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Discussion Starter #1
I recently had a licensed (still active I checked) plumber install a shower in our basement bathroom. I asked him before starting the work if he would pull the permits or should I? He stated that he would pull the permits as they fall under his license. After completing the shower, I asked if the city had signed off on the installation and I could continue with the rest of the renovation work. He then said he wasn't aware that he was going to pull the permit, but if he had said this it was his mistake and he would pull the permit. However, he advised me that the city might not sign off on the work since the shower does not have a 24 inch clearance to the sink. I have already paid him in full, and I am not sure what to do. If I make him pull the permits the city wont sign off and it will cost me more money, and I don't know how you would remedy the situation. Please help with any advice. I live in Minnesota if that matters.
 

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he advised me that the city might not sign off on the work since the shower does not have a 24 inch clearance to the sink.
Then why didnt HE make it so it DOES have the right clearance in the first place??
How far off the minimum is the measurement now?

Just wondering, do you really think the city is going to come out and MEASURE your shower to sink clearances? Once you go for a permit now, you've let a nasty cat out of the bag, if that all has to be torn out and redone and the plumber is gone with the money, moved, bankrupt, or claims YOU were supposed to get the permits.
 

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If that measurement doesn't bother you I wouldn't worry about it. UNLESS you are having more work done and inspected, then the inspector may notice the new work and start asking questions. My question is why a licensed plumber would put so much on the line, as he could very well lose his license by not pulling the permit and by not doing the work to code. I could be totally wrong but it sounds like this guy is just telling everyone he is licensed.
 

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I can understand the permit part, but if you are a pro, how could you not do it to code?
 
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Discussion Starter #5
I am not sure why he didn't install it to code, when he obviously knew it was an issue after the fact. Apparently code states that the shower must have a 24 inch clearance and the sink is 15 inches away. All the rest of the work was already done and inspected, just not the shower and the sheetrocking. I am curious what I should? Should I ask for some of my payment back? Should I report the plumber? Will I have any issues when selling my house?
 

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There is a big difference between a license (experience and background) and a legal code requirement. Even an amateur hack can meet the code as he long checks the requirement and does a reasonable job, but an experienced, licensed guy can just throw it in as easy, fast and cheap as possible if he does not care about responsibility.

Dick
 

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Apparently code states that the shower must have a 24 inch clearance and the sink is 15 inches away.
Wow! you aren't talking about one inch or 1/2 inch here, that's a huge obvious difference of NINE inches, there's something just not right about this "licensed" plumber, unless you were not there at the time the obvious question is why didn't you notice it was that far off when he was working on this in the first place?
I can see not noticing an inch, MAYBE two off, but NINE??
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well as an average home owner, I was not aware that there was a 24 inch building code regulation. I assumed that the licensed plumber I hired would be aware of the issues and install the shower correctly. I was home the entire time of installation, so at any point he could have asked me, or made me aware of the regulation.
 

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Well as an average home owner, I was not aware that there was a 24 inch building code regulation.
Ok, so you learned about that code later then.

I assumed that the licensed plumber I hired would be aware of the issues and install the shower correctly.
Yep that's the problem right there, trusting and assuming the person called from an ad or yellow pages or other source is legit and all that, unfortunately hindsight is always so much clearer than foresight.

At this point I guess about your only option is contacting him and having him fix his screwup at his expense, or taking him to small claims court. It almost goes without saying that with it being nine inches off, there's no way that can be "fudged" that's a major defect that not only won't pass, but if you try to sell the home later with this, chances are prospective buyers will notice and that will be another item they will factor in the cost of having to correct or change, and that means $x comes off their offer- you'll be paying for this at that end then.

If it was just an inch or something like that, you could probably get by with it, but no way with nine inches.

Small claims court might be your best option in the end if you don't get satisfaction, you should be able to file for up to $5,000 or more depending on your state.
 

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Well as an average home owner, I was not aware that there was a 24 inch building code regulation. I assumed that the licensed plumber I hired would be aware of the issues and install the shower correctly. I was home the entire time of installation, so at any point he could have asked me, or made me aware of the regulation.
Who was in charge of the lay-out for the bathroom? Certainly not the plumber, unless it's one of those plumbing/architectural combination firms you hired..........

