People should pull permits-Help!

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Dnkldorf

Senior Member
In most states the money collected for permits is used to cover the cost of operating the permit and inspection services.

In my state it is illegal to use it for revenue.

When a permit is pulled, your taxes go up.

The $50 permit fee is a municipality bait and switch.

The last permit I had pulled, now cost me $600/yr in increased property taxes.
 

satcom

Senior Member
When a permit is pulled, your taxes go up.

The $50 permit fee is a municipality bait and switch.

The last permit I had pulled, now cost me $600/yr in increased property taxes.

That went out in the 60's when most of the country switched to tax leveling where every 5 years or so, they change the tax rates across the board, and your improvement cost will raise for the short term, but then it becomes a wash. But some of the old thinking is still around.
 

Ohmy

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta, GA
You have already given the best reason for useing the permits process. It is in fact "required by law" in most areas.

I have seen homeowners break down in tears when the find out those room additions that have been there for 10 years show up when they try to sell the property. These said additions were never permitted nor inspected and are not listed on the property deed and can't be sold as habitable living space. Not everyone gets caught but when they do it's a real bear when it comes to red tape.

Growler: Do you stay below 55 MPH when you drive on I-285? Do you self report, file, and pay taxes to the state of ga for things you bought online? Do you come to a complete stop at stop signs in your neighborhood? Do you pull permits everytime you add an outlet, recessed light, switch leg, flood light, cable jack, closet light, etc?

We need permit reform. Permits have become worthless. They are required for almost everything in my area, the inspectors are hard to schedule and when they get to the job they do three turns and a circle and head straight for the permit card. The fees are way too low to cover the cost of the inspections. Most importantly, no one cares if you don't pull a permit. In fact, its such a hassel to get one that I wonder if the city really wants me to either.

Basically, permits punish the good guys. If you are a good guy you spend two hours pulling the permit, $100 bucks for the deal, and 1/2 a day waiting on the inspector. Meanwhile, Cheapo Electric is wiring the next door neighbors basement but that's no problem at all?
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
I am writing in my compostion class. I must have references for my points of why people should utilize the permit process. Does anyone have any ideas or references to help?

You have already given the best reason for useing the permits process. It is in fact "required by law" in most areas.

Growler: Permits have become worthless. They are required for almost everything in my area, the inspectors are hard to schedule and when they get to the job they do three turns and a circle and head straight for the permit card. The fees are way too low to cover the cost of the inspections. Most importantly, no one cares if you don't pull a permit. In fact, its such a hassel to get one that I wonder if the city really wants me to either.

Basically, permits punish the good guys. If you are a good guy you spend two hours pulling the permit, $100 bucks for the deal, and 1/2 a day waiting on the inspector. Meanwhile, Cheapo Electric is wiring the next door neighbors basement but that's no problem at all?


I think it should be clear that the original question asked why anyone "should" pull permits.

Now I'm sure that some contractor pull few permits and others occasionaly don't don't pull permits. But the question was why people "should" pull permits.

Now my personal opinion on permits is that small items such as adding a receptacale or light fixture (existing circuit) should not require a permit but the addition or remodeling of living space should require one. I do think there should be a more clear definition of when a permit is required because most contractors are not going to permit if it's on items to small to be cost effective.

Such things as basement finishes should be considered new construction because I have seen enough that were not anywhere close to code compliant. A building permit to catch electrical, mechanical, plumbing and structrual.


Yes I have seen Cheapo Electric at work in whole neighborhoods in Atlanta and not one permit pulled. Drive down a street and see ten or fifteen remodeling projects going and not one single permit showing. But then again I have also seen the finished product and it's not that good. When you hire Cheapo you get Cheapo. The good thing is that most of those homes are now the property of the mortgage companies after the foreclosures so they didn't need to last that long in the first place. Many have already been vandalized and no one will ever care what a crappy job was done to start with.

I still believe in the permit and inspection process because some inspectors are pretty darn good and really care about their jobs. They may not spend long on every job but they can look around and see if the job is done by a professional or not and they get an idea of which jobs need more time and a closer look.

Folks these are just opinions here if we all agreed on everything this site would be useless. Most solutions to problems are not perfect but they do tend to be better than nothing. We will never stop crime but that's no reason to give up and end all law enforcement. Sooner or later they will catch me speeding and give me that well deserved ticket.
:D
 

readydave8

re member
Location
Clarkesville, Georgia
Occupation
electrician
It would depend a lot on how the state granted those licenses. If all they do is "Grand-father" in everyone that's ever twisted a wire nut then it wouldn't help much.

Many states missed the boat when they didn't start apprenticeship programs years ago. So if they require a license they may not have enough people that can pass the test, so they either Grand-father in everyone or make the test so easy a monkey could pass it but they would get the number of electricians they think they need.

It's not really that simple, our transition peroid is still going on since they required contractors to be licensed. Many were Grand-fathered in almost 30 years ago and are still holding a license.

