Inventive ways to catch unpermitted work

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macmikeman

Senior Member
The licensed person doing a job without a permit, when it is required for new work, In my opinion, is just as bad as having an unlicensed guy doing the work, the homeowner ends up with open liability, should anything go wrong with the work, and some insurance carriers have clauses that requires all work that requires a permit be permitted, the licensed or un licensed contractor, puts the owner at risk, when they do work with permits and inspections, and that statement ( I seriously doubt that there are very many contractors on this forum that have never done any work without permits,) is not the issue, just because someone may do illegal work, there are also those that have always secured permits, and inspections where and when required for all their work.
And there is an equal number who will sell a permit for a few hundred bucks. Once the name spreads, the handymen swarm in for permits. Pretty soon Joe Blow the license holder doesn't have to even start up the truck, he has more money coming in than he ever made hacking wiring himself.....
Permits don't mean a thing as long as licensed contractors sell them.
 

boatfull

Member
"the plain view doctrine"

"the plain view doctrine"

The plain view doctrine is another exception to the fourth amendment"s warrant requirement. While consent is required to inspect a building or property, this doctrine holds that if an inspector observes a violation while at a location where he or she is legally entitled to be, no violation of the Fourth Amendment results. In other words, if the alleged violation is observeable from a place where any member of the public may be, the privacy interest of the owner must be considered in substantial. therefore no warrant is required. This exception also allows the building official to look through windows to discover any violations which may be present "in plain view". Naturally if the occupant objects to further inspection the official shoud depart immeadiately. Hiding in a neighbors bushes, without permission, will not hold up in a court of law. using a ladder to look over a fence is also not permissable. The rules for a commercial property are somewhat different. The portions that are open for public business are considered public area and may be inspected without the consent of the owner. This information was obtained under chapter 8 of Constitutional law. I have personally gone through this.
 

stevenje

Senior Member
Location
Yachats Oregon
[QUOTE.

That said I had a 'nieghbor' call up on me when I first got my house - saw the van there and heard me making noise in there when we just moved in - thought I was doing unpermited work for whomever sher thought were the new owners. (As I obviously could not be) Came by asked for a card... Before I could introduce myself she was off.... Called the DBI and reported it - Inspector came out and got a kick out it finding out I lived there and the extent of 'unpermitted work' was moving in and unpacking. Took nearly two years before she came back to introduce herself.... :roll:[/QUOTE]

Let me guess. She wanted you to do some work for her but didn't what a permit pulled. ;)
 

220/221

Senior Member
Location
AZ
the city has it set up with the trash collectors that if they see any work being done on residential property and they report it and it turns out to be unpermitted work they give the trash collector $50.00 for each incident. .

Great idea. Whan we start rewarding citizens for reporting violations like this, we will be well on the way to becoming the Great State. I could earn a simple and good living by following people home from The Home Depot. Better yet, The Home Depot could earn extra profit by turning over their data to The Building Gestapo.


stupid. Draw the line at real crimes. This tactic is nothing more than a revenue producing gimmick, thinly veiled as a concern for safety.

Just follow the rules and you don't have to worry. They apply to EVERYONE.
You might want to take a moment to consider them. Blindly doing what you are told is not really a good idea.
 
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"the city uses the permit information to track the increase in value to tax at the new rate"

I fixed that rather easily with a phone call. The city's so called "value" of my home was nearly $40,000 higher than the appraisal from the bank. I called the city and the county tax assessor's office quickly smarted off at me over it replying they were NOT changing the valuation. I replied, "That's totally cool with me! I don't necessarily want you to change the valuation of the property and lower my taxes. What I require you to do is call my bank and explain to them that they have massively undervalued my home and as such I need the extra valuation figured back into my home value in case I ever need to take out a second mortgage." They replied that was absurd. I said, "Well then, what I am telling you is the APPRAISED value is $40,000 less than the TAX value, and I don't care HOW you and the bank fix this, but the TWO are GOING to meet OR BOTH of you will speak to my attorney." The city sent me a refund within days. :) Turns out they decided I may have a point.

I inspect for a living. This whole thread is absurd. I also live in SC. Paying people to turn in others to collect fee's is a return to 1940's Germany. In the cities mentioned, this is about money and NOTHING more. It's not about safety in the least. It's scummy, immoral, and ridiculous at BEST!! I cannot possibly express how much this practice disgusts me!

