Building permits??

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Poehlman, Jan 30, 2002.

  1. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    What are the implications of not getting a permit to build my HT?

    I've called my city inspector anonymously and was told I would need to pay $50 with my drawing and projected cost (which I'm sure will get tacked onto the value of my home and thus increase my property tax) And, any plumbing/electrical would have to be done by a licenced contractor.

    But, reading through books, generally code dictates at least a 7' ceiling in living areas. With my basement, I am looking at a mere 6'9". So, I don't know if my plan would be approved. What if I just build the sucker anyway?
     
  2. Kurt B

    Kurt B Stunt Coordinator

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    I did some work long ago without getting a permit. The village I lived in found out about it, made me get a permit after the fact and did the inspection. All the work I did was within code.

    I'd double check the electrical/plumbing being done by a licensed contractor. Here, if the homeowner does it on his own home, the home owner can do it, without being a licensed contractor.

    I'm doing my own, but I've checked the local codes to ensure I'm in compliance.

    Good luck,

    Kurt
     
  3. MichaelGomez

    MichaelGomez Stunt Coordinator

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    Another thought is Home owners insurance. It might not be covered without the permits and electrical contractor.

    Mike
     
  4. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    If the work you do does not meet the local codes then you may have trouble selling the place. The buyer's inspector will list any code violations and it might turn people off if it's severe.

    And like Michael said...if anything like a fire or structural damage happens and it is determined that your unpermitted, uninspected work was at fault then insurance won't cover it.

    That said...I've done quite a bit of minor rewiring and rebuilding to my house that 1) meets local codes, and 2) was never permitted (allowed, but I didn't get a permit) or inspected. It's a matter of weighing the risks involved.

    To me it really depends on the overall cost of the job and what percentage of that would be taken up in the cost of the permit. I added an electrical circuit to my kitchen. The whole thing cost me about $12 and meets code. If I got the $50 permit... Not worth it. However, if I was going to be doing major wiring and structural work, I'd want an extra set of eyes in there to check my work. The $50 would be well spent on home theater construction.
     
  5. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Thanks for the input... I think I will start some of the prep work and maybe do some of the framing for now, that way I can still get a permit/inspection before the drywall goes up.
     
  6. BrettF

    BrettF Auditioning

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    Just a little more info re: getting a permit for finishing a basement. Once you've let your county know you're finishing your basement (since you've invited them in for an inspection), they can increase your real estate tax assessment. Since you've now increased the amount of "livable area" in your house, your house is more valuable, therefore your assessment can go up. If your assessment goes up, your taxes go up.

    I've seen this happen several times. Several of my friends had their assessments increase by tens of thousands of dollars after they had their finished basements inspected. This costs them several hundreds of dollars, every year.

    Now, this may not be the case in your locality. But if you live in an area with high real estate taxes, or in an area where housing is very expensive, this could be a consideration. You need to weigh this against other valid points presented (such as insurance coverage) when deciding whether or not to get a permit.
     
  7. Ross_Henderson

    Ross_Henderson Auditioning

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    A completely finished basement with LIVING space is required to have an exit window/door here. My buddy finished his basement as a living space floor and had to saw thru poured concrete walls and install an approved escape window.

    Keep the bedrooms out, maybe just an HT, and you won't get into that huge expense if your lucky where you live. Also, just an HT room down there, your ceiling height may be grandfathered (mine is low also).

    But remember that you will spend hours down there and may want an escape route. Hope your gas furnace/hot water heater isn't close to the only stairwell to the basement!!!!!!!!
     
  8. MarkMaestas

    MarkMaestas Agent

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    My advice...find out your local codes design your theater to meet the code and get the permit. It isn't worth risking the safety of you and your family or the possibility of having your homeowners insurance reject a major claim. It isn't worth the possibility that the city finds out and makes you redo it anyway. These are risks and headaches that you just don't need. In regards to the increase in your taxes, you can minimize this by estimating the improvement costs as conservatively as possible... especially if you are doing the work yourself. Most of the cost of the home theater is in the equipment which isn't part of ther home. The projector, screen, seats, etc. should be considered furnishings. After all, you will most likely take these with you if you ever moved. So, don't value it as a hamoe theater, value it as a basic finished basement.

    Good luck
     
  9. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    Study up on your local codes and just do the work.

    Granted, you want the work done right, but I for one don't need an inept government agency telling me what I can and can't do in my own house.

    ....uh-oh....I'm starting to sound like Neal Boortz.
     
  10. KrisM

    KrisM Second Unit

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    What if the basement is finished but I plan on doing some upgrading? The house I just bought has a finshed area, but it needs new flooring and the ceiling is in bad shape. No electrical or plumbing will be done. I don't plan on adding walls(in fact I might remove a bedroom wall to make the theater area bigger). Is this something I would need a permit for?

    Regards

    KrisM
     
  11. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    Odds and ends like that are something you have to check your local codes for. The vary tremendously here in the states, and I can only imagine how restrictive things are in Canada.
     
  12. Ross_Henderson

    Ross_Henderson Auditioning

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    KrisM,

    As they have said, check the codes. Removing a wall can get you into problems. Watch out for load supports. SInce we don't know your house plan, age, layout, structural design, blah blah, we can't even guess.

    You may just fall under "remodeling" not "rennovation". Here, that makes a difference.

    Ross
     
  13. KrisM

    KrisM Second Unit

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    The house was built in 1959. I am 99% sure that the wall is not load bearing. I would have it checked out before the wall meets mr. sledgehammer.[​IMG] There is an engineer in my family, so that is not a problem. I would post pics if I could but I don't move in 'till May. I'll look into the local codes. It is just one of a million things I have to take care of before the deal is closed.
    Thanks
    KrisM
     

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