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Old 10-13-2010, 04:05 PM   #1
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Problems with not pulling permit - down the road?


We finished our basement without a permit 5 years ago. Now I am installing a sprinkler system and went with the permit because it was obvious front yard work. Now the plumbing inspector needs to inspect the main connection in the basement of the house.

I don't know what the chances are that the plumbing inspector would be a jerk enough to go back and check if there had been a construction permit but if he does do something like that... what typically might I be faced with from village hall... fines (one time or multiple until the work is checked and approved), liens, etc? I know that a specific answer depends on many things but from others experience, I'd like to know some likely worst case scenarios I should be prepared for.

Thanks.

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Old 10-13-2010, 04:27 PM   #2
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Problems with not pulling permit - down the road?


Ruthless clean up and organization of your work space. Make it as easy for the inspector as possible. Be happy and beam out the vibe that you really appreciate their expertise and supervision so the job is done right.

Do all that, and there is a good chance they'll peek in the basement and split. They are busy, and probably don't like to make work for themselves.

But if crap happens the loudest screaming will happen if:

you altered the structure or made it impossible for them tell if you altered the structure

wiring

gas lines

sanitary sewer

ingress/egress

they probably won't scream as loud about drywall

If you apologize profusely and simply ask what you can do to make it right, there is decent chance they'll assess a fine and ask you for professional inspections. But its a LOT cheaper than being an ass and having them use their biggest clubs, whatever they might be. My advice.... smile and do whatever it takes to get it over with as fast as possible so its behind you. anxiety is expensive.

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Old 10-13-2010, 04:30 PM   #3
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Problems with not pulling permit - down the road?


Quote:
Originally Posted by feign3 View Post


I don't know what the chances are that the plumbing inspector would be a jerk enough to go back and check if there had been a construction permit
Why would he be a jerk?That's like someone calling you a jerk for not getting permits. He probably will since the basement is finished. How come you didn't get permits to finish the basement.
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:06 PM   #4
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Problems with not pulling permit - down the road?


Steve.... thanks for the answer. My thoughts exactly.... greet him with a smile, make nice-nice and hope he only cares about what the pipe looks like.

Joe... in fact, me avoiding a permit DOES make me a jerk. I make no bones about the fact that I avoided a permit for the very reason that (my guess) 75% of DIY homeowners dont get permits for their basement (whatever those reasons might be... cost... red tape...etc). That doesn't make it right and I don't blame anyone but myself if I get in trouble. But let it be known that EVERY contractor I have ever dealt with (8+ very qualified and professional individuals like yourself, many of which I still have trusting relationships with) advised against a permit as well - for the reasons listed above.

- Jerk is as jerk does
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:12 PM   #5
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Problems with not pulling permit - down the road?


"Jerk is as jerk does"

that's cute, I like that
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:28 PM   #6
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Problems with not pulling permit - down the road?


My guess is, unless this inspector has been in the house before, he will walk in, check the pipe and then leave.

Most inspectors will NOT take the time to go back and look if you pulled a permit for a job that was done 5 years ago. This is at least my experience. They are most concerned about checking the work you pulled a permit for NOT trying to bag people for other stuff.

Now, if you have something that is WRONG right in front of his face that will throw up red flags.

Either way good luck, act normal like nothing happened.
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:47 PM   #7
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Problems with not pulling permit - down the road?


Quote:
Originally Posted by feign3 View Post
75% of DIY homeowners dont get permits for their basement
That should be a sticky on this forum.........
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:56 PM   #8
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Problems with not pulling permit - down the road?


ok, depending on what you did in the basement and what the guy sees, the fact you didn't get it inspected might stand out like a sore thumb. Things like ceiling height and properly designed electrical systems tend to jump out at inspectors.

what happens if you get caught?

that depends. Many places I deal with charge a double permit fee and require inspections. If the install is to code, you might have to do some demo so it can be inspected.

If it does not meet code, you will likely be required to raze the new work.

On top of that, if/when you go to sell the house, the lack of permit could easily cause the loss of a sale. A buyer does not want to buy your problems.
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:17 PM   #9
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Problems with not pulling permit - down the road?


They are really lax about permits in my county. My next door neighbor built a a second floor addition that is now serving as a full service apartment with no permit and there were no consequences for him when the code enforcement officer did find out other than he was made to pay for a permit after the fact. I don't know if there were inspections but I doubt it.

I had an electrician just today install a new 200 amp service, meter and junction box. He needed to pay an inspection fee and an inspection will follow. There was a NYSEG field supervisor and a tech here to turn the power off then on after the install. I asked the supervisor and the electrician I hired what I should do about installing an underground service and subpanel to my garage. They both told me to just do it. NYSEG doesn't care about anything beyond my main junction box as long as it isn't going to another residence.

This seems to be a common thread around here. No one it seems wants to deal with permits for homeowners.
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:37 PM   #10
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Problems with not pulling permit - down the road?


I won't disagree that it doesn't happen but I have seen a house that cost the owner quite a bit of money after the remod was discovered. I used to sell real estate and know for a fact a non-permitted addition caused the loss of a sale.


It's a gamble and since I do not know where the OP is or even if I did, how they would react, I simply posted what can happen.

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