Bulk drywall delivery gets me CAUGHT! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 04:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I took the morning off this past Friday to wait for HD to delivery (45) sheets of drywall and (6) sheets of pegboard. The guy was 45 minutes late when he arrived I walked outside to wait for him to forklift the stuff off the truck. Just then I saw a white SUV drive by with some sort of symbol on the side! The guy in the SUV came back, walked up to my garage where I am storing the drywall and asked me what I was doing. I should have asked for ID or something when I told him I was drywalling my basement he read me the riot act because I didn't have a permit to work in my basement!!!! Just my luck.

I got a written violation and I had to submit drawings and fill out an application for the necessary permits with-in 24 hours. Now I have to wait for these guys to get back to me on inspections both structural and electrical. What a bunch of crap. The only reason they do this is so they can clip me for the fees and re-assess my tax's. I think it's just ridiculous but I am stuck now. I have everything framed, wired, insulated and ready to Sheetrock over my vacation next week....now I have to wait for the inspections and re-inspections in case they find something they make me fix.

This ever happen to anyone else? I guess it really doesn't matter but I just wanted to vent my frustrations and wanted everyone to learn from my mistake. If you are trying to do your work "under the radar" don't do bulk deliveries during a weekday when local building inspectors are out driving around looking for trouble. I made the rest of my HD trips for lumber and other materials at night after work or on the weekends and in small loads.

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post #2 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 05:33 AM
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Your lucky you didn't get caught after you had the drywall up.
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post #3 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
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"Your lucky you didn't get caught after you had the drywall up."

That's true but the drywall is last big step in the project material wise. It would be pretty unlikely to get caught with paint, trim or carpet.

Randy

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post #4 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 06:51 AM
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"The only reason they do this is so they can clip me for the fees and re-assess my tax's"

Having them inspect and certify the structural integrity and mechanical portion of the basement covers your hind end in the event that you make an insurance claim for your house being destroyed. There are plenty of code books out there that outline specific things that must be done during installation and construction to ensure the safety of yourself and others, as well as the house.

I'd consider this a good thing that you got caught, especially if you ever plan to sell your house. I'd hate to be in your shoes explaining to the local inspector why you have a finished basement w/ no permit, and then having to explain to the potential buyers that you'll have to tear the basement up for it to be inspected.

I share your grumblings about the taxes, but again, the code books can help you there as well in determining what constitutes as a "finished" basement as opposed to a partial basement. It's amazing how much an unfinished HVAC room can save you in not only material costs, but on your taxes as well.
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post #5 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
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liquidh2o:

My basement will definitely only be partially finished. There is so much mechanical stuff that the only place I could easily build walls was in the center of the basement. It's sort of a room with-in a room design with only (1) wall being close (3" inches because of a drain pipe) to an outside wall.

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post #6 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 08:23 AM
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If they came to inspect when your drywall is up you may have had to take it down for them to see the wiring/plumbing.

My town also assesses a hefty fine for those who are caught w/out a permit. The permit protects you and any future buyer of your home. I have heard of those in my area having a lot of trouble selling their homes when they have finished their basements w/out a permit.
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post #7 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 09:46 AM
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Just how much do these permits and inspections cost in your guys' areas anyway?


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post #8 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 09:55 AM
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I can't really feel for you on this one. You should have had the permits to start. You really only have yourself to blame for whatever delays it costs you now.
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post #9 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 10:04 AM
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Sure, inspections can be a good thing from a safety standpoint, but anyone that thinks it's not 100% about dollars is kidding themselves.
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post #10 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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chirpie, I just got back from paying for my electrical permit $70. I didn't get the building permit yet as it's a different guy and a different fee. Plus I don't think that fee incluses the inspection itself. What a racket!

siropa, thanks for the opinion...you know what those are like.

Randy

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post #11 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 10:24 AM
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Chirpie,

Around here (NJ), it's not really about the permit fees - they tend to be pretty low (based on a small percentage of the overall project cost), and any cost for inspection is absorbed by the fees and/or your property taxes. It's more about letting the township know that you're increasing the value of your home, so your property taxes are increased proportionally.

That being said, I don't do un-permitted work on my place. It's just not worth the risk.

