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Old 07-14-2010, 09:40 AM   #1
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Hi! First post - Basement issues


Hello all!

I just introduced myself here:
Hello from Westchester, NY

We just bought our first home and it has a finished basement which was done without any permits...

The city wants a design professional to draw up plans and us to file for permits to make it Legal. Luckily it doesn't need much work to make it legal but I find the fee for drawing plans to be a little on the high side so I was wondering if it is justified.

The basement has 2 rooms, each room has a door to a garage and a door between eachother. Right now we would want the most simple approach to make it legal and get the city off our back.

All work aside(Which isn't much) the architect I had look said it would be $6k JUST to draw the plans... Does this sound right????
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:49 AM   #2
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Hi! First post - Basement issues


what exactly are the wanting from the pro? do you need an engineers stamp for something?
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:53 AM   #3
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Hi! First post - Basement issues


An email from the inspector:

You also have the option to have a NYS Licensed Design Professional prepare drawings for finished space. The bathroom can be inspected by a Licensed Plumber and us as part of such application. However the "sleeping room" may have issues that may not allow it to meet the Code for ceiling height, etc. The Design Professional would measure all existing conditions and determine if they meet the current Codes.


Because we have the space finished already we need to file for a permit to make it legal, our 2 options are: demolish and leave in original state, or the above. So I need the Design Professional to make the drawings. 6k just sounds like way to much for drawings that will be done with a computer program, also he said it takes a month to make the drawings.....
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:10 AM   #4
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Hi! First post - Basement issues


well, apparently he also must come to the site and take all the critical measurements.

It does sounds like a lot. Have you shopped around at all? Would it be cheaper to demo and rebuild?
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:13 AM   #5
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Hi! First post - Basement issues


I'm still shopping around, this one person went in and I know exactly what I need to fix all violations and have it up to code... It includes 2 new windows, 1 new door and removing a door between the 2 rooms and making that entrance wider so it's considered one room. I'm sure I can do most of that work myself, but 6k for a drawing seems like craziness.

I am going to do more shopping around... Could there be some sort of workaround to this architect? How would I ask that nicely to the inspector lol...

Thanks for your help!!
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:29 AM   #6
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Hi! First post - Basement issues


Quote:
Originally Posted by jmejiaa View Post
. Could there be some sort of workaround to this architect? How would I ask that nicely to the inspector lol...

Thanks for your help!!
a work around? that would be up to the local authority I would guess.

how to ask an inspector? well, offering him the gift certificates you had just found on the floor might help!! just kidding.

just acting like concerned citizen and not arguing with him or turning into a jerk and threatening him with court or some other more sinister action is usually all it typically takes. There may simply not be any other legal options and his hands are bound. I suspect that is what you will find and I also suspect it is sort of a punishment for those that act illegally and build without permits. Kind of a defacto fine. Of course, you got stuck with the legacy of the last owner.

speaking of which: when you bought this house, why wasn't this discovered then? Depending on all of the facts, you might have recourse from the seller. Did the sellers disclosure fail to disclose the unpermitted build?
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:42 AM   #7
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Hi! First post - Basement issues


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a work around? that would be up to the local authority I would guess.

how to ask an inspector? well, offering him the gift certificates you had just found on the floor might help!! just kidding.

just acting like concerned citizen and not arguing with him or turning into a jerk and threatening him with court or some other more sinister action is usually all it typically takes. There may simply not be any other legal options and his hands are bound. I suspect that is what you will find and I also suspect it is sort of a punishment for those that act illegally and build without permits. Kind of a defacto fine. Of course, you got stuck with the legacy of the last owner.

speaking of which: when you bought this house, why wasn't this discovered then? Depending on all of the facts, you might have recourse from the seller. Did the sellers disclosure fail to disclose the unpermitted build?

lol..

I didn't mean anything illegal, I actually meant asking the inspector if this could be done with something other then plans from the pro architect, but like you said asking in a nice way and not sounding like I want to break the law...

It was discovered and we were given a credit by the bank - less then what we asked but it was discovered a week before the closing date since that is when the inspector came around. We decided to accept since the credit should cover the architect fee's and most of the work, plus we closed just in time for the first time home buyer credit...

I will def. shop around, but it sounds it will be costly to get started, I guess it just kills me to know it's 6k for some drawings but like everything in life it has it's cost and people do this stuff for a living.

Last thing I want is to mess up the situation more trying to cover stuff up, but I will ask the inspector about the pro and tell him our findings, maybe since it isn't much work involved he will give us a break....

Thanks for your help!
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