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Village Permits and other Home Improvement BS
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Moogs
Hates the Infotainment
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2010-06-28, 16:05

So we need some patio repairs (resetting brick pavers, some minor cement work on a stoop) and a very minor extension (like 18" worth maybe), that I'm not qualified to handle myself because i don't have a diamond blade brick saw and fun stuff like that. When we had our fence put in, of course that borders other people's property and so you don't take any chances there, making sure all the village takes the plat out there, checks the lines, gives you a permit. However I discovered even for replacing an old patio on the exact same spot, they want 2% of the cost of the project for a fee. Sorry but fuck that. Because of scheduling it's at least a couple months away but my question is, has anyone ever skipped on a village permit for a small home improvement job that didn't involve knocking out walls, fire codes, etc... and then get caught? If so curious as to what they can do. Just charge you the same fee anyway? Take you to the slammer? I feel this is a good opportunity for me to fail in my civic duties and save a couple hundred bucks on the village and the contractor who wants to "take care of it all" for another $50.

Not like I'm evading income taxes. I can also feign ignorance ("But but but... it's the same damn materials being put on the same spot on my property. I never dreamed I would need a permit for THAT! Can I offer you an authentic S. African Vuvuzela as a token of my contrition? ")

...into the light of a dark black night.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2010-06-28, 16:14

I'm not sure what they would do. I assume it's somewhere between "same fee price" and incarceration.

In other words: a fine hefty enough to ensure it would never happened again.

Think about it...if they caught you after the fact and just charged you the regular 2% as a "fee", what would keep everyone from doing it, and bypassing all the front-end stuff? People would opt to roll the dice, knowing that they might not have to pay anything, but, if they did, it wouldn't be any more than what they were originally looking at.

A fine/punishment has to be more than that (otherwise it's neither a fine or punishment), so just know that going in. They might hit you up with $4,000 or something nutty (which is still a damn sight better than being the new human jungle gym/penis receptacle at county lockup).

Off-topic (click to toggle):
I flew out to KC last year to help my friend put up a picket fence in her yard. We didn't have permits, but we were replacing an existing fence that was all nasty, splintered and rotten. A lady from the city office stopped by one morning, as we were screwing up the horizontal railing and asked us. My friend explained the situation (and fudged a few minor details in regards to timing and so forth) and the lady said "oh, okay...just checking".



I guess you could replace, but not rebuild new? We were using the same inground, concreted 4x4 vertical posts, but all the horizontals and pickets were new, freshly-painted wood. I guess that somehow fell under an exemption? To this day, my friend never heard back from them and never received a citation or fine in the mail.

We did the whole "feign ignorance" thing (which I'm really good at, with barely any practice ), and I think it might've saved our butt. That an my friend's class-a bullcrapping skills and way with words.
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Moogs
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2010-06-28, 16:45

Yah I can't imagine it would be a huge fine. At worst they could double it to 4% maybe (obviously it would be more but then again I can't help but feel this is one that would be easily talked out of trouble - kinda like your situation).

Secondarily, it's in my back yard, behind 7' of solid fencing. The trick would be to luck out and not have any village inspectors roving around when the big truck is unloading the palette of pavers. I don't have contact with any neighbors but I've ever done a thing to any of them either (including harsh words) so can't imagine someone would call the village on me if they didn't see a permit in the window. One thing people around here don't seem to do is snoop around other people's b'ness. They may gossip like little redneck bitches, but I don't think they would rat me out.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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El Gallo
Formerly “MumboJumbo”
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
 
2010-06-28, 19:36

Permitting can be a big deal for a number of reasons. First at some point in the future you will have to sell the house and when things on paper don't match things in reality, it gets messy. Second, when selling such items, you have to disclose and attest to all manner of information because people will be loaning other people lots of money to buy said house.

It might be as simple as noting there is non-permitted work in the description of the house but then again, ask yourself if you were laying everything down on the biggest asset most people have, are you going to trust the work of lay persons performed goodness knows when under who knows what circumstances.