Best regards,

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post #12 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 10:45 AM
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I pulled the permit for peace of mind but it costs a lot for sure. First, I need to deposit $500 which will be reimbursed when everything is done. Then there is a building plan permit which is $50 everytime you make "any" changes. $50 minimum each for elec, plumb, mech, framing and insulation for rough inspections. Then after everything is done there is another round of elec, plumb, and mech for final inspections, but these are included in the fees for roughs. I made changes twice so it was $150 including the original plan and about another $300 for rough/final inspections. so, total of $450-500 paid for fees. Now, that does not include any possible reinspection(s) which is $50 minimum each. I am waiting for the round of rough inspections.

In my opinion, it is ridiculously expensive and I can fully understand if people stay away from pulling permits just because of the fees themselves, let alone tax increase. I did it anyway since the subdivision is very new and somehow I got an impression that somebody will report it if I'd do it w/o permits and it will really sting once it happens here.
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post #13 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 10:58 AM
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Don't you realize your government just wants to protect YOU, we just have your best interests at heart. You couldn't possibly determine if a home were built correctly and to code without us.

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post #14 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 11:13 AM
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Yeah, I finished mine recently and the plumber asked if I had been contacted by inspector yet. (drywall and carpet done) I said no and he told me that there were several people who had gotten busted lately.

Glad mine is done, I'll worry about resale when the time comes!
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post #15 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 12:35 PM
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I happily paid the inspection fees. Without the inspections my insurance is useless and the future value of my home is suspect if I don't have permits for my work. I also had significant engineering and structural work done so it gave me peace of mind to know that another set of experienced eyes were looking at my contractor's work. Keeps the contractors honest too.

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post #16 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 02:04 PM
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Keeps the contractors honest too
Yes. There's a local television show called "Holmes On Homes" which is about fixing what other contractors botched. The lead character keeps saying "No building permit. That's the first indication of likely shoddy work."

I know my structural engineering skills are awful. Or more to the point I've said things that subsequently were reviewed by structural engineers who said that'll get people killed (BTW, it's not ok to add a load bearing wall under a random point in a truss). Building Code is the result of coroner's inquests. If I die due to a mistake, I'd like it to be for something that someone else hasn't paid for before me. I think competent awake building inspectors are quite convenient.

An amateur built the Ark. Titanic was built by professionals. Of course Noah took a little advice.
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post #17 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 04:48 PM
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So I guess I'm a bit confused. For example, what would constitute electrical work? As in, at what point is it just someone showing up and putting three new lights in and needing a permit?

If the electrician is licenced and has passed the NEC test, etc., who's to say the inspector isn't worse? I was there when my house was inspected after it was built and it was a joke how much time he spent looking over the house. (I'm not kidding, 10 minutes for the whole thing including walking the exterior.)

Just askin'.

Also, is it my job or my electrician, plumber, drywaller, etc. to get the permits? I haven't gotten to those parts yet so I'm just wonderin'.

While we're at it, doesn't your house get appraised every year regardless anyway? This is my first year of home ownership and I'm feeling woefully naivé.

Thanks!


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post #18 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 05:15 PM
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I believe that theoretically, any electrical work requires a permit, unless your work involves just plugging in certified cords and such.

Around these parts, there are two kinds of electrical permits - there is the permit a licensed electrician can pull, and there is the permit a homeowner can get. So an electrician can get a permit to do work anywhere, but a non-electrician can only get a permit for his own residence. In my case, I had an electrician do some work (220V wiring for a sauna, and pulling some complex runs across the house), and I did the majority of the rest of the work. The electrician started out by saying we would need TWO permits - one for his work, and one for mine. After he saw my work, he changed his mind and said he'd let me do all my work under his permit, essentially making me an apprentice. Once you have the permit, you have to schedule an inspection before your walls are closed, and another one after all the final electrical work is done.

In my last house, I built my basement without any permits. It was not a problem when I sold it - I told the realtor there was no permit for the basement, and he didn't care. I told the prospective buyers as well, just in case the realtor was being dishonest, and they didn't care either. Nor did the city care. They DID care that our final grading certificate for the lot wasn't done - the buyer's lawyers found that during the title search (we had already informed them of that anyway - snafu with the city).