Someone would have to come up with a way to transition from the way things are now to requiring a license that would actually have some meaning. It would get a little messy.

You really can't get away from permits because there has to be a system for keeping records of the building going on in a jurisdiction. A lot of the permit process is for record keeping purposes.
i was grandfathered in in georgia 30 years ago.

at least we're 30 years into the process--is that missed the boat?

overgeneralizing always results in flawed conclusions.ALWAYS!!!

anyway your're mostly right, however one of my pet peeves are the guys that passed a test for their license and act like they're better than me, then later i see them doing substandard work. this has happened probably 30-45 times. some of them only seem to know what a particular inspector looks for.

one guy said i was doing substandard work by not drilling joists in a low crawl space for romex. the next day i had to open up one of his junction boxes, no wire nuts on the bares, just twisted together. they must not have had that one on his test.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
i was grandfathered in in georgia 30 years ago.

at least we're 30 years into the process--is that missed the boat?

overgeneralizing always results in flawed conclusions.ALWAYS!!!

anyway your're mostly right, however one of my pet peeves are the guys that passed a test for their license and act like they're better than me, then later i see them doing substandard work. this has happened probably 30-45 times. some of them only seem to know what a particular inspector looks for.

one guy said i was doing substandard work by not drilling joists in a low crawl space for romex. the next day i had to open up one of his junction boxes, no wire nuts on the bares, just twisted togather. they must not have had that one on his test.

If there are licensed electricians out there that don't know enough to make up grounds I would call that missing the boat.

My comments were aimed at the industry as a whole and not at any particular individual. I know of people that were grand-fathered into an unrestricted license and had never set foot on a commercial job. I didn't say that everyone that could be Grand-fathered was a dummy but only that there were no real attempts at seperating those with experience from those that could pretty much fake it.

You say there are licensed electricians doing substandard work and I believe you and this is why we have to have inspections.

Having license testing is a little better than just giving out licenses to everyone that ask for them but it's not perfect.

By the way if you want to show those guys that passed the test ( the one's that act like they are better than you) just how good you are then go take the test and pass it and remove all doubt. Sounds simple enough to me. ;)
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
i was grandfathered in in georgia 30 years ago.

at least we're 30 years into the process--is that missed the boat?

overgeneralizing always results in flawed conclusions.ALWAYS!!!


readydave8: this is your statement from an earlier post, "electricians are scarce here in rural Georgia, although there are many that call themselves electricians".

These people that you say only call themselves electricians are the one's that can be Grand-fathered in when that is the process used to give out licenses. Most would meet all the requirements necessary ( time in the field doing substandard work ). Testing would at least weed out the one's that can't read. :D

No system is perfect but the more strict the system the more losers that get cut out in the process. Appenticeship programs weed out the guys that are afraid to open a book or attend a class.
 

Dnkldorf

Senior Member
That went out in the 60's when most of the country switched to tax leveling where every 5 years or so, they change the tax rates across the board, and your improvement cost will raise for the short term, but then it becomes a wash. But some of the old thinking is still around.




How does my taxes going up, after the permitted work, become a wash?

When does it become this wash?

Please explain.
 

bikeindy

Senior Member
Location
Indianapolis IN
That went out in the 60's when most of the country switched to tax leveling where every 5 years or so, they change the tax rates across the board, and your improvement cost will raise for the short term, but then it becomes a wash. But some of the old thinking is still around.

You should see the property tax mess here in Indianapolis, what you explain might be happening there but it ain't here.
 

readydave8

re member
Location
Clarkesville, Georgia
Occupation
electrician
readydave8: this is your statement from an earlier post, "electricians are scarce here in rural Georgia, although there are many that call themselves electricians".

These people that you say only call themselves electricians are the one's that can be Grand-fathered in when that is the process used to give out licenses. Most would meet all the requirements necessary ( time in the field doing substandard work ). Testing would at least weed out the one's that can't read. :D

No system is perfect but the more strict the system the more losers that get cut out in the process. Appenticeship programs weed out the guys that are afraid to open a book or attend a class.
I agree. Also I forgot to say how glad I am Georgia started requiring Cont. Ed. It doesn't solve anything but I was getting tired of signing up for code classes that were cancelled for lack of enrollment; that does'nt seem to be happening anymore. Before the Cont. Ed requirement I remember one particular class I drove to Marietta for. It was very well publicized, wound up attracting 18 electricians. Many of them were there because they thought Cont. Ed. was already required, some of these didn't come back the second day.

Thanks for the polite reply to my post.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
Interesting Topic

Interesting Topic

A lot of good points on all sides. Let me play devil's advocate. Contractor gets license to prove he is competent. Must get permit and inspection to be sure he did work correctly. What is the point of licensing if inspection is to guarantee proper job? Most localities have some written policy or other stating that any faulty work is not responsibility of inspector. So he may or may not catch faulty work and isn't responsible either way? That's comforting.

