worst case - no electric permit


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Old 06-05-06, 08:00 AM
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worst case - no electric permit

I live in a co-op. i am redoing my kitchen (new cabinets/floor/etc), and I will also be adding electric outlets. I am having afriend who was a professional elecrtician years ago, but is no longer licenced. I do not intend on getting a permit, since i am not telling my co-op board i am doing this (they will want a licenced contractor, everything, and I will be doing most of this myself for free so forget that). Question is, whats teh WORST case scenario if i dont get a permit? Is there any record of how many outlets I had in the kitchen previous, that can come back to bite me in the a$$ when i sell? they cant make me tear it down can they????? also anybody know whats the worst case if the co-op board finds out? thanks

fyi: i live in NYC if that matters, thanks again.
 
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Old 06-05-06, 08:09 AM
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The worst case scenario is that a fire happens, you are found guilty of manslaughter and go to jail for the rest of your life.

Do the right thing. Abide by the law.
 
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Old 06-05-06, 08:42 AM
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dont think a peice of paper saying i have permission to do it would help prevent a fire, but ok i get your point. Does anybod know if i would need a permit to replace kitchen cabinets or sink or floor? Wont be breaking walls, or changing plumbing.
 
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Old 06-05-06, 09:25 AM
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Short of the fire/manslaughter scenario you can expect that when it comes time for you to sell, the local building dept might block the sale. In most localities, they have to "sign off" on home sales and they won't if there has been electrical work done w/o a permit.
I once bought a house that had a deck built by the p/o without a permit. On the day of closing, I found out that the town would not sign off on the sale because the deck was not to code.
 
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Old 06-05-06, 09:35 AM
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LISTEN TO RACRAFT. Performing a DIY job on your own home is one thing (and carries its own legal issues), but when you are in an apartment or co-op, there is a lot more at stake.

That "piece of paper" is a contract that states you will be having licensed/insured contractors do the work, file the changes with the NYC Buildings Dept. (if need be) and have the work inspected. This way if there is a fire due to poor workmanship, you/the board cannot be held responcible; you did what the law requires.

You asked if there are any records to show what was there before; all buildings in NYC are required to have blueprints on file for structural, electrical, plumbing, etc., so yes, they can backtrack to see if alterations have been made.

Your co-op board may have restrictions as to what type of materials may be used in renovations (for example, you may not be allowed to put in a cermaic tile floor), so if you make changes and they don't like what they see, they can force you to remove it.

You're talking about getting new cabinets; I can't see you bringing out old cabinets/bringing in new ones without someone noticing and if it gets back to the board, believe me they'll come knocking. Just some friendly advice to think over.
 
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Old 06-05-06, 10:24 AM
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so your telling me you would pay $10,000+ to have somebody come redo your kitchen, when you are very capable of doing it yourself for free?
 
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Old 06-05-06, 12:41 PM
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No one on this site is going to advise it is OK to break the law. It doesn't matter how much it costs you or how many different ways you ask the question.
In almost every juristiction it is not legal to do electrical work in a rented house, apartment or condo unless you are a licensed electrician.
 
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Old 06-05-06, 01:18 PM
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I have see some area where have no permits and the result was pretty messy and some case if the inspector did show up and maybe ask to remove the items and get it correct to meet the codes.

just about everywhere they will ask for permits if you are in city or country one way or other the inspectors will find a way.

please for everyone sake do not try to break any law or codes it is written for everyone safety.

we dont give out any advise if we feel that will endanger someone or will result damaged property.

the cost of getting permit in first time is peanuts comepared to the mess you have to go thru twice for time and materails and aggeravie [ ticked off ] .

again i will say just get the permit and do the right thing it will really save your life.


and OP if you are in CO-OP area someone will report on you and the CO-OP board members can do something in their power do do something get it safe.


dont get me wrong but here in this forum there are some spot we will leave this to pro electrician and related trades due alot of code have to cover it.

Merci , Marc
 
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Old 06-05-06, 01:19 PM
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Most places allow you to get a permit and do some work yourself without a licensed contractor. Are you certain that you need a licensed contractor for the entire job? If so, then you are in a tough spot. Perhaps you will only need a contractor for specific parts of the job; like electrical -- you could do flooring and cabinets yourself.

You initially asked what was the worst possible outcome of unpermitted work:

* you can end up in legal trouble with the co-op, possibly a lawsuit, breach of contract, eviction, etc.
* the building/code enforcement department could revoke the certificate of occupancy (condemn) the property and force you to rip out the construction or prove (at your expense) that everything is up to code and pay fines
* insurance companies will track you down if there is ever a fire attributed to the unpermitted work
* the district attorney will file manslaughter charges if anyone died as a result of that fire

Knowing the risks, the choice is yours. Your situation is different than most in that you live in a highly regulated area and in what I assume is a multi-unit building.
 
