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Old 03-11-2012, 08:59 PM   #16
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what would you do? permit or no permit


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Originally Posted by titanoman View Post
I kind of get a kick out of some of the permit police around here.
A permit definitely has its advantages.
But an op shouldn't be condemned and called irresponsible if he wants to bootleg a basement finish in or a deck or a roof on his house.
Now something involving serious construction (that's up to interpretation, I guess), like a huge deck or addition or a whole house, of course get a permit.
And not getting something designed and inspected by somebody doesn't usually lead to total failure.
I agree,100%
If I am doing something serious with liability I will get a permit.
If I am doing a weekend project there is little chance me getting a permit for work being done at my home.The reason I do most of my own work is I got tired of not getting things done the WAY I want it done.
Let me explain the word way,to me it means "High Standards"

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Old 03-11-2012, 09:03 PM   #17
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what would you do? permit or no permit


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Hi all, i'm new to the forum.... I'm in a little bind concerning finishing my basement.... it's a rectangle basement, half of it long-wise will be finished and the other side will be done some other time... Now my questions is this.... what are the pro and cons of finishing the basement without permit? I have a handy man that would do the whole basement for half the price of the half - basement appraissal from another guy. I've used him many times and he does a great job and gives us design ideas.... the other guy will do the work legally but i will have to get a permit and see my property taxes go up... I'm going to be leaving in this house for many years to come. what would you do? there's little chance that the town will come inside my house to look at what's going on.....
There are several red flags I'm seeing here.

First, the permit. Some things can be done without a building permit. For instance, several years ago I removed "groovy" paneling and replaced it with drywall, in my basement. Moved nothing, just redid the surface. No building permit required. Check with your local municipality for details.

The problem with not getting a permit, if a permit is required for the work done, is that sooner or later it's almost certain to come back and bite you in the butt.


Second, the handyman. I'll trust you, concerning the quality of his work. However, there are a lot of times when these situations go bad - especially if he's a personal friend.


Research everything carefully. Good luck!
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:57 PM   #18
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what would you do? permit or no permit


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Hi all, i'm new to the forum.... I'm in a little bind concerning finishing my basement.... it's a rectangle basement, half of it long-wise will be finished and the other side will be done some other time... Now my questions is this.... what are the pro and cons of finishing the basement without permit?
A permit validates your improvements. Yes, it may increase your taxes, but it also increases the property value. If a contractor doesn't want to work by permit he is telling you he doesn't want his work inspected. Is that really what you want?
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:33 AM   #19
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what would you do? permit or no permit


What do you think will happen if you have a fire, flood, or some type of insurance claim without a permit and a licenced contractor?
Have you checked with your homeowners insurance to see what will be covered if a worker get hurt and sues you?
How about when you pay off your handyman and you have a fire or flooding? Do you think the insurance will cover this?
Good luck with the handyman.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:53 PM   #20
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what would you do? permit or no permit


If you finish the basement without a permit then you wouldn't be able to rent out that living space but if I were you I would get the permit. I know it can be a hassle but I would rather be safe than sorry.
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:33 PM   #21
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what would you do? permit or no permit


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bid a job yrs back..we was going to get all permits as per law....homeowner decided to have work performed w/o permits....true story.....as job was comming to completion inspector shows up..the sh#% hit the fan...all plumbing,electrical, was made to be uncovered to be inspected..it all failed...what do you think was it worth it....as far as taxes go I don't buy big increase for fixing homes...min at best...even if they do rise you increased the value of home....
Wait a minute ......
I'm confused YOU did the work without permits but YOU know what code is and all your work had to be ripped out?
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:44 PM   #22
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what would you do? permit or no permit


You have dealt with this handy man before,you are pleased with his work,you have had no issues with the work he has done thus far.
If the answer is yes to all the above then go for it without the permit.
Its a basement and half a one at that.
Maybe the handy man is VERY good at what he does and is just looking to save the owner money. Knows shes looking to save money so he is taking the route that he is.

Don't tell me all you contractors would walk away from a job if the owner wanted it done without permits.
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:14 PM   #23
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what would you do? permit or no permit


sublime3 -

You are definitely from Jersey. - possibly from Camden, which is across the the river from where my wife grew up. It sounds like the typical story in that part of Jersey, PA or near NYC where honest people pay the tab and taxes for the others and them have to face the taxable gains when or if they sell the property.

A real contractor would not take a chance on an unpermitted job in any part of the country. A contractor knows the codes and knows how to slide a project through without violations and rebuilds.
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Old 04-06-2012, 06:47 PM   #24
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what would you do? permit or no permit


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sublime3 -

You are definitely from Jersey. - possibly from Camden, which is across the the river from where my wife grew up. It sounds like the typical story in that part of Jersey, PA or near NYC where honest people pay the tab and taxes for the others and them have to face the taxable gains when or if they sell the property.







A real contractor would not take a chance on an unpermitted job in any part of the country. A contractor knows the codes and knows how to slide a project through without violations and rebuilds.
It's Sublime2!
Wow! I can understand you being upset cause an independent may have out bid you on several ocassions because they did it without permits and didn't have your overhead.
But,the personal attack isn't really necessary!
Maybe you would get more work if your attitude was better.
Just a thought!
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:23 AM   #25
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what would you do? permit or no permit


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sublime3 -

You are definitely from Jersey. - possibly from Camden, which is across the the river from where my wife grew up. It sounds like the typical story in that part of Jersey, PA or near NYC where honest people pay the tab and taxes for the others and them have to face the taxable gains when or if they sell the property.


