building commission/permit questions

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by yarg28, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. yarg28

    yarg28 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Michigan
    I was not aware that i needed permits to do work on my own home. I have replaced some flooring and drywall, removed a closet to expand room size, put up trim/moulding throughout house, added new interior doors. jambs, casing, all new cabinets, removed and replaced railing, and a few other things. All of the plumbing and electrical i had done by licensed local contractors.

    Throughout the entire process nobody ever once mentioned permits.
    When i look at quotes from the contractors they always have the permit included.

    The problem i have is that I want to do a lot more work in basement to finish all of the rooms with drywall and framing. Its all exposed block that is painted. I read something saying to contact local commission to get code on how to cover the wall properly for our area relative to moisture resistance.

    When i got to the site i see that im supposed to have gotten a permit for almost every damned thing ive done.

    Now im scared to have an inspector look at my basement because im affraid hes going to see the rest of the home and ask questions.

    I'm 100% confident in the quality of the work that is done but i dont know what happens if he starts asking about permits and finds out that i never had any?

    Any advice? What are the consequences? Cash fines? Jail time for drywalling?

    The whole idea that i have to pay someone because i installed a laminate floor pisses me off anyway.

    thanks for the help.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,932
    Location:
    New England
    It really depends on where you live. Non-structural things often don't require a permit, along with cosmetic things. Changing the structure usually does. WHen you start finishing previously unfinished rooms, depending on their use, you often have to provide proper ventilation and egress, which can be difficult and expensive in a basement if, for example, you want to put a bedroom there.

    Some of this seems to be just so they can tax your property properly - i.e., adding a new finished room would typically increase the value, thus your taxes; some if it is for safety.

    Depending on where you are, and what you've done, there could be fines, and if rough inspections are normally required, you may have to tear things apart to allow them (i.e., say you added electrical, you can't see if it is routed and installed properly without seeing the whole run. In addition to that, you have to pay for the permit, too.

    Depending on what you've done, and the extent, and the local authorities, this could be easy, or hard, cheap, or expensive...sorry, can't say for sure.
  3. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    I would not worry about having the inspector out to inspect things since he would not know what was in the house to begin with...

    >basement to finish all of the rooms with drywall and framing.

    That however is a big project and it's easy to hide earlier changes in permits since most permits want you to document the existing floor plan.

    Note: Getting a Permits can get expensive if you have to replace a septic tank or sewer system.

    You might want to watch that basement episode of "Holms on homes". It did a good job of showing what NOT to do and how to do it right.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,932
    Location:
    New England
    Keep in mind that (although they do lose things), somewhere they should have information on the dwelling as built when the occupancy certificate was issued. This will describe things like how many bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc. How complete that is depends on where you live. This is one way they can assess what has been changed, and look to see if there has been any building permits and inspections completed to verify the changes.
  5. Erico

    Erico New Member

    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    NY
    Like Archie Bunker used to say: "Dummy up!"

    .............as far as you are concerned, it was all like that when you bought the joint.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,519
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    permits

    The MAIN reason for permits on all work that is done is so that the tax files can be updated and you can be assessed higher taxes because the home's value has increased. There could be issues when you sell the house if someone checks the records and compares them to the house, or the realtor asks you if any work was done without a permit. If that is asked you had better say "YES" or you could open yourself to a huge can of worms.
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego

    I don't think anything in that paragraph triggers a permit, except the plumbing and electrical depending on what you had done.

    Cosmetic repairs or renovations to drywall, floor, etc. are not a problem. Even taking out the closet as long as there was no load bearing structure involved. None of these things would change the tax basis of your house. Finishing off unfinished space is different. There is the tax basis, and also the issues mentioned on code for lighting and electrical in living space, egress if it is sleeping space, etc.
  8. yarg28

    yarg28 New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Michigan
    thanks for all of the responses. I have read the posted document about what requires a permit in my state, and unless its, carpet, paint, wallpaper, it requires a permit. They make it clear.

    See, they recently raised permit rates because they need new computers and stuff for the office. So, it looks like they want as much permit revenue as possible.
  9. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The 16 digit Architectural numbering system lists drywall as a finish material, and my interpretation, right or wrong, has always been no permit for finish materials. :D
  10. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    That's nuts. Where do you live?
  11. AZ Contractor

    AZ Contractor In the Trades

    Messages:
    90
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    How so?

    We have drywall screw inspections. Can't proceed with work until the inspector checks out the screws.
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,932
    Location:
    New England
    I wish they inspected the drywall screws before finishing! My walls sound like drums - there's a screw maybe every 3'. If done concienciously, inspections help ensure at least some minimum standards of construction.
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,519
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    codes

    "minimum standards". That is the key to the codes and inspections. They define the lowest level of installation which will be accepted, and that lowest level may be established by a group with their own agenda, which may not always include what others have determined to be the lowest safe level.
  14. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I was referring to post 6, and the form that you have to sign when you sell the house that you did work on without a permit. No permits are required for "refinishing".
  15. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    When I built my cabin we used a case of liquid nails for the drywall and just enough nails to hold it in place while the glue set. There was a lot less mud work that way and a lot less nail pops to deal with later.
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,932
    Location:
    New England
    Yeah, the goal is to attach it well to the studs, in my place they did not...very annoying!
  17. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    You know, structurally we are allowed to consider drywall as a load resisting element for wind shear.
  18. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,932
    Location:
    New England
    Well, it would have failed in my house! Next time I repaint, I'll probably add a bunch, but I hate to tape and mud...and, I don't paint often! Maybe I'll move first:D.
  19. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    :) Its the American way- sell your problems to the highest bidder!
  20. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,519
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    walls

    "Drums? What do you mean the walls sound like drums? I lived there for 10 years and NEVER heard the walls sound like drums."
Similar Threads: building commission/permit
Forum Title Date
Remodel Forum & Blog Do I Really Need A Building Permit? Bathroom Modifications Unable To Fully Meet Code Jan 14, 2014
Remodel Forum & Blog Building Tub Alcove Jul 1, 2013
Remodel Forum & Blog The World's Ugliest Buildings Oct 14, 2011
Remodel Forum & Blog Finished Basements - Rebuilding her back Sep 22, 2011
Remodel Forum & Blog Building a decorative fence Jul 9, 2011

Share This Page