I'm not saying those negative insinuations would apply to you personally, just that future buyers might apply them toward you and your property when pondering a purchase in the future.
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jdcfsu
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Florida
 
2010-06-28, 19:46

I would never do any work without a permit for the reason mumbo jumbo stated. When you sell you want everything to match and not give your buyers a reason to walk. That said, 2% of cost seems high for a job that doesn't involve structural or electrical changes. The chances of being caught, as long as your neighbors don't report you, are slim but you want to think about the resell process.
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Moogs
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2010-06-28, 20:08

So... why would the construction of the patio even come up when selling x years from now? Do most buyers ask to see old permits for paver patios? If so this is a good reason but I've never heard that. We didn't ask the guy when we bought (because we knew he did it himself - clearly) but it's an interesting point.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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jdcfsu
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2010-06-28, 20:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moogs View Post
So... why would the construction of the patio even come up when selling x years from now? Do most buyers ask to see old permits for paver patios? If so this is a good reason but I've never heard that. We didn't ask the guy when we bought (because we knew he did it himself - clearly) but it's an interesting point.
I don't see it coming up unless theres an issue with inspection. You just want to make sure you do it right so that there isn't an issue with inspection. But if your plan involves any kind electrical rerouting, do the permit for sure.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Tidewater Virginia
 
2010-06-28, 20:17

I can't see it being an issue for resale on something like that. Something structural, maybe. Even then only if the work looks like crap. Most aren't going to "dig into the details" on work done. They are going to assume if you've been living in it and the home inspector doesn't see bad stuff that it's okay.

Personally, I wouldn't get a permit for something like that.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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spotcatbug
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Clayton, NC
 
2010-06-29, 07:13

I believe, at least around here, if you're caught, on top of fines, you will be forced to tear-down whatever you did and do it again so that it can be inspected.

For example, if you were building an addition, and that would have required inspection of a new foundation prior to framing, but you've already framed the structure to the point where the foundation cannot be inspected, you will be required to tear-down your framing, then pay all the usual fees (the ones you skipped) and a fine.

Really, what keeps people from skipping the fees/inspection process is the possibility of getting caught and having a very expensive tear-down and rebuild.

edit: I just realized I had a much better example of a costly tear-down. We're finally building a garage. Framing is nearly complete. The first inspection was for the rebar inside the footers. Now, imagine we hadn't had our inspections done and they required that we go back to where they can inspect that rebar. That sort of rebuild is what makes you definitely mind your p's and q's. Now, yeah, a little patio, maybe I wouldn't worry about having to tear that out and redo it, but is it really worth the cost of the fees?

Ugh.

Last edited by spotcatbug : 2010-06-29 at 08:31.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2010-06-29, 07:25

Opinions are all over the map here, Moogs. Good luck!

I don't know what you're going to do...everyone makes good points. They're just all so different.

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Maciej
M AH - ch ain saw
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2010-06-29, 07:30

The choice is clear; you bribe someone. Don't you live in the Chicago area anyway?
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2010-06-29, 07:33



"The building inspector pulls a report, you pull out a wad of cash. That's the Chicago way."

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El Gallo
Formerly “MumboJumbo”
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
 
2010-06-29, 07:54

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moogs View Post
So... why would the construction of the patio even come up when selling x years from now? Do most buyers ask to see old permits for paver patios? If so this is a good reason but I've never heard that. We didn't ask the guy when we bought (because we knew he did it himself - clearly) but it's an interesting point.
A couple points to ponder, you said you knew the guy who did the porch and so you didn't sweat it. The point to think about is what if you didn't? Also not to detract from that person, but you are making repairs now and should wonder, at least a bit, if any of that isn't related to substandard materials that have shown up now or might show up in the future. Sure it's just a paver patio, but it's attached to the house and darn it, you didn't know the termite would travel up it to start chewing on all the trusses in your roof.

The main point seems to be the 2% cost of the project as a fee. I think if you know the guy you are dealing with, it would be much easier to work on that than sweat the inspectors, neighbors and future home buyers.

Does the city consider the cost of the project to include what the contractor bids or does it have some way of tracking in total what was spent? Perhaps you could have your 2% saved merely by having the guy bid the work leave the cost of materials off the bid and have you declare you bought the materials outside of the project or that the materials were pre-existing, etc. If the materials are off his bid, would that affect the cost of the permit? It's a good idea to have the bid include estimates for both anyway because many construction folks are just sort of sloppy with their numbers and again, the cost can come out of your butt when they cut corners to make the numbers work.
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faust
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
 
2010-06-29, 08:53

If replacing with same I never get permits

I gutted my interior and redid my wiring without a permit. No walls were moved and electrical system wasn't upgraded in terms of load so why pay town so I can have nice smooth walls.

If I put an extension on or change my roof line I'll get a permit but not for minor tweaks
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alcimedes
I shot the sherrif.
 
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2010-06-29, 09:30

He's talking about a paver stone patio. I could do it. It's not hard work, and doesn't even come up off the ground.