A real contractor would not take a chance on an unpermitted job in any part of the country. A contractor knows the codes and knows how to slide a project through without violations and rebuilds.
My guess would be north jersey, Bergen county maybe.
" real contractor" is the key here. I have lost jobs because I wouldnt work without a permit and I'm sure I'll lose more. Just not worth it to me.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:59 AM   #26
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what would you do? permit or no permit


Setting the permit aside for a minute-

The handyman will do the entire basement for half the cost the other quoted for just half the space?

Did they both see the same set of drawings? Or, at the least, did you discuss the scope of the project, including a finish date, with both parties?

I think you need another quote or two. Get the potential contractors to quote apples to apples, written down, then see the difference in the bids.

And, check around and see what the tax increase would be, as others have posted it will probably be less than you anticipate and leave you in a better position for the future.

You have some other work to do before you fret over permitting.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:13 AM   #27
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what would you do? permit or no permit


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Originally Posted by titanoman View Post
I kind of get a kick out of some of the permit police around here.
A permit definitely has its advantages.
But an op shouldn't be condemned and called irresponsible if he wants to bootleg a basement finish in or a deck or a roof on his house.
Now something involving serious construction (that's up to interpretation, I guess), like a huge deck or addition or a whole house, of course get a permit.
And not getting something designed and inspected by somebody doesn't usually lead to total failure.
DIY's have access to span tables and codes in their area, if applicable, that they can consult when in doubt.

Personally, I don't like inspectors.
And I would just as soon they not be around to tell me to do things that I know don't need to be done.
Most of them have never swung a hammer. They've just read books.
Some of the stuff they want you to do borders ridiculous and isn't at all necessary or practical.
Just more money.

I came from California, very, very, strick about everything (because they had a big earthquake 106 years ago) to Missouri, where builders didn't need liscences and they're were no permits to be gotten for anything (yet the New Madrid quake was bigger than the SF one).
1,000's of gorgeous high dollar estates and mansions have been standing in all they're glory, some since 1931, all without a permit.
Just as high of quality because good carpenters from KC, Florida, and California heard about the building boom out here and ran off the native "builders" that really were screwing up everything and kind of turned the tide and starting building high-quality homes, changing the acceptable standard.

But like any place, sooner or later the government does butt it and take over. Enforcement of UBC took off about the same time I got here in the mid-nighties.

Anyway, I would never give those greedy ******** any of my money for permits and inspections unless someone was making me, or if it was something I couldn't hide.

But, I think I know more than most inspectors do (especially those really young ones) so why would I want one around?
Get out of my way and let me work.
I don't need you.
My sentiments exactly. I have owned ten houses in the last 40 years, in seven different states, and have done unpermitted work in all of them except the current one which I built entirely by myself- tough to hide that. I have never had a problem selling any of them. Nor did an assessor or insurance agent ever set foot in any of them. Permits are all about revenue, period.
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Old 04-08-2012, 05:13 PM   #28
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what would you do? permit or no permit


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Here's a fun/true story. About 5 years ago, a friend of mine in the far NW suburbs of Chicago finished his basement. Everything except the ceiling (just painted the joist cavities black). He did it without permits. Somewhere along the way, it got back to the assessors that the basement is finished. They never came to check, just automatically added it to his tax bill.

When his next tax bill came around he called to fight it, at which point they said they'd need to send assessors out to prove his basement was not finished. They came, went downstairs, and he was all clear. (In his city, if the ceiling is not finished, the basement is not finished). However they did add on some things the previous owners did (like the deck and patio) that were not on the assessment.
Any discussion involving building codes in Chicago is completely different than anyplace else in the nation! Heck, you can't legally change a light switch or socket yourself in Chicago! And that's just the beginning. We don't know where the OP is from but their codes are certainly not like they are in Chicago.
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Old 04-08-2012, 11:41 PM   #29
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what would you do? permit or no permit


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Any discussion involving building codes in Chicago is completely different than anyplace else in the nation! Heck, you can't legally change a light switch or socket yourself in Chicago! And that's just the beginning. We don't know where the OP is from but their codes are certainly not like they are in Chicago.
Go build something in Cali. You'de be in for a rude awakening my friend.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:29 PM   #30
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what would you do? permit or no permit


There is no reason not to pull a permit. For 99% of the things you would be doing in a residential setting, you would have to be a complete moron to screw up enough to fail an inspection.

Higher taxes = higher assessed value which means the house is worth more when you try to sell it.

Some things, as pointed out, do NOT require permits. Roofing, siding, doors and windows, painting and trim all are not required in my state. Anything structural, sheathing, drywall, electrical or plumbing need to be permitted and inspected.

Some states, like mine, will allow a homeowner to perform work. My background is electrical, but when I built my home I was allowed to do everything even gas lines. Unlicensed trades (drywall, framing, etc) you can have the handyman do under YOUR permit in most places.


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