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Permit Snitching – How do they really catch you?

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  • #304117
    Doobie
    Moderator

    I’ve been led to believe even after talking to my local/municipal by-law enforcement officer a few years back and also speaking to those who have been inspectors that unless you are building the next known to be leaning tower of Piza. that unless a neighbour snitches on you. you likely don’t have an issue doing renos/improvements without a permit. (I know that is not true. but hey, as long as you build it properly knowing what is right, what’s the issue)

    I just walk along the backyards of my neighborhood and see tons of vilolations. I was always told that unless someone snitches, they don’t have the time to police on their own such infractions.

    I was building a shed that is over the size allowed. and got a knock on the door today. The inspector insisted is because he saw it from the road. but a couple of days ago, my neighbor next door to me asked me how high it was, which in fact is just at the max of what I know is allowed which I told him.

    I’m just pissed frankly. I build stuff to acceptible standards or more. I understand my zoning and setback requirements. I just hate the process of a building permit in itself for what is on my property. And I suck at drawing plans. The fee for the permit is not the issue.

    What is the norm for ‘getting away with’ not doing permits when you are doing it yourself to your own property? I’m not a contractor, just a very heavily invested and thorough DIY’r always looking to build things to acceptible standards and more to such.

    I even had the fellow that came today look at what I did, and he said like I alluded to him, I am Mr Overkill, and he had no problem with what he saw of what was built so far.

    F-in neighbours! Retired old farts with nothing better to do!

    #304128
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    Lots of municipalities are using Google Earth and software comparison programs to detect external modifications to structures that are then compared to permits to catch scofflaws. I know in my town they have people who cruise the neighborhoods looking for home improvements going on with no permits.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #304146
    cranbrook2
    Pro
    Belgrave, Ontario , Canada

    services for your business, what

    I have the same kind of A-hole neighbors , They just love to call the inspector on me every time they see me building something . Now I think the inspector automatically looks at my place every time he drives by .

    #304175
    staker
    Pro

    Around here the city lost a few million in tax revenue, and are really clamping down on people.

    #304177
    cranbrook2
    Pro
    Belgrave, Ontario , Canada

    I see all kinds of buildings and older decks that are not only way under code but very dangerous , The inspectors should be more concerned about them but aren’t . If it was built before a specific date they say they cant do anything about .Who cares if it is dangerous or not .

    #304181
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Ours are all over town and are well known for stopping if they see anything that looks like there may be construction going on. I have also had neighbors call on projects just if I do not have the permit card posted, even though there is a permit pulled.

    The reality is, it is the law and why should your neighbor follow the law then have you do something similar and not follow it.

    I am not a fan if permits but they are the law and a way of life in this business. somewhat of a necessary evil. As you go through life, you find you have to deal with a lot of necessary evils to be able to navigate your way successfully

    #304185
    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    I built a deck years back and my house was next to a sand and gravel place and built in a farm field. I had 6 post holes to dig. I had to take a soil erosion class and test before I could pull a permit! I was in the middle of 7 1/2 acres! I was fuming mad but had to do it.
    The farmer can plow acres and acres but let me dig 6 little post holes?????? come on.

    #304186

    I know it sucks. It is part of the industry any more and a income stream for the cities. I know there are people in your neighborhood that have done worse things un-permitted but you did admit you built your shed to tall. You just got caught, whether snitched on or not. Take pride in the inspector telling you it is built well and move on.

    I was building a shed that is over the size allowed.

    Andrew

    A Working Pro since 1995!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

    #304191

    Permits are just a way of life . No getting around them . To me the best why to make sure it’s down is if you sell your home the code enforcement officer has to sign off on your home that nothin was built without a permit or substandard workmanship was down .

    A lot more people would think twice . Also making the permit process easy and fast for pulling them would help to . Not wait week for a simple permit . One thing I hate are rats . I would have a talk with your neighbor . Do you live in a developMent .

    Always willing to learn .

    #304195
    cranbrook2
    Pro
    Belgrave, Ontario , Canada

    I have seen second story decks that if you leaned on them they would snap instantly and someone would be either hurt or killed but they wont do anything to prevent that from happening . Its crazy really that they wont do anything about something that is so obviously dangerous .

    #304212
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Permits are meant to protect the owner of the property and future owners. I would guess a lot of the items in the Hack Hall of Fame thread were unpermitted.

    http://bethepro.com/forums/topic/the-hack-hall-of-fame/

    not to say you do poor work, but there are a lot of people out there who do.

