Previous owners DIY not to code


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Old 01-16-07, 10:12 PM
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Previous owners DIY not to code

I live in a 40 yr old ranch that has had several previous owners. I've come across many examples of DIY work that wasn't done to code (not necessarily unsafe) and obviously never permitted.

We are now planning an addition that will require inspections in several parts of the house.

If the inspector notices something outside of the permit work that was not done to code can he force us to address it?

I actually wouldn't mind having an inspector point things out. But I wouldn't necessarily want to spend the time and money to fix everything.

Also, I see many comments that insurance companies may not pay claims if unpermitted work is involved. How can they do that if the work was done by a previous owner?
 
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Old 01-17-07, 12:01 AM
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When you purchased the house was the time to address the possibilty of permit required work with no permit. If an inspector discovers non-permitted work, they can do anything from nothing to requiring the work to be removed or anything in between.

There are reasons for requiring permits and the usually accompanying inspections.
 
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Old 01-17-07, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by walkman View Post
If the inspector notices something outside of the permit work that was not done to code can he force us to address it?

Unless it is a safety issue he probably won't force action. A lot depends on both the inspector and his office - some are stricter than others. Codes change over the years so anything that was legal at the time the work was done would be grandfathered in.
 
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Old 01-17-07, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by nap View Post
If an inspector discovers non-permitted work, they can do anything from nothing to requiring the work to be removed or anything in between.

Is the requirement to: perform work to code OR get a permit? If work was done to code, but a permit was never obtained, can the inspector still require that it be taken out? Or can he just require that it be opened up so he can tell that it was done to code?
 
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Old 01-17-07, 07:36 AM
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A lot depends on what the work was. Most times old work won't be an issue unless it is readily apparent that it isn't safe or violates zoning. Permits gotten after work is started often cost double what they normally cost. The permit/zoning office has the authority to have unauthorized work removed but that isn't something they routinely do.

What type of uninspected, unpermitted work are you worried about the inspector seeing?
 
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Old 01-17-07, 11:34 AM
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I personally find this scenario pretty far-fetched, particularly inside the house. In a 40-year-old house, how would an inspector know if something wasn't up to code if he doesn't know when it was done? And how would he know whether or not a permit was even required for something done 40 years ago?? Just because it might be now doesn't mean it did then.

I've owned several houses that age and a couple even older, in half a dozen states. All had some amount of unpermitted work when I sold them because I did it, and this issue has never come up. Even on sellers' disclosure statements I've never seen a question about unpermitted work.
 
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Old 01-17-07, 11:00 PM
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First, like I said, I'd actually like to have unsafe things pointed out to me so I can make sure people are protected & I can address them as I'm able, but I sure would hate to have someone give me a lot of grief and expense, just because they can.

Ok, here are some examples. The stairs to the basement have too high a rise and don't have a proper landing or enough head clearance (these were original so I know they are ok). A new vanity was put into a bath that leaves too small a distance between it and the toilet by a few inches. I have come across an occasional wiring mistake where outlets aren't at the proper height, or where a junction box in the attic was not properly placed, etc. A support post was removed in the basement that expanded a span from 8' to 11' without changing the header - the supported weight doesn't display any sag or bounce.
 
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Old 01-18-07, 05:23 AM
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I wouldn't worry none, I wouldn't expect it to be a problem.
 
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Old 01-18-07, 09:03 AM
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Just FYI, there is no specific code requirement for outlet height.
 
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Old 01-18-07, 03:21 PM
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the only one of those I would truly be conxcerned about would be the support post being moved. Although you say there is no sag or sway, I still would be cautious of this.

It's not that I would be concerned about the code violation but the long term effects of the redistribution without verifying that it is ok.

A bigger concern would be when you may sell the house. Things like this can be a major point of contention.
 
 

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