Sorry if this is a double post - I guess I took too long writing it and had been logged out when I tried to post it first time.
About 6 years ago we hired a small time contractor to work on a small project which morphed into a bigger project including electrical & plumbing. We did not pull a permit but we did take some photos of the walls before they were covered. We are now planning to do a new electrical project and some of the cables will go through the old project space. We will be pulling a permit this time and that means an inspector.
We have two options:
Option #1 - My SO is of the opinion that we should keep quiet and gamble the inspector will not notice the older work.
My argument against this is that firstly the older work is pretty darn obvious and secondly if we lose the gamble and the inspector starts questioning the old work, we are in a bad position with the building department. In particular I think it looks like we're trying to pull a fast one and I worry that they will be punitive in the inspections of the old project's electrical & plumbing - requiring us to tear apart a lot of the old work.
Option #2 - I think we should go to the Muni building department, confess our sins, and start the process to get a "after the fact" building permit. I don't know, however, how best to approach this with the building department.
What makes this worrisome is that the building department is known for being hard nosed and I've heard that you don't want to get on the wrong side of Mr. XXXX, Chief Code Officer, or he'll make your life hell. I don't want to get hell in any form but I suspect that Option #2 will get us a smaller bit of hell than Option #1.
The guy who worked on our older project is long gone. I'm wondering if it would make sense to hire a contractor to help us with the building department - in particular to uncover the electrical & plumbing with as little destruction as possible. Would a contractor do this?
I looked up fees and see that the fee for pulling a permit after the work is done is double the usual cost (I think it'll be about $300). I didn't see anything about additional fines but I bet if one really cheesed off the Code Officer, he would find some to add.
So has anyone every had to fix this kind of mess? Any advice? What should we not do? Would groveling help when I talk to the code officer?