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Old 03-27-2009, 12:06 PM   #1
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Doing work without a permit?


First, I know it's best to get a permit and have it checked by a professional and in no way would I ever put my family or property in jeopardy by doing work I was not comfortable doing. With that said, what's the worse case scenario for doing work without a permit and getting busted? The reason I ask is it seems my town requires permits for any electrical and plumbing work and permits can only be pulled by a certified electrician or plumber.

So that means I can't do anything in my houses, if I want to change a light switch or install new lighting I have to pay an electrician to come in and do it? Garbage. So, needless to say I'm not going to pay the ridiculous rates they charge around here to fix some switches or install a new light so what would happen if I just do the work myself? Besides fines and such what if something goes wrong and damage is done, from what the home inspector told me insurance still has to pay it. Is this true?

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Old 03-27-2009, 12:18 PM   #2
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Doing work without a permit?


Worst case is they make you rip it all out & hire someone to do it
They can also fine you, watch over you for any future improvements
Re-assess your house & inspect on a regular basis for assesment
And it may be that electricians will not touch the job
One poster on here has already had this problem

Inspector found out, he has to pull permits
He can't pull the electrical permit & can't find an electrican that will pull the permit & complete the work

If insurance can prove the work was done illegally they can refuse to pay any claim based on problems arising from your work. Not sure how often that happens

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Old 03-27-2009, 12:22 PM   #3
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Doing work without a permit?


Best thing you can do is support local candidates who will change the city ordinances to allow homeowners to do their own work. The money you spend on their campaign you will get back when you don't have to hire an electrician for routine stuff.

In the meanwhile do it right and you can't go wrong. But do investigate whether replacing a bad switch requires a permit. I'm having trouble believing that.
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:14 PM   #4
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Doing work without a permit?


A permit to change out devices??? That's absurd.....
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:21 PM   #5
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Doing work without a permit?


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Originally Posted by bjbatlanta View Post
A permit to change out devices??? That's absurd.....
And 100% required by the NEC and IRC codes. You'd be SHOCKED how many electricians can't properly and safely install switches and light fixtures...Let alone DIYers that have too much faith in their own abilities.
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Old 03-27-2009, 01:41 PM   #6
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Doing work without a permit?


And I must admit to "having the sparks fly" a time or two myself.....(changing a switch with the power on).
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Old 03-29-2009, 02:57 PM   #7
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Doing work without a permit?


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
And 100% required by the NEC and IRC codes. You'd be SHOCKED how many electricians can't properly and safely install switches and light fixtures...Let alone DIYers that have too much faith in their own abilities.
You'd be shocked at how many DIYers are more competent than the so called pro's!

Legislation disallowing a home owner from pulling a permit, is ultimately self defeating!
This type of legislation is the result of lobbying by self serving interests.
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Old 03-29-2009, 03:01 PM   #8
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Doing work without a permit?


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Originally Posted by Wildie View Post
You'd be shocked at how many DIYers are more competent than the so called pro's!

Legislation disallowing a home owner from pulling a permit, is ultimately self defeating!
This type of legislation is the result of lobbying by self serving interests.

Ayuh,... Exactly...

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Old 03-29-2009, 04:00 PM   #9
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Doing work without a permit?


Rewiring an addition or basement is one thing. Changing devices from ivory to white (changing a fixture) is another. The inspection for this type of work is kind of pointless even when permitted and done by a licensed electrician. (They can make mistakes too.) An $8.00 an hour helper could be doing much of the work and the licensed electrician isn't going back and making sure each and every connection is properly done. (And see the kctermites's comment above regarding the abilities of even LICENSED electricians.) Inspection is done at rough-in and after devices are in and covered up with switch plates (the FINAL) at least around here. There's no "in between" with the device hooked up, hanging out of the box. The inspector has no way of knowing if the wires on the device are properly attached (screws tightened properly) without pulling each one out. I can see the "thinking" behind the argument, but in the real world it ain't gonna happen. I do respect thekctermite's stance on the issue....
And I don't make it a practice of doing electrical work on OTHER people's houses.....
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Last edited by bjbatlanta; 03-29-2009 at 04:13 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 03-29-2009, 06:48 PM   #10
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Doing work without a permit?


As a taxpayer, I'm paying the inspectors wages! Yes,permit fees may cover part of this, but not all!
As long as I a taxpayer purchase a permit, I should have just as much right to the inspectors services, as anybody else!
To prohibit me from this service is out and out scandalous!
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Old 03-29-2009, 07:09 PM   #11
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Doing work without a permit?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildie View Post
You'd be shocked at how many DIYers are more competent than the so called pro's!
Legislation disallowing a home owner from pulling a permit, is ultimately self defeating! This type of legislation is the result of lobbying by self serving interests.
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Originally Posted by Wildie View Post
As a taxpayer, I'm paying the inspectors wages! Yes,permit fees may cover part of this, but not all!
As long as I a taxpayer purchase a permit, I should have just as much right to the inspectors services, as anybody else!
To prohibit me from this service is out and out scandalous!
So do you start a fire at your house so you can be afforded the services of the Fire Dept? Cause a ruckus so the Police come out & you can feel like your tax dollars there are "earned" ?