Skip the permit, they'll never know, and the work is insignificant to the house in any meaningful/dangerous type way. There's nothing electrical, water, structural about it, so who cares.

Google is your frenemy.
Caveat Emptor - Latin for tough titty
I tend to interpret things in the way that's most hilarious to me
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Ryan
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Promise Land of Trustafarians
 
2010-06-29, 10:37

FWIW, we’ve done all sorts of improvements, noticeable ones, and no one’s ever come knocking. We’re talking landscape lighting, taking out old trees, putting in new ones, and we don’t even have a solid fence around our house. We’ve done this in the front and back yards.

Granted, we only have our HOA to answer to, not a government body, so that helps, but it’s been several years and no one’s ever said anything about the permits or fees we should’ve taken care of.
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Moogs
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Location: NSA Archives
 
2010-06-29, 11:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maciej View Post
The choice is clear; you bribe someone. Don't you live in the Chicago area anyway?
Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post


"The building inspector pulls a report, you pull out a wad of cash. That's the Chicago way."


Yah I think the bribe would cost a lot more than the fees I'm trying to avoid unfortunately. Maybe there's a drunk at the local town hall and I could bribe them with a case of beer.

To clarify, the old pavers are going to be picked up, crappy ones (that were cut wrong) tossed, foundation will be shored up if there are any problems (recompacting the gravel, etc) and then a mix of new and old pavers laid down on the same exact spot plus a small perimeter extension. That and a crappy stoop step the guy didn't do a cement pour for, will be given a cement pour and tie-in to the main stoop. Nothing electrical, nothing with water, nothing permanently attached to the side of the house.

I called the village from my cell phone and asked some vague questions. They said that "normally they wouldn't but because the contractor might alter the foundation of the patio base that they need to see scope of work, inspect the base before they put the pavers down, then inspect again after they're done to 'protect you' and make sure they're doing a good job." RIGHT. Like if their work falls apart after 24 months the village permit is going to do ANYTHING to protect me, on account of them saying it was "done to code". Is there even "code" for how you lay a gravel paver foundation? That sounds like total bullshit to me.

Electrical code, plumbing code, fire code, structural code for a house... I get all that. Paver code? Bullshit! This is the city trying to make money, no different than parking tickets.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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spotcatbug
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Clayton, NC
 
2010-06-29, 11:30

Yeah, I think in this case (paver stone patio), skip the permits.
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El Gallo
Formerly “MumboJumbo”
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
 
2010-06-29, 12:54

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcimedes View Post
He's talking about a paver stone patio. I could do it. It's not hard work, and doesn't even come up off the ground.

Skip the permit, they'll never know, and the work is insignificant to the house in any meaningful/dangerous type way. There's nothing electrical, water, structural about it, so who cares.
I understand where you are coming from but if it is so insignificant, why sweat the 2%?

Understand that for a $2000 project (guess-stimate on my part) we are talking about $40. If it is less than this (and by your description it sounds like it is) then why sweat it at all? This sound like not even a $1000 project and you are sweating the city asking $20?

That is hardly extortion and keeps everything nice and tidy for all future purposes.
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alcimedes
I shot the sherrif.
 
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2010-06-29, 14:07

Money is money, I don't like to part with mine unless there's a good reason.

At the end of the day, the city offers very little in this case of value, but they offer a wide variety of inconveniences as part of the process.

What if the inspector comes out, and incorrectly says something is wrong? I've had it happen before. They're just another layer of unnecessary complexity, why bother with them?

Then there's this:

Quote:
They said that "normally they wouldn't but because the contractor might alter the foundation of the patio base that they need to see scope of work, inspect the base before they put the pavers down, then inspect again after they're done to 'protect you' and make sure they're doing a good job."
So first you have scope, then awaiting approval.
Then they'd need to inspect the base beforehand.
Then inspect the base again when it's done.

That right there turns a 2-3 day job into a 5-10 working day job. Screw that.

Google is your frenemy.
Caveat Emptor - Latin for tough titty
I tend to interpret things in the way that's most hilarious to me
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spotcatbug
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2010-06-29, 14:08

Quote:
Originally Posted by MumboJumbo View Post
Understand that for a $2000 project (guess-stimate on my part) we are talking about $40. If it is less than this (and by your description it sounds like it is) then why sweat it at all?
Personally, I wouldn't sweat the $40 but I would really sweat the hassle. You gotta get the permits - fill-out paperwork, define "scope", whatever - bleh. Then you have to have busy-body officials check-out what you're up to. Pass.

