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Old 08-10-2011, 05:58 PM   #1
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Bathroom Permit Advice


Hello,

I'm planning to add a new bathroom to my house on the main floor (2pc or 3pc). I'm not experienced enough to do the all the work myself so I decided to get a contractor. A friend has referred me to a contractor who they are very close with and both of them have been in the property industry for over 20 years.

I was feeling pretty confident until it was suggested that I not get a permit for this bathroom because the house is older and apparently the city inspector is a complete jerk (makes things really difficult and expensive).

I thought you should always get permits... but my friend never gets them for interior work and says there won't be legal implications for this "minor" work. The existing bathroom in the house wasn't put in with a permit and in my parents house the basement was finished by the previous owners without a permit.... nothing ever happened with that.

I'm feeling uneasy about this - 1. because I'm not sure if I can trust this advice and it makes me wonder if something is being hidden 2. I don't want there to be any implications later (what could they be?).

My house is in Toronto, Ontario, if that makes a difference.

I would appreciate any thoughts on this...

Thank you

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Old 08-10-2011, 07:04 PM   #2
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Bathroom Permit Advice


You are in Toronto, and as Mike Holmes would say, get permits. You do not want to be on his next Holmes on Homes, or Holmes Inspection show.

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Old 08-10-2011, 07:15 PM   #3
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Bathroom Permit Advice


I have no idea what the rules are in Canada. In the US, failure to pull a permit for something as major as adding a bathroom can have very unpleasant side effects, for example:

1. The building inspector finds out somehow (nasty neighbor reports you) and you are on his S**T list forever, and he decides to give your house the once over twice, and finds other permit violations, and things go downhill really quickly.

2. The assessor finds out you have a new bathroom, no permit, tells the building inspector, see 1 above.

3. You go to sell the house, there are two bathrooms not shown on the assessment, and things get interesting. Especially if you are on septic. Not likely in your case.
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:23 PM   #4
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Bathroom Permit Advice


The plumbing aspect doesn't require permit???
That would be hard to believe.
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:47 PM   #5
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Bathroom Permit Advice


Plumbing Permit

A permit is generally required for proposed plumbing work in new buildings and additions/renovations to existing buildings

When is a Building Permit required?

You will need a building permit if you plan to:
  • Construct a new building
  • Any addition to an existing building
  • Structural alterations
  • Renovate, repair or add to a building
  • Demolish or remove all or a portion of a building
  • Change a building's use
  • Install, change, or remove partitions and load bearing walls
  • Make new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows
  • Build a garage, balcony or deck
  • Excavate a basement or construct a foundation
  • Install or modify heating, plumbing or air-conditioning systems
  • Install or reconstruct chimneys or fireplaces
  • An accessory structure larger than 108 sq. ft. in area
  • A deck more than 24" above ground
  • A wood burning stove/fireplace installation
  • A basement entrance
  • A Second Suite
  • New or altered plumbing
http://www.toronto.ca/building/build...s.htm#plumbing
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:19 PM   #6
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Bathroom Permit Advice


Take some time and find a real contractor.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:39 PM   #7
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Bathroom Permit Advice


Any contractor that recommends you avoid getting a permit is trying to avoid having his work inspected. Now why would that be?

I'm an inspector and I assure you that good contractors don't have any problem pulling permits because they don't have anything to hide. The code is a minimum standard, not a high standard. In my experience, contractors that avoid permits are hacks or are cutting corners. Or, they're ok contractors that are so convinced that they're perfect that there's just no chance in their mind that anyone could possibly find fault in their work, or they are under the dillusion that they never make mistakes. The very best in the business sometimes make mistakes! Also, in my experience, those permit-avoiding contractors will also tell their customers that I'm a jerk and will make them tear their house down, move out, cost them all sorts of money and essentially put other ridiculous ideas in their head to convince them that they're the type of contractor that is so good that it is silly for them to have a 3rd party advocate in their corner. If the homeowner fears this image of me that the unethical contractor paints, the homeowner will feel more comfortable with the BS that the contractor is selling and will get behind the idea of avoiding me.

If you're caught doing this sort of work there's a good chance your project will receive a stop work order until properly permitted. That could come with fines, and yes, it'll probably come with some extra scrutiny. That being said, it would be very hard for a jurisdiction to go through other parts of your existing home unaffected by the bathroom scope of work to look for code violations or interior work that has been previously done without a permit. Any reasonable politician, judge or inspector for that matter would find that sort of action mighty unreasonable and would have a hard time substantiating it with code, let alone actually proving you did it. But that doesn't mean it can't happen I guess.

Advocate for yourself and make sure your contractor does this job legally.
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:53 AM   #8
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Bathroom Permit Advice


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jade1 View Post
Hello,

I was feeling pretty confident until it was suggested that I not get a permit for this bathroom because the house is older and apparently the city inspector is a complete jerk (makes things really difficult and expensive).
Get another contractor, this guys the complete jerk.

I thought you should always get permits... but my friend never gets them for interior work and says there won't be legal implications for this "minor" work. The existing bathroom in the house wasn't put in with a permit and in my parents house the basement was finished by the previous owners without a permit.... nothing ever happened with that.
Just because no one knocked on the door when the work was being done, doesn't mean, nothing will ever happen. With the computer age, these things come up when selling the house.

I'm feeling uneasy about this - 1. because I'm not sure if I can trust this advice and it makes me wonder if something is being hidden 2. I don't want there to be any implications later (what could they be?).
Act on your instincts, not the opininio of someone with bad judgement.
My house is in Toronto, Ontario, if that makes a difference.

I would appreciate any thoughts on this...

Thank you
See the blue above.
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:37 AM   #9
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Bathroom Permit Advice


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jade1 View Post

A friend has referred me to a contractor who they are very close with and both of them have been in the property industry for over 20 years.

I was feeling pretty confident until it was suggested that I not get a permit for this bathroom because the house is older and apparently the city inspector is a complete jerk
Did the "contractor" suggest not pulling a permit or did someone else sugget not doing it? I can't tell 100% from your wording.

And using "the house is older" as an excuse isn't going to fly either.... my house is over 80 years old - by that logic I guess I could have saved some permit money on my deck and my electrical panel
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:56 AM   #10
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Bathroom Permit Advice


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jade1 View Post
Hello,

I'm planning to add a new bathroom to my house on the main floor (2pc or 3pc). I'm not experienced enough to do the all the work myself so I decided to get a contractor. A friend has referred me to a contractor who they are very close with and both of them have been in the property industry for over 20 years.

I was feeling pretty confident until it was suggested that I not get a permit for this bathroom because the house is older and apparently the city inspector is a complete jerk (makes things really difficult and expensive).

I thought you should always get permits... but my friend never gets them for interior work and says there won't be legal implications for this "minor" work. The existing bathroom in the house wasn't put in with a permit and in my parents house the basement was finished by the previous owners without a permit.... nothing ever happened with that.

I'm feeling uneasy about this - 1. because I'm not sure if I can trust this advice and it makes me wonder if something is being hidden 2. I don't want there to be any implications later (what could they be?).

My house is in Toronto, Ontario, if that makes a difference.

I would appreciate any thoughts on this...

Thank you
You probably won't have an issue unless/until you go to sell the home. Then there'll be hell to pay.

Check city code. If it requires permits (and for a bathroom, I'm thinking multiple permits might be needed), you better get them.

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