Hire someone to inspect work before code enforcement?

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  #1  
Old 12-18-14, 05:14 PM
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Hire someone to inspect work before code enforcement?

All,

First, I hope this is the correct forum under which to post this. If not, can you suggest where to post it?

Basically, I've been doing a home renovation for the past year. All the work, save for my licensed plumber neighbor replacing the old stop-and-waste valve, has been done by yours truly.

A few weeks ago, I learned from an HVAC guy that I will need to have a plumber out to pressure test my gas lines. In order to remove the meter lock from the utility company, he has to pull a permit, do the work, have it inspected, and then the utility folks will remove it.

Problem is, up until now, nothing has been done by a licensed electrician/plumber/HVAC crew. I've done everything, save for what I mentioned. My plumber neighbor did not pull a permit to do it.

Here's my problem: my city/county does not allow non-licensed individuals to do the work. I am not a licensed plumber/electrician/contractor.

However, I have no doubt my work is up to code. I've researched a ton of stuff and am confident that it will pass inspection.

What I'm curious about is, is there a type of contractor who will come out, and for a fee, look at my work and tell me everything is ok? I think they also need to be willing to vouch that the work is theirs, should code enforcement ask.

Does this sound feasible? If so, what kind of person am I looking for, ie what is this job called? Or am I going to have to find a willing plumber and electrician?

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 12-18-14, 05:20 PM
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is there a type of contractor who will come out, and for a fee, look at my work and tell me everything is ok?
Not an electrician...... not when his license is on the line.

As far as gas work.... I don't believe you need to be licensed to do gas work. There you can probably get a plumber to come in and pressure test the line for you.
 
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Old 12-18-14, 05:21 PM
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There are licensed contractors who will do that. How much they charge is another story. You may need separate contractors for each type of work.
 
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Old 12-18-14, 06:20 PM
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my city/county does not allow non-licensed individuals to do the work
I would go to the city building department and discuss this.
As a homeowner, you should be able to pull a permit as an Owner/Builder.
If the city restricts gas lines to qualified persons, I can understand that. But that's it. You should be able to work on electric, plumbing, structure, roofing, you name it. This is why you pay a fee and apply for a permit, so work is inspected and passed.
There is no reason in the world you should have to ask a pro to certify that they did work that was not performed by them. If you performed at a journeyman level, that's all that is required.

If there's no way around the gas issue, and it must be done by select contractors:

I would hire a plumber who is qualified.
Work you performed will be reviewed by them.
They will have the option to accept your work and perform additional work as required, such as pressure test. Or redo all your work plus additional work.
In no way though should this contractor say they performed the work you did.
Like I said, a visit to the city would be in order. This doesn't sound right.
 
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Old 12-18-14, 06:39 PM
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I would go to the city building department and discuss this.
As a homeowner, you should be able to pull a permit as an Owner/Builder.
I've been. And I do have a building permit. It is entirely possible I misunderstood them, but the gist I got was what I've posted. It seems ridiculous to me that I cannot do the work myself, so long as the work passes code.

My parents had an addition put on their home and the guys doing the work were not licensed tradesmen, but had been doing it for decades. Their work passed code, but the licensed electrician's did not.

I will go back to code enforcement and discuss this again. Thanks for the advice
 
  #6  
Old 12-19-14, 02:21 AM
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Some areas are really hard-nosed about anyone other than a licensed contractor doing anything. Taxachussetts is one state that comes to mind although I am sure there are others as well as counties and cities within otherwise more moderate states. In my opinion these areas exist because of very strong contractor organizations lobbying the legislative bodies to pass laws/ordinances in favor of the contractors much more so any thought of public safety. Some areas also look at permit fees as a source of revenue rather than a means of ensuring public safety.

On the other hand, there are areas that blissfully ignore any kind of codes, inspections, contractor licensing or what have you. In my opinion these are just as bad as the first example.

Fortunately, most areas recognize the need for standards and enact codes and the enforcement of those codes to ensure safety. Some jurisdictions will use the revenue from permits and inspections to further their general funds but for the most part I like to believe that those monies are retained in the permit and inspection bureaus to offset their operating costs. In these enlightened areas in most cases a homeowner MAY do the work on an owned property not used for public accommodation. This generally means working on the house you live in is acceptable but you may not do work on a house you rent to others that normally requires a licensed contractor unless you have a license to perform those jobs. In all cases the work MUST be done in accordance with the LOCAL codes and that includes obtaining the permit(s) and inspections as detailed in the code.

So, it is impossible to fully answer your initial questions because only someone living or working in your jurisdiction would know the local codes. I CAN offer what would likely be answers if I assume you do not have codes so restrictive as to bar homeowners from working on their own homes.

A few weeks ago, I learned from an HVAC guy that I will need to have a plumber out to pressure test my gas lines. In order to remove the meter lock from the utility company, he has to pull a permit, do the work, have it inspected, and then the utility folks will remove it.
Any fuel gas piping additions or changes generally will require a permit and inspection. Merely changing an appliance or a valve at the end of a run of piping generally does not require permit or inspection. (There ARE areas that would require permit and inspection of ANY work.) Testing of new piping is always part of the inspection but unless the entire job must be performed by a licensed person neither is the testing so required. What IS required is the inspector will verify that the test has been performed and passed satisfactorily. The method often used is to pressurize the system with air to some specified pressure for a specified period of time. In my area the pressure is 3 psi and you must use a gauge that the highest reading is no more than double the test pressure. The inspector will witness that the gauge has pressure and he/she will release some of the pressure to ensure the gauge is actually operational. Your pressure and time specifications may be different than mine.

Here's my problem: my city/county does not allow non-licensed individuals to do the work. I am not a licensed plumber/electrician/contractor.
More often than not this proscription applies to people that charge to do work for others and not to homeowners doing work for themselves. However, if it DOES apply across the board then you are simply up the creek without a paddle. If this is true in your area then there ia probably also at least one, and maybe several, independent inspectors/contractors that DO certify homeowner repairs and upgrades. The problem is in finding them. You can call the permit information desk of the local government and ask or you can call one of the government inspectors directly and ask.

I wish you well.
 
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Old 12-19-14, 04:29 AM
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What the others have said. If they issued you a permit as an owner, YOU are the general contractor, and YOU are responsible to have all the work done to code. I am quite certain in Tennessee, as here in Georgia, owners are allowed to do the work, or sub it out as necessary. YOU have to sign off on the permit, and the inspector will look at the work, sign it off as well, or red flag it, giving you the opportunity to correct it. You cannot cover anything up until the inspection is done. He/she has to see the complete installation for rough in. There will be more scheduled inspections as things progress.
 
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Old 12-19-14, 04:44 AM
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I'm pretty sure all of east tenn allows homeowners to do their own electrical work although some locales have stricter code enforcement than others. I would assume it's the same for the rest of the state although local restrictions always apply. I agree with Larry, if a licensed electrician was a requirement, they wouldn't have sold you the homeowner the permit. It's always been my understanding the only places that restrict homeowner permits/work are places that have a strong labor union presence.
 
  #9  
Old 12-19-14, 04:56 AM
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The original poster took out a building permit. I don't know about any area other than my own but here building permits are separate from plumbing permits, electrical permits, mechanical permits and on and on. If it is the same where he lives then a building permit would not have covered any fuel gas piping (a separate permit from plumbing usually) or electrical work.

As always, it really comes down to the LOCAL jurisdiction and what codes they have enacted into law.
 
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Old 12-19-14, 05:00 AM
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Here in east tenn a separate permit is required for electrical but a homeowner can pull the permit and do the work [on their own house only]
 
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