I Didn’t Get A Permit

About once a month I get a telephone call from a person that is usually in a frantic, nervous,  and agitated state.  Before I even ask them whats going on I know the answer.  Typically they tried to build something and got “red tagged” by the building department for building without a permit.  They thought they could save a few dollars by doing it themselves, or had a relative or friend who would do the building on the weekends for pennies on the dollar.  We all try to save money on our homes but this is the wrong avenue to pursue.  Now the home owner is threatened with a daily fee from the Code Compliance office of the municipality for every day they don’t produce a permit.  This alone can add up to what they could have paid an architect to produce the permit drawings.  Now they are stuck with a unfinished product that is exposed to the elements or put in a precarious position with who ever was building it.   The old saying ” you get what you pay for” is relevent in this situation.

Three weeks ago I got a call from a professional woman who bought a house in foreclosure and decided she was going to do the buildout on her own.  She worked in law enforcement but said she was also an engineer.  I did not ask what kind of engineer because it didn’t really matter.  When a building inspector showed up at her home ( he was in the neighborhood and saw the demoliltion work going on) he requested a copy of her building permit.  She stated that she was doing it as “Owner as Builder” and didn’t need a permit.  WRONG!  Not only did she not have a permit, she didn’t have a Homestead Exemtption on the house which by code did not allow her to do the work.  She also hired a draftsman instead of an architect to do the drawings.  When I saw the drawings I pointed out to her the numerous deficiences in them.  As you can assume she got “RED TAGGED” and had to stop work.

I tell people all the time, do yourself a favor and do the project right.  Hire an architect, get a set of permit drawings and then get a reputable contractor.  When you try to cut corners it will only cost you more money and many headaches.