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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I bought my first house 5 years ago, I was naive and did not understand that building permits were required for certain home improvements. I learned a hard lesson since then and now I'm going to have 5 replacement windows and a slider door installed. The company I hired said I HAD to get a permit.

If I follow city codes and GET a permit, will I get fined by the building inspector when he sees an un-permitted (& likely OUT of code) patio covering my brother built? Or the brand new kitchen cabinets and granite counters an unlicensed contractor installed?

I'd like to make a fresh start and do things correctly, but I don't want to get fined for my past mistakes.

Any insight is appreciated. Thx!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A real contractor will get the necessary permits as per your local rules.
They actually gave me the option of having them get the permit for an addition fee, or allowing me to get one myself. That really isn't the point of my question though.
 

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JOATMON
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What permits you need depend on the city.

New cabinets and granite? Unless there were changes to plumbing or electrical, you should not have needed a permit.

That patio cover? I'm not sure that would require a permit.

Nothing wrong with calling down to your local office and asking. They won't ask the address.

I would get the permit for the windows. It insures they get installed correctly. I'm guessing you have stucco. They need to be done right, or you will find out the hard way.

As for that patio....if it requires a permit, you could say it was already there. Chances are, he won't care unless there are some real obvious code issues. If so, then maybe you shouldn't have that patio cover in the first place if it's that obvious of an issue.
 

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I had replacement over-size sliding doors installed by the large window supplier. They only do work where they get the permit and arrange for inspections. It was a complete job from removal, disposal, popping siding for flashing and interior trim(finished or unfinished).

A strange local permit requirement for many different trades/jobs (windows, doors, electrical, some mechanicals and especially HVAC) is to also install smoke detectors where needed. This is a way to get more smoke/CO alarms in the community. Ours is a 2 story townhouse in one corner of a 4 unit building (1 of 12 separate buildings), so the requirement is not unreasonable considering the people at risk.

If the contractor gets the permit, he is responsible for complying with all codes in case there is an insurance problem. - Keeps the unreliable bottom feeders out because it is their responsibility.

Dick
 

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This is Sacramento California, permits are required for the windows, the Building Department (BD) may let you slide on the "Title-24" (misnomer) but I doubt it.

The entire Calif. building code is under Title-24 now but the California Energy Analysis is still called that by many people. It is more accurately called Title-24 part 6, anyway.

Permits not required for cabinets and counter tops, electrical and plumbing yes as mentioned before.

Covered porch, permits required yes. Highly doubt you would be fined but the inspector could make you get permits for it and you would have to pay for that or give you the option of tearing it down.

Andy.
 

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Are the new windows a retrofit window? A retrofit does not require the old window frames to be removed and usually does not require a permit.
 

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DIY or die !
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Its YOUR house... why do you need someone's permission?

Permits are set up to make the town revenue, and to enforce a certain quality of workmanship in your area. Do it right yourself, and decide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is Sacramento California, permits are required for the windows, the Building Department (BD) may let you slide on the "Title-24" (misnomer) but I doubt it.

The entire Calif. building code is under Title-24 now but the California Energy Analysis is still called that by many people. It is more accurately called Title-24 part 6, anyway.

Permits not required for cabinets and counter tops, electrical and plumbing yes as mentioned before.

Covered porch, permits required yes. Highly doubt you would be fined but the inspector could make you get permits for it and you would have to pay for that or give you the option of tearing it down.

Andy.
Thanks, Andy. My main concern is the covered patio. As far as the kitchen, the only item for which a permit was required was the dedicated circuit added for the OTR microwave. I just didn't know if once an inspector comes onto your property, if they could look at other things and force you to get a permit.

Do you happen to know if it makes any difference whether or not the licensed contractor pulls the permit or if the homeowner pulls it? I was going to pull it myself to save a few bucks but if that's a bad idea for any reason, I won't do it.
 

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Have the contractor pull the permit and it will be their name on the thing if there are issues. As to what they look at when they come, where I am they look at what the permit says. Had to have the building inspector over to ok wood stove installation about five years back....and he never said a word about the Un-permitted 40' deck with hot tub that he came across. To get to the stove or the two story structure that he drove past coming up the driveway. Ron
 

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JOATMON
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Actually, here in California, it's fine for the homeowner to pull the permit.

Inspection process is still the same. But as a homeowner and getting involved, you will learn more. I think you will find the inspector is more than glad to answer questions.