My father was going to build a home in Beaufort SC. He inquired about the building codes. Blah blah this, blah blah that...gotta build to hurricane standards, yadda yadda. Ok, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt; they may have a point. But why is it that I can buy a mobile home and park it nearly anywhere there with no "above and beyond" standards???? That immediately screams at the top it's not about insurance! (And lets face it, that's what PUSHES "hurricane" standards - although as I recall theirs are far beyond "normal" hurricane standards - that was quite a few years ago and long before I started inspecting)

In the long run...methinks the local building and supply had ties with the county. All said and done, after much deliberation over cost and justification, he bought a double wide, raised to the level of a home, and added a "county" code compliant (no bearing on NFPA or IBC) front and rear porch. He probably saved at least $50-60,000 for the same square footage as building outright, and it looks pretty darned close to a normal house. Inside, meh not so much. But he's satisfied with it and that's what matters to him. I suppose I could put up with changing a few doors and small stuff to save that much myself. It's legal and legit. So who's morally wrong? The county, or he? I say the county.

These very fees are what is turning this country back into the very country we started a war to free ourselves from. Food for thought.
 

p51

Member
Location
south Florida
How many of you licensed contractors can truthfully say you have never done any work without a permit? Remember, adding a 120 volt outlet in your buddy's garage requires a permit in most places. If a licensed contractor is doing work without a permit I don't feel that is any of my buisness, there may be circumstances that i am not aware of. On the other hand, if I am aware of non LICENSED work being done I will report that immediatlly as I feel that not only are they taking work away from the Licensed and insured people but also could become a life safety issue.
 

quinn77

Senior Member
texas dept. of lic.and reg. recently did a sting on unlicensed contractors in the houston area. very funny...they "rented" a home under construction then called contractors advertising without TECL numbers...and when they submitted bids without required info...they fined them for unlicensed activity...some up to 20,000 with possible jail. and on top of that fox news had cameras and reporters approach them for comment...it was broadcast on the 9 o clock news for 2 nights in a row. ive met hacks in this area that are PROUD to be hacks...calling licensed masters and contractors "useless middlemen"....one in particular actually posted this on c-list. good riddance IMHO.
 

Master of ONE

Member
Location
Norco CA
Wow this has been a very humerous thread:D.. However, In california you dont even need to have a contractors license when doing work totalling $500 or less let alone a permit.. So, ofcourse all of us licensed contractors have done work without permits when not necessary, But when required we should definitely be pulling permits and having our work inspected...which by the way doesnt mean very much anyways when you get the inspector that doesnt know what hes looking for..

It is our jobs as professional electricians to do the work correctly. An inspection is simply that. So, regardless of inspection or not, \ YOUR work should always be done as if it were being inspected..:cool:
 

satcom

Senior Member
Wow this has been a very humerous thread:D.. However, In california you dont even need to have a contractors license when doing work totalling $500 or less let alone a permit.. So, ofcourse all of us licensed contractors have done work without permits when not necessary, But when required we should definitely be pulling permits and having our work inspected...which by the way doesnt mean very much anyways when you get the inspector that doesnt know what hes looking for..

It is our jobs as professional electricians to do the work correctly. An inspection is simply that. So, regardless of inspection or not, \ YOUR work should always be done as if it were being inspected..:cool:
Yes, it is a very funny thread, but gives a view of how some think about permits and inspections, I like your view, " It is our jobs as professional electricians to do the work correctly. An inspection is simply that. So, regardless of inspection or not, \ YOUR work should always be done as if it were being inspected."

I notice, that many think the permit, and inspection process it to create revenue for the city, when in most states by law the inspections can not be used generate revenue, it costs the city money to operate most inspection departments, the only revenue generated form a permit, is the change in value from making a capital improvement, and in most cases when they re asses the tax base, the increase value becomes a wash, for some living in the past , they may remember the 50's when an improvement tax was tacked on to your bill and stood for years, those days are long gone, but it has been a funny thread, with the turn in your neighbor post, to pay the trash man.
 
Ah, good little brown shirts. I do plenty of electrical work that does not require any type of permitting. I dispose of plenty of my refuse in my home container. My goodness, is this what we have come to?--On a different note, but actually very similar---being in the union in the Chicago area for 37 years managing large projects I saw much of this activity. Mainly union officials or shills trying to impose rules they could never negotiate into a contract. I never complied and paid the price for that and am very proud of this fact. Conversely, when my garbage man calls the county to say I have a remodel going on I will not of course comply or cooperate. Does this impact our trade so much as to resort to tactics I believe are counterproductive and despicable? I do plenty of work fixing other's mistakes with the vast majority being contractors with a license and a permit.
 

satcom

Senior Member
So how many of you guys pull a permit and never call for an inspection?
We can't get away with that, the AHJ will have a letter out and give us a few dys to respond, then if that notice is ignored, we could end up in court.
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
Inspectors rarely check to see if things actually work--correctly.
Whether things work or not wouldn't be that much of a concern, a code compliant safe installation would be.

I saw it in Chicago, plus you see it on the TV show "Holmes on Homes"--it passed all the inspections does not insure it was done right.
Then I think you need to direct the blame where blame is deserved, the inspection department, not the laws.

Roger
 
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