local building code official within 15 business days, or the permit is deemed APPROVED.


Complaints about unprofessional and rude behavior by a Building Code Official should be addressed to your local municipal council. They are usually happy to assist in resolving such complaints and happy to known when their hired or contract inspectors and code officials are not doing their jobs properly.

Pennsylvania Law permits emergency repairs to proceed without a permit provided that the contractor or building owner applies for a permit within 3 business days of the emergency repair work.
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Old 11-15-2008, 08:32 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by troach View Post
PA state law says that as long as you request a permit within 3 Days of emergency work started, you should be fine (which was done).
Get ready to hear that a bathroom remodel is not considered emergency work. A tree on your roof, a broken air conditioner on a 95 degree day, and a basement full of poo due to a plumbing backup are all examples of emergency situations where chapter one of the International Code and most municipalities will allow work to begin up to 24 hours before a permit is secured.
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Old 11-15-2008, 08:43 AM   #23
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You never mentioned if your contractor is licensed or not. I would think he would have better luck pushing the permit threw since you and the inspecter aren't on good terms. Also do you have a contract with the contractor? If you do i would check for a clause that says "homeowner responsible for permits", if it doesn't say that and you are paying him to be the contractor i believe it would be his job to pull the permits.
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Old 11-15-2008, 08:55 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by ponch37300 View Post
You never mentioned if your contractor is licensed or not. I would think he would have better luck pushing the permit threw since you and the inspecter aren't on good terms. Also do you have a contract with the contractor? If you do i would check for a clause that says "homeowner responsible for permits", if it doesn't say that and you are paying him to be the contractor i believe it would be his job to pull the permits.
He is licensed and it says that. I can't seem to find an amendment locally that says I need a permit. According to state law I don't need one for what I am doing. Even the contractor seems baffled. We are going to go down on Monday.

Also, this is PA statelaw. Termite keeps giving me the law where he is and I appreciate it but that is where he lives.

Also, the emergency it may or may not be. I had water leaking behind the tub. Take that for what it's worth. He pulled it out in an emergency and saw there wasn't really any damage. But I am without a bathroom.

Like most people say, it may not be worth it for them to fight it. I am just going to raise the issue on Monday. As long as you apply for a permit within 3 days of emergency work, you should be ok, but then again, we didn't think we needed a permit, he told us we did, so we applied for it. He (the inspector) can let it sit there all he wants but I will raise it on Monday. I have a PA code inspector from another jurisdiction assisting me and making me aware of the laws which is helping.

I will also bring up his behavior on Monday as being totally unprofessional, mention what he said, that I called him a jerk in a heated exchange, and how his attitude changed towards a male person. He was very condescending towards me and talked down to me (way before I called him a jerk). He was very irrational and when I asked him where to go for the permit he said, "I DON'T KNOW". That is probably what made me snap and call him a jerk (yes I was wrong to do that), but like I said, he just kept piling it on. He really was a jerk.

Last edited by troach; 11-15-2008 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:02 AM   #25
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I'll just say good luck. And for future reference one phone call to the building department would eliminate all this mess. Anytime i do work i call and tell them what i'm doing and they tell me if i need a permit. They may be in the wrong by being on a power trip but just remember that it was your responsibility as the home owner to know this or hire someone that knows this so you are not the victim.

Thekctermite is stated international code, IBC, while every state and city can make admendments this is the universal building codes.

Last edited by ponch37300; 11-15-2008 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:00 AM   #26
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I'm telling you what the code says, not what the law is where I'm at. If your municipality has adopted the International Residential Code...Which the vast majority of the country has...What I'm telling you is the gospel, because it is written right in the adminstrative chapter of the code. In most instances, whatever code or code-related laws the state has adopted is not applicable on jobs within jurisdictions that adopt their own code.

I'd suggest a trip to the local library to read chapter one of the IRC before you continue down the path of trying to beat the city at their own game. I guarantee they know their laws and codes better than you do, and they're adept at dealing with people that put themselves in this situation and then want everyone to bend over backwards for them.
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:28 AM   #27
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I'm telling you what the code says, not what the law is where I'm at. If your municipality has adopted the International Residential Code...Which the vast majority of the country has...What I'm telling you is the gospel, because it is written right in the adminstrative chapter of the code. In most instances, whatever code or code-related laws the state has adopted is not applicable on jobs within jurisdictions that adopt their own code.

I'd suggest a trip to the local library to read chapter one of the IRC before you continue down the path of trying to beat the city at their own game. I guarantee they know their laws and codes better than you do, and they're adept at dealing with people that put themselves in this situation and then want everyone to bend over backwards for them.
So you are saying there is no chance that this guy is out of line or they could be wrong? You said you "Guarantee they know".

This guy said it is state law. Unless they had an amendment added (which I don't see but I will check on Monday) then I shouldn't need a permit. I mean. There has to be a chance they could be wrong. I just want my bathroom done, that's all. I don't want a fight or anything like that. They seem to be the one picking the fight (this inspector specifically).

Last edited by troach; 11-15-2008 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:33 AM   #28
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i too have had my share of good and bad inspectors. a couple quotes that comes to mind are-- "looks like i'm going to have to fight you with every nail you put in every board here" and "can't you just find a contractor willing to fix this mess for as cheap as you want?" i always check for permit necessity though. most of the guys i deal with are great! polite, helpful and professional. i treat them with respect and they mostly treat me the same. permits are there to protect you from any possible mistakes you or contractors might make and end up with a safety issue! so always get the needed permits and make sure the inspector does HIS/HER job properly too! having the contractor there for the inspection is advisable. kc makes some valid points on this one.

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Old 11-15-2008, 10:56 AM   #29
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So you are saying there is no chance that this guy is out of line or they could be wrong?
Oh he is out of line the way he talked to you. If anyone ever talked to my wife like that on my property he would be leaving in a body bag. No one would ever come on to my property and talk to my wife that way and survive.

Whether or not he is correct on the permit thing is something that is up for debate and I have no dog in this fight. If he came and had a nice chat with you about it and took the attitude that he was there to enforce the law but would work with you to get you through the process then I would have felt that he was being helpful and you probably wouldn't be having this conversation.

Most of my contacts with inspectors have been good and some excellent. I had one that had a serious God complex but I made some waves with my bike riding buddy who is a city commissioner and he got things squared away. The inspector is now swinging a hammer for a living. He had way to many complaints against him.

To me, it's not the way you do things, it how you do it. You can be a marginal inspector but if everyone speaks highly of you because of your people skills then you will always have a job.

Your inspector has a serious lack of people skills.
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:59 AM   #30
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Oh he is out of line the way he talked to you. If anyone ever talked to my wife like that on my property he would be leaving in a body bag. No one would ever come on to my property and talk to my wife that way and survive.

Whether or not he is correct on the permit thing is something that is up for debate and I have no dog in this fight. If he came and had a nice chat with you about it and took the attitude that he was there to enforce the law but would work with you to get you through the process then I would have felt that he was being helpful and you probably wouldn't be having this conversation.

Most of my contacts with inspectors have been good and some excellent. I had one that had a serious God complex but I made some waves with my bike riding buddy who is a city commissioner and he got things squared away. The inspector is now swinging a hammer for a living. He had way to many complaints against him.

To me, it's not the way you do things, it how you do it. You can be a marginal inspector but if everyone speaks highly of you because of your people skills then you will always have a job.

Your inspector has a serious lack of people skills.
Thanks. I would never resort to violence to solve anything. I am not asking these people to "bend over backwards for me." If anything, it seems like they are asking me to do the bending over.


Last edited by troach; 11-15-2008 at 11:04 AM.
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