There are many services that our tax dollars go towards that we do not "get" to use. As a young adult my taxes went towards schools. I didnlt have any kids - why should I have to pay towards that? We usually do not get a big decision in where those tax dollars go

And we are afforded the Inspectors services even if its required to hire a contractor to do the work

I do agree with you, I think it's counter-productive to refuse to allow HO to work on their property. The vast majority would simply do the work anyways. Of course lots of them do the work without even considering if they need a permit or if they should get one - "They will just raise my taxes"

Pro's are working in the clock - time counts
I take more time & double check myself. SInce I don't do it every day (usually) I like to make sure what I do is right. I also tend to put some of the $$ I save back into better materials
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Old 03-29-2009, 07:36 PM   #12
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Doing work without a permit?


This thread confuses two separate issues. One is who can pull a permit, the other is who can do the work. I happen to live in Massachusetts, and I used to teach a course on the building code. The Massachusetts Building Code is NOT the same as the NEC or the National Gas Code, however it does adopt the NEC with some additions.

Turns out that in Massachusetts, a homeowner is allowed to do their own wiring, but not their own plumbing. You need to be a licensed plumber to perform plumbing work, but not a licensed electrician to perform electrical work ON YOUR OWN HOUSE. This does not apply to working on other people's houses, you need to be licensed in the appropriate trade to do that.

So you can perform your own electrical work. This DOES NOT MEAN you can pull a permit for the work, that is a separate issue. Section 110.5 of the MA building code states in part:

Application for a permit shall be made by the owner or lessee of the building or structure, or agent of either.

The Town you live in may have a more restrictive building code, and could conceivably require an electrician to pull a building permit for electrical work, however that is not what the MA building code says.

Section 110.3 of the MA building code allows for several exceptions to the need for a building permit, including construction of a single story shed or playhouse less than 120 square feet, a fence less than 6 feet tall, certain types of retaining walls, and ordinary repairs (it is not obvious what an ordinary repair is, see 110.3.4 for a definition).

So if your building inspector agrees that replacing a light fixture, or a damaged switch, or a leaky faucet is an ordinary repair, no permit required. Additions, major demolition, structural modifications etc. are not ordinary repairs.
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:41 AM   #13
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Doing work without a permit?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
This thread confuses two separate issues. One is who can pull a permit, the other is who can do the work. I happen to live in Massachusetts, and I used to teach a course on the building code. The Massachusetts Building Code is NOT the same as the NEC or the National Gas Code, however it does adopt the NEC with some additions.

Turns out that in Massachusetts, a homeowner is allowed to do their own wiring, but not their own plumbing. You need to be a licensed plumber to perform plumbing work, but not a licensed electrician to perform electrical work ON YOUR OWN HOUSE. This does not apply to working on other people's houses, you need to be licensed in the appropriate trade to do that.

So you can perform your own electrical work. This DOES NOT MEAN you can pull a permit for the work, that is a separate issue. Section 110.5 of the MA building code states in part:

Application for a permit shall be made by the owner or lessee of the building or structure, or agent of either.

The Town you live in may have a more restrictive building code, and could conceivably require an electrician to pull a building permit for electrical work, however that is not what the MA building code says.

Section 110.3 of the MA building code allows for several exceptions to the need for a building permit, including construction of a single story shed or playhouse less than 120 square feet, a fence less than 6 feet tall, certain types of retaining walls, and ordinary repairs (it is not obvious what an ordinary repair is, see 110.3.4 for a definition).

So if your building inspector agrees that replacing a light fixture, or a damaged switch, or a leaky faucet is an ordinary repair, no permit required. Additions, major demolition, structural modifications etc. are not ordinary repairs.
Your code seems to be reasonably well thought out!
Most codes are well considered, and I for one, don't have a problem with this!
Where the problem seems to begin, is when politicians enact by-laws that take away our rights as free citizens. For the purpose of allowing a monopoly to have a corner on the market!
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:05 AM   #14
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Doing work without a permit?


Just another quick question along these lines. Let's say Ryan wants to do his own electrical work. Can he then just hire an electrician to get a permit and 'check over' his work to make it legal? Does anyone know if electricians / plumbers would be willing to do this?
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:13 AM   #15
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Doing work without a permit?


He could and maybe.....

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