Is the plumber also in charge of framing the walls too close together so the shower didn't have the correct clearance? When you say "install correctly", did you expect that the plumber would install it outside of the bathroom walls so the clearance would be adequate.

As Mike said, there's a heck of alot more to this story than what we're hearing............
 

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Who was in charge of the lay-out for the bathroom? Certainly not the plumber, unless it's one of those plumbing/architectural combination firms you hired..........

Is the plumber also in charge of framing the walls too close together so the shower didn't have the correct clearance? When you say "install correctly", did you expect that the plumber would install it outside of the bathroom walls so the clearance would be adequate.

As Mike said, there's a heck of alot more to this story than what we're hearing............
Yes but was it not the plumber job to say I can't do this because of the code and it will need to be addressed so I can do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Actually there is not a lot more to the story. This is a basement bathroom, our second bathroom in the house. A bathroom used to exist in the exact spot, but was built I am assuming around the 70s. When we bought the house, we had permits pulled to do some work including installing the sink and toilet in that bathroom, however in the spot the shower was, we couldn't at the time afford to put it in, so we had the sewer and fixtures capped. Fast forward four years later, and we needed to install the corner shower in that location. So the plumber installed a 36 x 36 fiberglass shower in the corner, and did the framing. At no point did he mention an issue with the obstruction, until after I asked him about the permits. I don't think the sink can easily be moved with the layout of the bathroom.
 

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You are seriously overstressing about this. What potential buyer of your home, other than maybe a building inspector, is ever going to know the sink is "technically" too close to the shower? Or care. I've owned a lot of houses, most with probably some trivial code violation somewhere, and have never, not once, had a problem selling any of them. Inspectors are usually flexible, and willing to overlook something so trivial. In my nearly-new log home, my master bathroom shower is not code compliant (insufficient head room). On the final inspection, the inspector let it slide because he missed the issue when he inspected the rough-in. Were I you, I'd forget about permits and this issue, and move on with my life.
 

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Looks like you only have two choices, make waves you might wish you hadn't with the permit, small claims court etc and risk having to tear it all out and re-do it, or live with it as it sounds like it's already a done deal being it's already installed. If you sell the house later just keep in mind the prospective buyer may very well complain about it being too close even if they aren't aware of the 24" rule, and want to knock off some money from their offer because they 'have to" re-do the whole bathroom because the sink is too crowded.
 

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Bottom line is the Plumbing Contractor is on the hook for not pulling permits.
This is a quote from The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.
I would call him up and DEMAND he fixes it and pulls permits or your going to report him to the State.
I hate guys that pull this kind of bullcrap and under bid those of us that play by the rules.

Minnesota Rules Part 1300.0215, subpart 1 -- New plumbing systems and parts of existing systems which have been altered, extended or repaired shall be inspected and tested by the proper administrative authority to ensure compliance with all the requirements of this code and the installation and construction of the system in accordance with the approved plan and the permit, except that testing may be waived for work which does not include addition to, replacement, alteration or relocation of any water supply, drainage or vent piping.
All the piping shall be tested and after the plumbing fixtures have been set, and before the system is put into use, the system shall be given a final inspection and test by the proper administrative authority.
The equipment, material, power and labor necessary for the inspection must be furnished by the plumbing contractor.
Minnesota Rules Part 1300.0215, subpart 2 -- It shall be the duty of the plumbing contractor to notify the proper administrative authority and the owner or the owner's authorized agent orally, by telephone or in writing, not less than eight working hours between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. before the work is to be inspected or tested. It shall be the duty of the plumbing contractor to make sure that the work will stand the test prescribed before giving the above notification. If the proper administrative authority finds that the work will not stand the test, the plumbing contractor shall be required to re-notify as above. If the proper administrative authority does not appear for an inspection within 24 hours of the time set, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, the inspection or test shall be deemed to have been made, and the plumbing contractor is required to file an affidavit with the proper administrative authority that the work was installed in accordance with the code, the approved plans and permit, and that it was free from defects and that the required tests had been made and the system found free from leaks; also whether the owner or the owner's authorized agent was present when such inspection or test was made.
 
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