    #304224
    ChadM
    Moderator
    Rogers, Ohio

    I agree that pulling a permit can be a PITA sometimes but it is simply part of the process. From a business standpoint I pull permits for everything I do (if it is a project that needs a permit and if the area I am in issues permits) because it covers me. If I pull a permit nobody can say that the work was under par because it was inspected and passed. This is perhaps the biggest reason, if I do a project that requires a permit and I did not pull one and something happens on that project then my insurance will not pay because I was doing that project illegally.

    Chad

    A Working Pro since 1993

    Member since 12/07/2013

    #304227
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I’ve found the permits are there for a) safety concerns and b) tax revenue. I hate dealing with permits for piddly BS like a deck when I know I will build it to or above required standard. I don’t like putting things on hold waiting for an inspector to come out. I don’t like having to pay additional taxes on my already over taxed property because I replaced something that was there to begin with. And I HATE neighbors that can’t keep their noses out of my business.

    #304241

    rm for ‘getting away with’ not doing permits when you are doing it yourself to your

    Google earth is 2-3 years behind in most imaging. I know my city works from 2012 aerial photos. It’s kind of hard to come to people 3 years after it’s finished unless it’s DRASTICALLY violating setbacks.

    Robert Shaw -Colorado Deck and Framing
    www.mysteeldeck.com

    #304248
    NJBuilder
    Pro
    Brick, NJ, 500,000 HAM

    I always pull permits. It’s not worth the headache not to do them. If the homeowner doesn’t want one then they can go find someone else to do the work and hope it turns out ok. It’s always about the money. Many times you will get fined if caught with no permit around me.

    I just picked up two new home permits in one town. One $3500 and the other 4k. They just want the money lol.

    Before the economy crash there use to be a builder that wouldn’t wait for all the disconnects to be done for the letters to get the permit. He would cut and cap the water and sewer. The electric and gas always took the longest. I’ve seen him cut the lines himself and leave a 2′ section of wall and foundation by the gas meter. The town would come and he would have the check for the fine already written out. He built many homes by not waiting lol.

    #304252
    thedude306
    Moderator
    Foam Lake, SK

    here in Town all inquiries are complaint driven. My wife works for the city as a city planner… They don’t have the resources to have it any other way. Saskatoon is booming and the inspectors can’t keep up.

    It’s how it’s all ran here. bylaw infraction are the same.

    I’ve talked to three guys that have built homes near the farm where we are building (well in the area) and they never saw a building inspector through the whole process although they did pull permits for everything. Gas and electrical inspections only. And that was more to make sure that the service entrance was OK and no gas leaks.

    I am not a permit fan. It’s a goofy tax system.

    Brad T
    Self employed Pro since 2014!!

    #304338

    For anyone who has lived outside of Canada/US – is this sort of permit system the same elsewhere?

    John S

    #304347
    NJBuilder
    Pro
    Brick, NJ, 500,000 HAM

    here in Town all inquiries are complaint driven. My wife works for the city as a city planner… They don’t have the resources to have it any other way. Saskatoon is booming and the inspectors can’t keep up.

    It’s how it’s all ran here. bylaw infraction are the same.

    I’ve talked to three guys that have built homes near the farm where we are building (well in the area) and they never saw a building inspector through the whole process although they did pull permits for everything. Gas and electrical inspections only. And that was more to make sure that the service entrance was OK and no gas leaks.

    I am not a permit fan. It’s a goofy tax system.

    That is weird about not seekngn inspectors when you pull a permit. On a new home here in NJ I have a ton of inspections needed each step of the way.

    1. Footing
    2. Foundation
    3. Open deck
    4. Framing
    5. Rough plumbing
    6. Rough electric
    7. Rough fire
    8. Insulation
    9. Final electric
    8. Final plumbing
    9. Final fire
    10. Final building
    11. Engineering

    Sure I’m missing many. That’s just a rough idea. Those are all on site inspections. Never mind the hoops, hurdles, jumps and dances they make me do before a permit is released.

    #304356
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I’ve found the permits are there for a) safety concerns and b) tax revenue.

    They are there for revenue generating purposes, in the guise of safety.

    #304361

    In my area we just have zoning permits for residential. I want more!! So much crap work gets produced. It makes it hard to compete when other guys are doing sub-par work. Thankfully we have great clients that appreciate us and our work!!

    No when we do commercial projects we have regular inspections.

    Not sure why it is separate but it is.

    Andrew

    A Working Pro since 1995!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

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