Ugh.
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Ryan
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2010-06-29, 14:13

I think the best justification is that it’s his damn patio... Unless he’ll in some way be opening up the possibility of hurting a future owner or neighbor, why should he have to ask permission?
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zippy
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Unknown
 
2010-06-29, 14:14

Quote:
Originally Posted by MumboJumbo View Post
I understand where you are coming from but if it is so insignificant, why sweat the 2%?

Understand that for a $2000 project (guess-stimate on my part) we are talking about $40. If it is less than this (and by your description it sounds like it is) then why sweat it at all? This sound like not even a $1000 project and you are sweating the city asking $20?

That is hardly extortion and keeps everything nice and tidy for all future purposes.
In many cases, the permitting process can cause delays, and that's why people try to avoid it. I've heard of permits around here getting held up for months on houses. I don't know about smaller projects like a deck or patio build.

I just do the work and don't worry about it. Unless it's something like an addition.

I put in a paver patio without one. I even had to have the gas company move the meter. No sweat.

Next I need to rebuild my front porch. Then I need to do my deck. And re-side.

Permit-schmermit.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2010-06-29, 14:37

Found out when remodeling the house we inherited from my in-laws they never bothered to clue the town in when they put in an in-ground pool and in-law apartment addition.

Luckily by the time the town inspector stopped by, the pool had been imploded and covered and the in-law apartment is getting connected to the main house.
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Moogs
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: NSA Archives
 
2010-06-30, 15:07

Quote:
Originally Posted by MumboJumbo View Post
I understand where you are coming from but if it is so insignificant, why sweat the 2%?

Understand that for a $2000 project (guess-stimate on my part)
You're not all-together off the mark in your thinking. It's not the end of the world but every $100 and $50 and every other fee in our lives adds up quick. Have you priced a paver patio recently? Gouge-city. We had four different guys come out to quote; they're all over $5000. It's a ripoff no doubt. For all cases it's about 75 hours of labor, and maybe... $1000 in materials max? So even if they added a 50% profit that should still be a lot less than 5 grand. In the end we probably won't be able to justify the cost (and so far the guy hasn't responded to me "I'll worry about the permit" comments to him earlier this week.)

If any of you have had patios done (this one would be about 20x15), I'd be real curious to know what you paid.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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BuonRotto
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2010-06-30, 15:14

A rule of thumb for permits is that anything that is less than $5k and/or doesn't involve major civil (regrading), structural or MEP (HVAC, electrical or plumbing) work will not require a permit, nor will an inspector enforce any permit requirement if the local government has one in the books. It's not worth it for them either. Just make sure to call local utilities to mark and lines around the house (gas, electric if it's in the ground, telecom) for free before you dig more than 6" deep. You can do that yourself and it's probably the only thing you really have to watch out for.
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Moogs
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Join Date: May 2004
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2010-06-30, 19:10

Yep got that part covered, if this clown ever calls me back that is. Called him out on some BS warranty provisions. Sales is all "oh yah, 2 years, anything goes wrong, it's fixed." Warranty disclaimer is all "Cracks in cement pour / failed cement pour? Latent subsurface issues cause our pavers to heave and buckle and seat wall to crumble? Not our problem." God damn do I hate dealing with construction contractors. Shady bastards.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2010-06-30, 19:53

Call Mike Holmes. He'll take forever, and tear everything in existence completely down and start new, but you'll probably get a pretty nice result. But he strikes me as anti-shady (I think he hates those guys too).
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Moogs
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2010-07-01, 10:20

Isn't that the Home Inspector guy with the TV show? Shudder to think what he'd cost us. I'm about ready to say screw the patio and give me wife an early birthday present by paying for her to take a couple classes at the local community college (her choice - serious class, fun class, whatever).

...into the light of a dark black night.
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alcimedes
I shot the sherrif.
 
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2010-07-01, 10:38

A paver patio isn't that hard to do, if you're willing to put the time/effort in yourself. There's not that much uber technical to it. Put down proper substrate, level everything, compact, level again, put down pavers.

Another option, and I don't know where you live so maybe it wouldn't work there, but I pay for a yearly subscription to Angie's list. Gives you user reviews of local contractors. I never hire anyone now that doesn't have a bunch of good reviews from other clients. Has helped me avoid bad contractors for years now, which has more than paid for itself in my opinion.

Google is your frenemy.
Caveat Emptor - Latin for tough titty
I tend to interpret things in the way that's most hilarious to me
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