Get to know them. In the long run they are your friend. My inspector and I talk on the phone all the time.
 

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Its YOUR house... why do you need someone's permission?

Permits are set up to make the town revenue, and to enforce a certain quality of workmanship in your area. Do it right yourself, and decide.
Whilst I agree with the sentiment, it is incorrect that permits generate revenue for towns. Permit fees rarely cover the cost of operating the building department. Permits are there to protect whomever may buy or live in the property after you are gone.
 

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Whilst I agree with the sentiment, it is incorrect that permits generate revenue for towns. Permit fees rarely cover the cost of operating the building department. Permits are there to protect whomever may buy or live in the property after you are gone.
True, the permit fees don't generate revenue but the county won't hesitate to reassess the value of your home and increase your taxes.
 

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Even if you know exactly what you're doing and plan to do it to code, get a permit. Sure it will take up a little bit of your time, but they don't cost much.
It sure beats the hassle and fine should somebody turn you in.?
 

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funflyer said:
True, the permit fees don't generate revenue but the county won't hesitate to reassess the value of your home and increase your taxes.
Very true.

They also generate revenue from the contractors now requiring the contractors to have business licenses in given localities and therefore charging them tax above and beyond what they paid to the federal government and state.

At every different level someone has their hand out.
 

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I was a little upset that the contractor that did my windows was not required to have a permit. If I ran a town, not only would things need to be done right. You would also have to do a good job as well.

It is beyond me how my neighbors bathroom remodel ever in a million years passed inspection. The guy that did it joined copper to pvc(not cpvc) with threaded galvanized pipe. He then went right up the side of the wall and through the ceiling and floor. No strapping. My point is, many of the inspections are not really protecting the people that they should.
 

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Maybe your neighbor didn't get a permit and decided not to tell anyone.?
Be careful what you ask for..
You saved money by not being charged for those extras.
 

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When I bought my first house 5 years ago, I was naive and did not understand that building permits were required for certain home improvements. I learned a hard lesson since then and now I'm going to have 5 replacement windows and a slider door installed. The company I hired said I HAD to get a permit.

If I follow city codes and GET a permit, will I get fined by the building inspector when he sees an un-permitted (& likely OUT of code) patio covering my brother built? Or the brand new kitchen cabinets and granite counters an unlicensed contractor installed?

I'd like to make a fresh start and do things correctly, but I don't want to get fined for my past mistakes.

Any insight is appreciated. Thx!
Here's my opinion: I would let the contractor get the permit. Usually, the contractor only charges $50 for this service, which is pretty cheap considering the time it takes for him to go to the planning department and fill out all of the paperwork. For five windows and a slider, your permit will probably be $170-ish plus the $50 to the contractor. The benefit to the contractor getting the permit is that he likely knows the process better than you and already has rapport with the planning department that will make the permit process smoother.

Regarding old, unpermitted work: unless the unpermitted work is obviously dangerous or ongoing, I doubt the inspector will even notice it. I've had a few major permits for work at my house and the inspector never poked around or looked at other areas of the house besides the area that he was there to inspect. However, if you have hanging wires, or open walls, or other work that is currently ongoing, he may start asking questions.

Just let the contractor get the permit for the windows--you'll feel much better about the new windows when he is done. Besides, I doubt you'll get a quality window contractor who will do that work without a permit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here's my opinion: I would let the contractor get the permit. Usually, the contractor only charges $50 for this service, which is pretty cheap considering the time it takes for him to go to the planning department and fill out all of the paperwork. For five windows and a slider, your permit will probably be $170-ish plus the $50 to the contractor. The benefit to the contractor getting the permit is that he likely knows the process better than you and already has rapport with the planning department that will make the permit process smoother.

Regarding old, unpermitted work: unless the unpermitted work is obviously dangerous or ongoing, I doubt the inspector will even notice it. I've had a few major permits for work at my house and the inspector never poked around or looked at other areas of the house besides the area that he was there to inspect. However, if you have hanging wires, or open walls, or other work that is currently ongoing, he may start asking questions.

Just let the contractor get the permit for the windows--you'll feel much better about the new windows when he is done. Besides, I doubt you'll get a quality window contractor who will do that work without a permit.
I really appreciate your insight. Thanks for sharing your experience. The window company I'm using said they charge $150 to get the permit but I think that's only THEIR fee! Seems like a lot considering the City of Sacramento now allows licensed contractors to obtain permits online.
 
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