Building Permits

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  #1  
Old 01-05-02, 08:26 AM
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Question Building Permits

Looking at trying to finish my basement with a friend, who is very handy, and I am debating about the need for a building permit. Several people have told me not to bother.

What are risks either way?

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 01-05-02, 10:38 AM
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The best advice is to contact your building permit department. If you do not need one, they will tell you. If you do need one they will tell you. If you do need one and you don't get one, and it does get discoveded which the chances are good that it will, you will get fined and have to redo everything not up to code.
 
  #3  
Old 01-05-02, 02:15 PM
L
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Jack is right. Only the folks at the bldg. dept. can tell you FOR SURE whether you need a permit or not. Don't rely on what you hear from other sources. Permit requirements and even codes vary from one jurisdiction to the next. It's part of what makes being a contractor fun!!
 
  #4  
Old 01-05-02, 04:08 PM
J
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I assume that you already know that a permit is required, and you are considering not getting one anyway. Many people do exactly that, but many people cheat on their income taxes too. There's a pretty good chance you can get away with both of these. A basement finish is probably the easiest work to do without getting caught, since it's all out of sight.

I recommend getting a permit. Why? Well the fact that the law requires it should be enough. But the fact is that you will almost certainly make some safety mistakes (even the experts do). The inspector may just save your life and your family's lives.

Other reasons are the possible impact on your ability to sell your house, to collect on your insurance in the event of a fire, to avoid losing a lawsuit if someone is injured, and just possibly to stay out of jail. If the lack of a permit is discovered, you will most likely be required to complete remove the improvements. At a minimum, you will be required to bring the entire basement up to the codes at the time the problem is discovered (not just the time the construction is done).

As a side benefit, your permit will entitle you to favorable sales tax breaks on your materials, and give you access to some very valuable advice and consulting from your building department. I found the inspectors ten times more helpful than annoying. The cost of the permit is usually quite reasonable.

I'm not always this preachy, but I'm sure you already knew what the right thing to do was and just needed some moral support.
 
  #5  
Old 01-10-02, 02:23 PM
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second thoughts

I read this post a while back, and thought to myself, "Why wouldn't I get a permit?" Well I guess I got my answer today. I found out it will cost me nearly $500 for the permit, not counting the elec (through the state). Does that sound correct? I will be finishing the entire basment (family,laundry,bath,2 beds). I assume the fee was based on the valuation I gave. If that is the case, why wouldn't I under value the work? Seems like a lot of money for a guy that just wants to do a little work on his basement in his free time? The fee works out to about 3.3 percent of the valuation. I don't know am I off base on this one? I want to follow the rules and do things by the book, but now I will have to come up with that money first. It would be different if I had a lump sum of money to work with or if I was borrowing the money. But I've decided to do "A little at a time". I guess my first couple of months are spoken for. Unless I do it without the permit (which everyone I talk to tells me to do). I just don't feel comfortable doing it that way.
Convince me here guys.
Thanks
Oh by the way. What are those tax breaks someone mentioned?
 
  #6  
Old 01-10-02, 05:19 PM
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Your 3.3% of valuation is about right for a permit fee -- actually probably lower than a lot of places. Ask about the sales tax break at your local Home Depot (or similar home improvement center). You should be able to fill out a form, give them your permit number, and avoid some of the sales taxes on your purchases. My experience is that you may be able to get most of that $500 back on sales tax savings. Let me know what you find out.
 
  #7  
Old 01-11-02, 01:23 PM
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A break on the sales tax because the work you're doing has a permit? THAT is also a local (or state) decision, just as the permit requirements vary from one place to the next. No such break exists in CA (is anybody suprised??)
 
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