In my new house, I decided to get permits. I'm not sure if I should have, as it cost us a few hundred bucks and will cost us more in taxes, but I just had a bad feeling about it in the other house, and didn't want to worry about it.


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post #19 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 05:55 PM
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I'm by no means an electrician (not even close), but I would venture to say I know at least as much as my local inspector. My entire township has one inspector for EVERYTHING. I started my basement project with the intention of getting all the permits, but after talking with this guy and speaking with others in town about him, I realized it wasn't even close to being worth it. He couldn't even give me any kind of documentation about local codes.
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post #20 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 06:48 PM
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in my neck of the woods in Jersey you're required to have a certified electrician do work on anything that has 10 or more volts going through it. It's the electricians responsibility to get the permit but ultimately it's your butt so I'd make sure he gets one and shows it to you.

As for getting around paying big $$ for a certified electrician, I was able to wire up all my electrical outlets and recessed lighting on my own, and I paid the electrician to install the breakers and to hook up the romex I had run. Total cost was under $50 for the electrician.
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post #21 of 129 Old 12-20-2004, 10:10 PM
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We don't need no stinkin permits here.

Just common sense to have inspections which are very inexpensive.
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post #22 of 129 Old 12-21-2004, 12:57 AM
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When I bought my home in Westchester NY the previous owner built a whole addition to the home without permits or anything. When I got the plans from the city of the home they did not show the addition on them. When my house was inspected by the Inpectors, Title Company, etc. no one even Noticed or Cared the addition was not on the Plans. Obviously I didn't care either, I looked at it Like "Hey I'm getting more space for the Money, Tax Free".

After I bought the home, I Finished the whole basement, Built a movie theater in it installed a Sunken Jacuzzi in the basement, Installed a bathroom, installed a 750 gallon reef Aquarium, which required re-routing of Ducts because it was built in the wall and it was all plumbed from the First floor to the Basement. I also installed a 30 x 15 foot wall of glass in front of the house and a large waterfall with extensive landscape lighting all this with and without contractors and all this without permits.

When I sold the home 4 years later No One cared about anything that was added, even for the amount of money they were paying to buy it. Also it got re-inspected by several inpectors when I was selling it for Title companies, New Buyer, etc. and no one asked anything.


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post #23 of 129 Old 12-21-2004, 04:29 AM - Thread Starter
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SandmanX, that's been my experience in the past. I sold a townhouse 2 1/2 years ago that had a finished basement when I bought it and it was done without permits. Nobody said anything about permits when I sold the house, not the prospective buyers, not any of the real estate agents, none of the home inspectors. In fact the basement was done very nicely and my real estate agent told me that it sold the house.

Randy

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post #24 of 129 Old 12-21-2004, 04:57 AM
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Just to illustrate how different local codes/regulations can be -- liquidh2o and I both live in NJ. He's apparently in South Jersey, and I'm in NorthWest Jersey. liquidh20 tells us that he lives in an area where anything with 10 volts or more going through it requires a "real" electrician. Up by me, a homeowner can pull a permit to do any electrical work he/she likes as long as it's within his/her own house. For example, the electrical permit I pulled allowed me to install a subpanel and wire up all the new circuits needed in my basement remodel.

I'm not allowed, however, to pull a permit to do electrical work on anyone else's home because I'm not a "real" electrician.

Although the rules vary from municipality to municipality, the bottom line is the building codes exist to help keep you and others safe.

Good luck,

Dwight
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post #25 of 129 Old 12-21-2004, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Although the rules vary from municipality to municipality, the bottom line is the building codes exist to help keep you and others safe.
Well... They also exist to:

1. Keep tradespeople employed.
2. Cover the city's butt
3. Act as a way to uncover work that should be taxed.
4. Buy support of trade unions.
5. Placate other special interests.

I remember a university working on a plan to build 'modular' housing. They had these neat composite walls that had plumbing and wiring molded into them. They had press fittings so that walls would 'plug together' and all the connections would be made. They gave up on the project when they discovered that the myriad building codes across the nation made it simply impossible to design a 'one size fits all' infrastructure. Specifically, they pointed to numerous municipalities that outlaws the use of press together fittings, demanding that all fittings be threaded. Since press fittings are used all over the world with great success, their conclusion was that this was a deliberate attempt to prevent automating these things so a union worker would stay in the loop.