I permit jobs mainly because I have to, not because I have any reverence for the system. Consider too that in many jurisdictions, there is no provision to ease the permit process, at least in my area. My city/county is better than many. I can fax permit apps in or do them online (when system is working). But the nearby locales I've worked require you to go to the office, do paperwork and pay, maybe waiting 2 hours or so sometimes or being told you have to come back tomorrow or they will mail permit to you. So a job that should cost $200 now costs $300 or $400, depending on how much time you charge for or donate to the cause. On top of that, some locales require you to obtain a business privilege license in order to get permits. The mafia should have it so good.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
Further Questions

Further Questions

Bear with me as I take this a level deeper. If we are to be licensed, permitted and inspected, how about all the other trades/professions where safety is a prime consideration?

Auto mechanics; imagine the consequences of brake failures or wheels falling off.

Bicycle mechanics; Tires, chains, seats, handlebars. Aren't our children worth having inspections for their safety?

Surgeons; Heart valves, pacemakers, bypasses, etc., etc. Imagine if any of these are done incorrectly.

Meals from food service establishments; hepatitis, botulism, hair or metal fragments in food. Waiters may have dirty hands, cooks may shed hair, roaches may live in the kitchen, .....let's just eat at home. But that food came from a supermarket, factories, farms, etc. Got to catch up with all of them too.
 

dmagyar

Senior Member
Location
Rocklin, Ca.
Whats the real problem?

Whats the real problem?

In California we have amoung lots of other things: electrical licensing requirements both for contractors and electricians, continuing education for the licensed electricians. But then it starts to break down, we don't have any enforcement of the licensing law, either contractors or electricians. Sure they (the state) says you need to be licensed, but thats where it ends. Sure as a contractor I can get a big fine if I hire an electrician who's unlicensed. By being licensed we as contractors provide the money for the contractors state licensing board but they don't want to or can't provide enforcement with the unlicensed.

We end up with those calling themselves electrical contractors who aren't, people calling themselves electricians who will never be. These individuals don't have insurance, or much of any overhead, because of not having the license they can't pull a permit.

On one estimate I got some feedback from the homeowner that my cost was 2X two of the other bids. Were they licensed? Were they pulling a permit? Do they carry city licensing in three other cities and one county plus my state license? Do they even have a sign on their truck? Did they take 200 hours of upgrade training last year? It's academic as one of them is probably now doing the job. Does the homeowner really care? The homeowner now probably thinks I'm a crook and the guys with the cheap price are great.

You can debate the fine points of pulling permits, but that's really not the problem, it's one where the people needing the most oversite get the least. Because the homeowner either is or just acts blissfully ignorant and until something happens they just want "cheap" labor not "skilled" labor.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
I agree with growler that the short and simple answer is "it's required by law", after that we can debate it forever.

I for one would never want to be watching something like "Holmes on Homes" and see them tearing apart a job I had just done. And to tell you the truth he isn't always right either, but then again he's in Canada.:)

There will always be the argument that, owning a code book doesn't make you an inspector and owning tools and a truck doesn't make you an electrician.

Don't pull a pemit on a job sometime then watch it burn a few weeks later and try to sleep until they figure out the cause. Now even if you did pull a permit you should lose some sleep, but knowing that you did everything right and had it inspected can make you feel a whole lot better.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
When a permit is pulled, your taxes go up.

The $50 permit fee is a municipality bait and switch.

The last permit I had pulled, now cost me $600/yr in increased property taxes.

With new satalite photos you don't need a permit for them to tell if you added on to your house. We use them here for code enforcement.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Hello everyone,
I know it is popular opinion on the forum, and mine as well, that people should (or have thier contractors pull) pull electrical permits as required by law; whether they are doing the work themselves or using a contractor. This happens to be the topic of a persuasive paper I am writing in my compostion class. I must have references for my points of why people should utilize the permit process. Does anyone have any ideas or references to help?

Many people do not pull permits for remodeling work because it almost always results in an increase in your RE taxes.

Its very difficult to build a new structure of any size without permits because virtually all jurisdictions use some form of GIS and they will eventually find your new structure anyway, and then they will really nail you. Thats a good reason to pull permits for new construction if merely obeying the law is not a good enough reason.

Maybe you should make the argument that people should pay their fair share of RE taxes. If you do some remodeling without permits, its quite possible the county will never know that your share of the RE taxes should be more than it was before the remodeling.

Another good argument to make is that the permitting process pays for a fair number of government bureaucrats that would otherwise have to be doing productive work.

In fairness there may be some secondary benefits from the permitting process. One could argue that on the whole it results in safer installations. I am not sure there is any actual evidence to support that argument, but it seems quite possible that would be the case.

The minimum requirements also serve to maintain property values in a neighborhood (although this is not much of an issue with electrical work).

It also serves to enhance openness, since many places these are records that are available to the public at large. It certainly serves the public interest that you not sneak in a hot tub without letting everyone in the neighborhood know so they can come enjoy it as well. :)
 
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