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Old 06-05-06, 01:31 PM
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[inappropriate request removed.]
 

Last edited by racraft; 06-05-06 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 06-05-06, 04:46 PM
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james88, you are in NYC. I would not mess around down there. I cannot even say if it is legal to do work even on your own house down there. I do know they want a license for EVERY little thing you could possibly do construction/renovation wise. IMO it is corruption to the highest level.

That being said, I would let your co-op know what you want to do and see if it is something you can legally do yourself.
I have no idea how co-ops work so IMO that is your safest bet.

Good luck to you, or anybody else, who has to have construction/renovation work done down there. I DO NOT envy you.
Been there, done that, DO NOT want to do it again!
 
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Old 06-05-06, 06:58 PM
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Worst case senirio.... You put in jeopardy other people who live in the building, then your self. then comes the fact that if your insurance co. finds you made changes without their knowledge and somthing goes wrong..you get nothing.. The other owners sue you....BLAH>>BLAH>>>BLAH...The good news... You saved $.......... Keep it in perspective.


For anyone to be so selfish as to make changes in any form that could harm others to save a buck ($) is unacceptable.
This is not to say that you can't upgrade your investment,
Just to state we need to consider all that are around us.
And understand and accept are limits.

Do what you can, and protect yourself and others.
 
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Old 06-05-06, 10:39 PM
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For the record, WORST-CASE scenario would be to spend all the money on the permits, inspections, and licensed contractor and mistakes happen and everything still burns down. But at least this time, you don't go to jail.
 
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Old 06-06-06, 06:03 AM
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Pretty simple really.

If you live in an area where you cannot do any work yourself, legally, find out what you do and don't need a permit for, and hire a pro. Sounds like in your case, no matter where you are, you'd need a permit if it's an apartment.

If you live in an area which allows you to do the work yourself, educate yourself and do the work, but get the permit.

Or bite the bullet and hire a pro for an outrageous fee, at least compared to 'free'.

I recently had my panel upgraded, did the work myself with my electrician friend. Inspected and passed.

So while the inspector was there I asked what they looked for during an inspection of the wiring (I plan to upgrade throughout the house from K&T to Romex). He said they check the rough in's to make sure you have 8 in. of wire, 1 in of jacket in the box. So I said 'anyting else'? He said if that looks good they usually stop there. Asked if they check splices in j-boxes. No. Asked if they check to see if circuits are overloaded. He say usually no.

What a dumbass. Our tax dollars at work. So the catch 22 here is that if I do my own work, it doesn't get 'really' inspected anyway.
 
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Old 06-06-06, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by fuente
What a dumbass. Our tax dollars at work. So the catch 22 here is that if I do my own work, it doesn't get 'really' inspected anyway.

The point is that it is your family that dies in the fire if you do shoddy work, not an appartment building full of other people's families.
If the inspector has reason to doubt your abilities, they can nit pick your entire installation. As far as splices, if they are in an approved box, then it is ok, what else would you have them check?...the torque on the wirenuts?...that you didn't accidentally miswire something? Overloaded circuits...will result in nusance tripping of breakers. A lot of inspectors will check wire gauge on breakers to make sure it is correct. However, there is nothing to prevent someone from then changing a 20A 12GA circuit to 14GA as soon as it is out of site of the panel. Bottom line is that they look at the quality of the work performed to determine how closely to scrutinize it. If it is sloppy and there are blatent code violations, then they will look harder. If it is neat and there are no blatent code violations, then they assume that the person is knowledgable about installing electrical system.
 
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Old 06-06-06, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by scott e.
The point is that it is your family that dies in the fire if you do shoddy work, not an appartment building full of other people's families.
If the inspector has reason to doubt your abilities, they can nit pick your entire installation. As far as splices, if they are in an approved box, then it is ok, what else would you have them check?...the torque on the wirenuts?...that you didn't accidentally miswire something? Overloaded circuits...will result in nusance tripping of breakers. A lot of inspectors will check wire gauge on breakers to make sure it is correct. However, there is nothing to prevent someone from then changing a 20A 12GA circuit to 14GA as soon as it is out of site of the panel. Bottom line is that they look at the quality of the work performed to determine how closely to scrutinize it. If it is sloppy and there are blatent code violations, then they will look harder. If it is neat and there are no blatent code violations, then they assume that the person is knowledgable about installing electrical system.
I understand the original poster's issue. My point was that the inspection isn't really and 'inspection' in the true sense of the word. And in my area, no sale will ever get stopped due to non-permitted work, and no buyer cares either.

So that is why so many people don't pull permits. If you are comfortable with your abilities, and you're doing the work, and the inspection really catches nothing, and if the house burns down you're liable (either way - permitted or not because you're doing the work)...then why waste the money and time? Because it they aren't really checking anything, then what am I paying them for? Revenue for the city, plain and simple.