New York seems especially bad for this. I cancelled attending a trade show there once when I discovered all the rules, regulations, and kickbacks that were required just to get your equipment delivered from the loading docks. All done to benefit union workers.


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post #26 of 129 Old 12-21-2004, 11:04 AM
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With or without the permit. The main thing is do your work according to the local codes. I am sure we all know some people that they build addition or alternating their "INSPECTED" work (once passed by inspection) to code violated work. And some people build the additon according to the code and never get the work inspected.
I guess it's all up to the individuals and where they live.
Ken

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post #27 of 129 Old 12-21-2004, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by chirpie
So I guess I'm a bit confused. For example, what would constitute electrical work? As in, at what point is it just someone showing up and putting three new lights in and needing a permit?
You can replace a fixture or device without a permit, but are supposed to pull one any time you pull wire.

Quote:

If the electrician is licenced and has passed the NEC test, etc., who's to say the inspector isn't worse?
Many of the boxes installed by the builders in my home aren't flush, have more than 1/8" of gap to the drywall, the wires are too short so changing things is a PITA, etc. I had grounding problems in the basement wiring (fried some equipment), although I think that was added by a previous owner without consulting a code book.

Quote:

While we're at it, doesn't your house get appraised every year regardless anyway? This is my first year of home ownership and I'm feeling woefully naivé.
It's a statistical thing. Adding finished square footage increases your assesed value at $X/square foot even if future buyers would pay less for a home theater than an unfinished basement they can use as a shop....
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post #28 of 129 Old 12-21-2004, 05:18 PM
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It's all a scam!!! If the local building inspectors held the original builders to the same level of workmanship they hold Joe homeowner to, at least 90% of homes would not pass their original inspections.
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post #29 of 129 Old 12-21-2004, 05:21 PM
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I hate it when that happens!
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post #30 of 129 Old 12-21-2004, 06:25 PM
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As an electrician, I have to deal with permits and inspections all the time, including the "does-this-job-require-a-permit?" debate. While it can be a pain, I stlll appreciate the process.

Whether done by pro or homeowner, the work the specialty trades do (electric, HVAC, plumbing, framing, etc.) can have dire costs when done improperly, in both human safety and potential loss-of-property.

The permit process can save countless hours and dollars by catching errors in the planning stage, in both methods and materials, before the work is done and, perhaps, redone (a real pain!).

The point is that, while the professional is legally responsible for his work and consequences, the homeowner often has to be protected from himself. As in most areas, homeowners may do their own work.

The permit application is a revenue source, sure, but it also can stop dangerous work from even beginning. Plans can be a pain to produce, but they force one to plan out the details.

Around these parts, as in most areas, the permit fee includes the inspection costs. No permit, no inspection, no chance to stop shoddy and potentially dangerous work, and no legal recourse.

On more than one occasion, I've stopped someone from burning down their own, or a friend's or relative's house. A recent one was a guy who was going to run a range circuit using #12 (because it's cheaper than #6).

It's true that inspectors often assume the pro will do work the amateur might overlook. It's not unfair, it's reasonable. How many homeowners know about, say, box fill, or grounding requirements, or . . .

I've had an inspector look at a breaker panel I made up, and passed the entire house, even before he knew I was licensed (my ex father-in-law's gutted and rebuilt house - he pulled the permits)

I've also had inspectors check every single box for everything, actually measure cable stapling spacing, etc., even after knowing I was licensed. There's no one rule (so to speak), and every inspector has his own way.

For the most part, I'm on a first-name basis with almost half of the inspectors in my area, as well as the two main head inspectors (city and county). They'll check a few main things, like grounding, etc., but they know my work.

Overall, I like the process more than I hate it, because either the homeowner has to be protected from himself, or he has to be protected from the professional. In either case, it's nothing personal (unless you piss him off!)

Oh, one other thing; it's not workmanship (in the asthetic sense) that the inspector cares about, it's the safety factor. It's up to the customer to insist that fit and finish be done to his standards. Be assertive; it's your money!

Larry

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