home owners right to do his own plumming

Old 07-19-01, 09:48 AM
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I applied for permit with in 7 days of starting work on a new bathroom and several other items in my garage. The town took my check and told the permit wold be ready in a couple of days. 5 days later the pluming inspector called me and said I could not pull the permit. I had to have a plummers license.

By the time I got the call from the inspector all the rough plumming was done.

Do they have the right to tell me I can not do the plumming in my own house.

The inspector mentioned massachusetts general law number 142. I looked it up and all it appears to say is that you need to have a license to be in the business of plumming.

any info you can shed on this would be appreciated.

Old 07-19-01, 11:42 AM
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I'm not familiar with MA law, but in most places a homeowner can do any work that he chooses to do on his own home as long as it meets local code requirements.
Call your State Representative's Office (should be in your phone book) to clarify this with the State Plumbing Licensing Board.
Good Luck!

Old 07-20-01, 04:48 AM
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I have been reluctant to reply to this query since there are a number of touchy things involved.

However, this is an area where do-it-yourselfers can and do get into trouble, so here goes.

By the way, I was a contractor for fifteen years, though in a different state than Mass.

The "Old Guy" is correct in that generally, it is permissable for homeowners to do their own work. Like he says, you should seek advice on your rights from someone other than the local inspector.

He is also correct in that you must meet all local plumbing codes, but I would like to add some comments on your case.

Not only must you meet local codes, but you would also need to secure a permit. This allows the local municipality to review the scope of the work you intend to do and then provides the means of having that work inspected.

Even though you are likely to prevail in your right to do your own work, you may have created two large problems.

First, it sounds as if you began work before you had a permit in hand. If so, this is generally violates the plumbing regulations, and may adversely affect your dealings with the local plumbing authorities and getting the necessary permit issued.

Second, any work you do will have to be inspected, as I mentioned, which means the inspector you have already talked to will be coming to your job site. Ask yourself if you think he will be in a frame of mind to help you or hinder you.

So, besides seeking information on your state plumbing regulations, you may be faced with, at a minimum, returning to city hall and trying to mend some fences. Or, seeking a local conractor who can help smooth the way, while still allowing you to do the work. Or, as a last resort, you may have to seek legal counsel.

Whenever a homeowner attempts to do work that generally requires a permit, I would like to advise them to first talk to the agencies issuing the permit and try to insure that all the essential preliminaries are done before actual work begins.

How bad can it get? I know of a man in Oregon who attempted to build his own house. He was issued a permit, but the county cancelled it, claiming it was issued in error. While protesting the decision, the homeowner commenced construction and was able to get it fairly well along before the law stepped in. He was taken to court by the county, the court told him to stop, the bank pulled his financing, and the house was eventually torn down. The homeowner suffered financial ruin.

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