There is absolutely no incentive to pulling a permit if you are doing the work yourself, in this case.
 
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Old 06-06-06, 11:31 AM
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I tend to agree. Wiring up a couple of recepticles is not rocket science and no one is ever going to have a count of how many there were in the first place. I don't know about NY but in MA if you are the owner you can do all the shoddy unsafe work you want perfectly legal. If not your property then you have to have a licenced electrician pull a permit to screw in a lighbulb just about. I mean fires and manslaughter charges are about as likely as getting hit by lightning.
 
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Old 06-06-06, 11:34 AM
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Short of the fire/manslaughter scenario you can expect that when it comes time for you to sell, the local building dept might block the sale. In most localities, they have to "sign off" on home sales and they won't if there has been electrical work done w/o a permit.
Oh please. I've bought and sold houses all over the country and this has never been an issue. I've also never gotten a permit for any inside work. And I've never filled out a disclosure statement that even asked about unpermitted work.
 
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Old 06-06-06, 11:34 AM
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If you are comfortable with your abilities, and you're doing the work, and the inspection really catches nothing, and if the house burns down you're liable (either way - permitted or not because you're doing the work)...
Agreed, but what about your insurance company. If you have a fire caused by electrical work done w/o an inspection or a permit they are just going to walk away from it.
If your insurance company finds out you've done electrical work w/o a permit, they will not renew your HO insurance.

I don't know where you live, but my local inspector is pretty thorough. He doesn't inspect my jbox wiring, but he does make sure that circuits are the right amperage and the correct devices are installed. On the final inspection he tests outlets, lighting etc.
 
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Old 06-06-06, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Wayne Mitchell
Agreed, but what about your insurance company. If you have a fire caused by electrical work done w/o an inspection or a permit they are just going to walk away from it.
If your insurance company finds out you've done electrical work w/o a permit, they will not renew your HO insurance.

I don't know where you live, but my local inspector is pretty thorough. He doesn't inspect my jbox wiring, but he does make sure that circuits are the right amperage and the correct devices are installed. On the final inspection he tests outlets, lighting etc.
that is a possiblity, yes, but not an absolute by any means. It all goes back to your abilities. A fire will not happen if you do things right. Like another poster said, it's not rocket science. It's pretty basic and you really have to be ignorant or stupid to do work that would cause a fire. Stupid to not follow code or safety, and ignorant to not learn before you do any work.

One follows the other.
 
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Old 06-06-06, 11:58 AM
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If your insurance company finds out you've done electrical work w/o a permit, they will not renew your HO insurance.
Baloney. In the first place, even before I do any work on my 50-year-old house they have no way to know what might've been done (permitted or otherwise) in the past. In the second place, how would they ever find out what I did? No insurance agent of mine has ever been inside any of my houses.
 
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Old 06-06-06, 12:59 PM
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The stated purpose for permits is to ensure safety. That may be, but the underlying purpose is to provide a basis for taxing improvements and in some jurisdictions ensuring work for trades (flame me now or flame me later).

Work done to code, in a competent manner, without a permit is not more likely to cause property damage, loss, or injury than work done with a permit.

That said, everybody here is right with their comments, "jail", "baloney", and otherwise. The bottom line is that in not getting a permit, you avoid costs now but you assume additional liability and may incur future costs. These may or may not exceed what you're saving now. Generally in my jurisdiction authorities are not draconian. They apply a fee after the fact (for example when the house is sold) and require inspection by a licensed contractor.

There are millions of dwellings in the US. There are anecdotes of course, but can anyone provide statistics showing that houses modified under permit are less likely to burn down than all the rest? Generally speaking isn't K&T wiring done under permit in the early 1900s likely to be more hazardous than romex installed now by a homeowner, without a permit?
 
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Old 06-06-06, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgMeMatey
Generally speaking isn't K&T wiring done under permit in the early 1900s likely to be more hazardous than romex installed now by a homeowner, without a permit?

Yes and No. I have seen some very scary romex installs that, had there been a permit and inspection, would have been rejected immediately. An inspection will not find every problem, but it can definitely find some big ones. Just look at the questions on this site as proof that there needs to be inspections. "Can I splice a wire together without a box?", "Do I have to use wire nuts or is twist and tape enough?", "Can I direct bury an extension cord to power my pool pump?" "Can I wire my new 40A welder with 14Ga wire I have laying arround?", etc. At least these people know enough to ask questions here. How much other work gets done by people who don't know enough to ask?
It all boils down to the quality of the installation. If someone is going to say "screw the rules, I want to save a buck", or "I don't have time to do it right" then they will not follow the code anyway and need to be inspected. A person who wants to do a quality job and has done the research, may not need inspected. But you never know what type of person you have until you go out and look at their work.
 
 

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