Originally Posted by Glimmie
Well doing inside work off permit is one thing. But how is the OP going to add a second story above the garage and keep the work hidden. True, an inspector would need a court order to come into a house and look around but an obvious project visible from the street is another matter. They can issue a cease work order and if ignored they could have you arrested.
My ht was an addition to the house as well. There was no way I could have done that off permit. What did do was to permit and build out a "recreation room". Once signed off I did the internal HT buildout. Legal? I guess technically not but at least the structure is engineered and approved. My reasoning right or wrong as that the HT build is just decorating. There is nothing structural involved.
TARPS! I'll wrap the house in a giant fumigation tent, build under cover of night, then pull the cover off in the spring and be like "What? It was always that tall."
In my city, there is an assessment done every five years or so to verify internal finished square footage for tax liability. You can refuse them entry, but then they "guess", and your refusal removes your ability to appeal. There are some projects (swapping outlets, room upgrades, etc.) that are well within my abilities, but it's the big ones where the city really should be involved. I purposefully kept my shed under 10'x12', and my retaining wall under 4' tall so I didn't have to pull permits, per the city.
For this build, I'm getting an engineer involved not just to keep the city from getting butthurt, but to ensure the safety of my family, friends, and property. First quote on a PE was $150 an hour-not bad, but still looking.
Originally Posted by Mfusick
There's a difference between doing the same quality work but not taking a permit and half-assing it.
Depends on the work being done. If you have a home that used to be a 3 bedroom, and you added an egress window to make the basement den into a 4th bedroom, you could do all the work yourself, and it could be every bit as good as a contractor would do. However, when it comes time for the city, your insurance company, or a potential buyer ask some question, a lack of permit can cause some unpleasant situations if someone decides the work is suspect because the Almighty Piece of Paper isn't present.
Pulling permits is another expense I'd rather not incur, especially when the city isn't being hired to provide the service in question, but it's very cheap insurance that shifts long term liability off of me and onto the city. Plus, they've got enough reasons to be annoyed with me.