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Old 01-25-2010, 02:02 PM   #1
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


called the township, asked them about permits, if I needed one for my project, etc... the lady got snippy with me when I said I would be dividing a room and she comes back with "you cant have a bedroom in the basement!" after I told her it was a craft room and a storage room... told her its not a bedroom, then 3 minutes of her rambling on about why I can't have a bedroom in the basment... about to pull my hair out... she comes back with "if you are just dividing a room this is an addition you need a permit... talk to this guy (gives me a number)" thought ok... called him thinking how is this an addition if its existing space... he tells me I dont need a permit for anything except additions! thought this is odd doesnt electrical and HVAC need inspected and permited? sent me to the local inspector to talk to him about permit questions and the inspector now contradicts the other two about permits...... ugh *rips out hair*


sorry, just needed to vent.... anyone else have issues like this?

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Old 01-25-2010, 02:42 PM   #2
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


OHHHHHHH yeah..... don't get me started......

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Old 01-25-2010, 03:04 PM   #3
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


One of the problems is that just calling it a "craft" room and then switching it to a bedroom changes the code requirements, especially for egress windows. Code officials have seen the promise of use many, many times before.

One thing you should consider is that when you go to sell and claim it is bedroom, any sharp realtor or financing company will spot that the space is not permitted and the area will not be included in the appraisal as a bedroom and the home may be listed with one less bedroom, reducing the appraised value and limits the financing available and number of available potential purchasers.

If you think this could even be used as a bedroom in the future, definitely get a permit to make it legal so you are "grandfathered" in under the current code with a legal structure and not risk a future loss and hassle as the code requirements change.

Dick

Tax assessors usually look at the exterior if an addition is listed and if the footprint is not changed, they may not come inside. Any tax increase might just be the additional cost estimated on the permit application if it reasonable for interior finishing. - Not all jurisdictions are the same, so there are different applications locally.

You be better off going into the office and talking to someone, unless you have other things you are afraid of and the inspector (who works for you if you have a permit) can be a constructive help if treated decently, since they do not want problems or disputes.
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:15 PM   #4
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


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Originally Posted by concretemasonry View Post
One of the problems is that just calling it a "craft" room and then switching it to a bedroom changes the code requirements, especially for egress windows. Code officials have seen the promise of use many, many times before.

One thing you should consider is that when you go to sell and claim it is bedroom, any sharp realtor or financing company will spot that the space is not permitted and the area will not be included in the appraisal as a bedroom and the home may be listed with one less bedroom, reducing the appraised value and limits the financing available and number of available potential purchasers.

If you think this could even be used as a bedroom in the future, definitely get a permit to make it legal so you are "grandfathered" in under the current code with a legal structure and not risk a future loss and hassle as the code requirements change.

Dick

Tax assessors usually look at the exterior if an addition is listed and if the footprint is not changed, they may not come inside. Any tax increase might just be the additional cost estimated on the permit application if it reasonable for interior finishing. - Not all jurisdictions are the same, so there are different applications locally.

You be better off going into the office and talking to someone, unless you have other things you are afraid of and the inspector (who works for you if you have a permit) can be a constructive help if treated decently, since they do not want problems or disputes.
What I am affraid of right now is the fact that or local inspector told me our house was built when PA didn't have code requirements (it's only 13yrs old!) that scares me *LOL* he said all that was required to be checked at the time was the service panel and roughed in electric... I'd hate to start something just to find a major issue.... that I then have to bring up to code... thats what scares me hehe
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:37 AM   #5
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


PA only adopted the Uniform Construction Code in 1999, so I'm not surprised. But, if you apply for a permit to create another room within a space, they can only hold you to making that room and any work done to create it meet current code. If, for example, you decided to create a bedroom in that space and there is an existing deficiency in the plumbing to a bathroom, they cannot make you bring the plumbing up to code unless it will be affected by your project. There is a section in the code that specifically protects existing structures from upgrade. The only exception would be if your municipality opted to delete that section from the code when they adopted it. I've run into the same hassles. The zoning department doesn't know what's required by the building code department, who hasn't got a clue what the sewer enforcement people require. And round and round it goes.
http://www.icopd.com/dev/uccpermits.php

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Old 01-26-2010, 10:45 AM   #6
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


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What I am affraid of right now is the fact that or local inspector told me our house was built when PA didn't have code requirements (it's only 13yrs old!) that scares me *LOL* he said all that was required to be checked at the time was the service panel and roughed in electric... I'd hate to start something just to find a major issue.... that I then have to bring up to code... thats what scares me hehe
I wonder if my 1900's farmhouse is up to PA code
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:56 PM   #7
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


I ran into the same thing. Everything I could find on line suggested I needed a permit to finish my basement. I called the permit office and they told me that unless I was building an addition or my project involved a structural change (ie- load bearing wall or foundation) I didn't need a permit. So, I am going to do the project without a permit. I still plan on keeping everything within code but am saving a couple of bucks by not purchasing the permit.
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:32 PM   #8
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


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Originally Posted by mcwolfe6 View Post
I ran into the same thing. Everything I could find on line suggested I needed a permit to finish my basement. I called the permit office and they told me that unless I was building an addition or my project involved a structural change (ie- load bearing wall or foundation) I didn't need a permit. So, I am going to do the project without a permit. I still plan on keeping everything within code but am saving a couple of bucks by not purchasing the permit.
Yeah, thats pretty much what I had happen too.. online always said you need a permit even to remodel... well I got the code inspector to say it in writing that I do not need one... so I'd hope if it came to it and someone said where is your permit, I can say hey our code inspector said no permit needed here's his word in writing...
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Old 02-03-2010, 11:04 PM   #9
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


Glad you got it in writing, smart move.

Shame on your city for not requiring a permit and inspections on the additions of walls within a dwelling! The framing and electrical are required to be permitted and inspected by the International Residential Code, which is the dominant code throughout the US.

As a building official I commend you for trying to do it right and contacting the city to determine what they want to permit and what they don't. The lady on the phone probably runs off a lot of people from doing the same thing, and who knows what sort of scary work gets done in your area without any oversight. They should welcome such calls with open arms and go out of their way to be informative and helpful. People like that make us look bad.
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:32 AM   #10
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


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Glad you got it in writing, smart move.

Shame on your city for not requiring a permit and inspections on the additions of walls within a dwelling! The framing and electrical are required to be permitted and inspected by the International Residential Code, which is the dominant code throughout the US.

As a building official I commend you for trying to do it right and contacting the city to determine what they want to permit and what they don't. The lady on the phone probably runs off a lot of people from doing the same thing, and who knows what sort of scary work gets done in your area without any oversight. They should welcome such calls with open arms and go out of their way to be informative and helpful. People like that make us look bad.
I wish they'd just put up the darn requirements online...... gawd...we have a whole county wide planning and development site but there is no requirements listed for permits, just contact the township basically..... then we have a multi county constructon site which has a link to a permit PDF but its a "file not found" error..... ugh comon people put the info in the public
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:05 PM   #11
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


personally i think something as simple as this can be done both right and without a permit. but now-a-days the 2006IRC makes it essentially illegal to open an electrical outlet without getting a permit. the woman behind the counter obviously didn't know what she was talking about. trust me, do all you can now, the codes get worse every three years and california just passed a new code that will be piggy-backing to the 06-09 IBC and IRC and then the rest of the country soon. it's called the International Code Council Green Building Code.
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:08 PM   #12
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


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personally i think something as simple as this can be done both right and without a permit. but now-a-days the 2006IRC makes it essentially illegal to open an electrical outlet without getting a permit. the woman behind the counter obviously didn't know what she was talking about. trust me, do all you can now, the codes get worse every three years and california just passed a new code that will be piggy-backing to the 06-09 IBC and IRC and then the rest of the country soon. it's called the International Code Council Green Building Code.

well if the lady behind the counter doesn't know then the code inspector obviously doesn't know either because he said no permit except for additions or replacing major electrical like a new service panel....

see why I am so confused? I am almost ready to get a permit just because.....
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:31 PM   #13
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


well, nobody knows what's going on anymore.....just remember this...."it's easier to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission".

i bought an old house and gutted it. i re-plumbed every inch, i tore out all the knob-n-tube wiring and rewired the entire house myself, built my own kitchen cabinets and installed them, plumbed gas pipe, gutted a bathroom, all without a permit. then i got the house's electric inspected by an electrician and he said it's perfectly up to code. all it took was buying a book on home wiring.

personally i feel a permit doesn't make you any safer or less safe so i don't believe in them. if someone educates themselves of the possible problems and pitfalls of remodeling, one of the best things to do is hire a contractor as a consultant for things they may be unsure of. i don't want to push doing something illegal, i just don't care for the system that requires the same building permit requirements for moving a wall in my basement as it does for creating a 5000 sf building. good luck
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:41 PM   #14
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


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.....just remember this...."it's easier to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission".
One of the worst pieces of advice I've seen given online in a long, long time.

personally i feel a permit doesn't make you any safer or less safe so i don't believe in them.
Fair enough, that's your choice to make. But the law is the law, and breaking it is a choice some people do make.

if someone educates themselves of the possible problems and pi tfalls of remodeling, one of the best things to do is hire a contractor as a consultant for things they may be unsure of.
Any contractor that is willing to be a paid consultant on a job that is being done illegally is more than likely a hack. Anyone can call themself a contractor, nearly anyone can pass most contractor licensing exams. Not anyone can walk into a house and be able to accurately determine if every system in that home is correct and safe. Many contractors are very reliant on their subcontractors to do compliant work because they're not an expert in all trades.

i don't want to push doing something illegal...
Yet you obviously advocate for doing something illegal (and ignorant) and cite your own project as an example.

i just don't care for the system that requires the same building permit requirements for moving a wall in my basement as it does for creating a 5000 sf building.
Again, demonstrating ignorance of the permitting process. Where I work, moving that wall would be a <$50 permit. That 5000 square foot house would cost a few thousand. Not the same permit, not the same inspections, not the same process. Municipalities vary, but I feel confident saying that the same holds fairly true in most places.
Good luck selling that gutted/remodeled house without any sort of permit record. I'm sure the new buyers and their lender will have total faith in your abilities based on your word.
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:51 PM   #15
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can't get a straight answer on permit...


20 yrs ado when my wife and i started our first remodel we had one inspector for the whole county. i asked him if i needed a permit for something small and he said thats why its called a _BUILDING permit. nuf said

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