Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

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ConcreteMan
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Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by ConcreteMan »

I am looking into remodeling my bathroom, a medium size bathroom, about 8 ft long and 7 ft wide. The work involved includes retiling the walls, possibly redoing the floor, changing the piping to the shower / sink and replacing a light fixture. The general contractor quoted me a bid of about $10K-$15k.

The cost of the permits is about $140, and there maybe additional permits needs for the plumbing and electrical.

The GC told me that I don't necessarily need to pull permits, but I can if I want to. Since then, I have started researching the topic.


Has anyone done a bathroom remodel without pulling a permit? I'm not concerned about the price of the actual permit, rather the impact this will have on my property taxes.
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celia
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by celia »

ConcreteMan wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm Has anyone done a bathroom remodel without pulling a permit? I'm not concerned about the price of the actual permit, rather the impact this will have on my property taxes.
The main advantage of having a permit, is that there will be inspections to confirm the work is up to code. If something is wrong, the contractor will have to fix it at his own expense.

This will then carry over to when you sell some day. By saving the Final Inspection card, you can prove to a buyer that everything was done up to code. A new buyer may or may not notice that your house doesn't match the plans that the city/county has on file for you. If you're just replacing things with current styles/models, probably no per permit is needed. But if you are moving the location of plumbing or electrcal fixtures or changing a load-bearing wall or windows, a permit (and inspection) should be considered.

We've done remodels (with permits) that didn't change the square footage of the house and our property tax wasn't impacted (in California).
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Callisto
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by Callisto »

The risk of not getting a permit is that if someone who doesn't like you finds out and notifies the city, the city may send an inspector. At that point, you'll be liable for fines and you'll even have to remove the bathroom.

Getting the permit may also be complicated. Depending on where you are, some jurisdictions require that "everything" the inspector finds in the building must be brought up to code first. In other places, they only care about things related to the bathroom.

Depending on the jurisdiction, "illegal" modifications may become grandfathered into the house after a certain amount of time. As such, if and when you sell the house, the buyer may or may not care.

You have to evaluate your local laws to evaluate the risk/reward.
Normchad
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by Normchad »

celia wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:48 pm
ConcreteMan wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm Has anyone done a bathroom remodel without pulling a permit? I'm not concerned about the price of the actual permit, rather the impact this will have on my property taxes.
The main advantage of having a permit, is that there will be inspections to confirm the work is up to code. If something is wrong, the contractor will have to fix it at his own expense.
A lot of people, and contractors don't want to deal with permits. But this right here is the reason why you, as a consumer, want to do it. It provides protection to you against illegally shoddy work. If you end up with a dispute between you and the GC, the local government guys can help apply pressure, because they can impact their ability to do work.

Or another way, I would never hire somebody who didn't want to pull permits for their work. That would be a sign that they didn't really know what they were doing.... It's a good sign that your contractor isn't opposed to them.....

I'm not a licensed contractor, but I think anytime you do something more than replacing existing fixtures, a permit is required. So moving a pipe, adding a light, would require a permit.
DoubleComma
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by DoubleComma »

I’ve done lots of update work without a permit, both DIY and with contractors.

I even have a close friend who is a GC that I trust to do it right, but that said I will pull permits for most everything requiring a permit now a days.

In Marin county CA, specially I saw it in Novato, the county will do a casual walk through inspection of newly listed real estate, take note of the updates, then cross reference permits for the address. My brother in law found himself in quite a pickle over two bath room updates as well extensive lighting changes through the kitchen, living room and family room....basically eliminates fluorescent tubes and added LED Cans.

It required a decent amount of work and a fair amount of fines to establish permits for theses projects after the fact. The lighting wasn’t to bad, they had to expose the junction boxes, Romex terminations and breakers. The bathroom actually required opening a access points in the wall to reveal the plumbing rerouting and strapping. Ultimately a couple grand saved in permits cause him about $7k; not crushing but a lesson learned.

My county hasn’t done this to my knowledge, but it’s proving lucrative in Marin County so I imagine other counties will adopt similar strategies.
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jabberwockOG
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by jabberwockOG »

If HVAC, electrical, or plumbing is being modified or changed get a permit and have the work inspected to confirmed it is being done right and per local code. As other posted this also protects you against noisy neighbors and in the future when selling the property. Contractors and subs are way too prone to cut corners when they know there is no permit and therefore no professional inspection.
phxjcc
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by phxjcc »

Bona fides: 7 bathrooms in 2 years.

1. As an “owner/builder” you probably are ok w/o permits. So, if you are running the project and the GC is your worker bee then you will be fine.
2. That said, if you get caught w/o a permit where you need one your site will get “red tagged” and all work will be held up until all work is permitted. And inspected and passed and signed off. Project span time can grow 20%. And the subs will be sitting and waiting for inspections. And they may find other jobs.
3. Cities are hurting for cash—mine wants permits for changing a countertop.
4. Ask your GC about building department doing drive-by’s in the neighborhoods. If they do it, you have to be discrete. No 5 pickups out front without a permit.
5. Sometimes well meaning, but ignorant, politicians make mandatory building material regulations that will result in inferior long term durability. Talk to the GC about this. If you are getting a permit, you have to follow their requirements.
CurlyDave
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by CurlyDave »

ConcreteMan wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm
...The GC told me that I don't necessarily need to pull permits, but I can if I want to. Since then, I have started researching the topic...
Over the years I have had dozens of jobs done by contractors. In my experience, this is a big red flag.

A licensed contractor can easily get permits for the work and since he is going to charge you both for the permit and the time it takes him to get the permit, he should want to get the permit. Plus it is usually illegal to not get one, and he could easily lose his license by suggesting you don't need one.

Every single time a "contractor" told me that I could get the permit myself, it eventually turned out that he wasn't really a licensed contractor. His license may have expired, it may have been pulled for malfeasance of some sort, his bonding company may have dropped him, etc. There are many potential reasons, but none of them are good for you.

Now, I have pulled permits myself, but only when the price was discounted to reflect that the "contractor" really wasn't a contractor. I would also have to be present at the inspections if I had pulled the permits in my own name. I suggest you get his contractor's license number and check with the state to be certain it is still active and is actually in his name.

I was once scammed by a person who knew a real contractor's license number and name. He called the city, got a permit issued in the real contractors name, but picked it up himself so the real contractor never knew it even existed. He would have gotten away with it except he did not do the work properly and it didn't pass inspection, but when I called the city to ask about it, they sent me to the real contractor who was quite angry that someone else had been fraudulently using his license.
iamlucky13
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by iamlucky13 »

ConcreteMan wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm The work involved includes retiling the walls, possibly redoing the floor, changing the piping to the shower / sink and replacing a light fixture. The general contractor quoted me a bid of about $10K-$15k.
Requirements vary by location, but tiling and flooring probably does not require a permit.

Replacing a sink or light fixture with a similar fixture may or may not.

Changing plumbing almost certainly requires a permit.
ConcreteMan wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm I'm not concerned about the price of the actual permit, rather the impact this will have on my property taxes
I don't think the work you're describing would trigger a valuation review in my county, as there is no change square footage or major features, but I can't speak for yours.
wilked
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by wilked »

Retiling? No permit
New floor? No permit
Replace light fixture? No permit?
Changing the plumbing? Permit

I would pull one.

When we bought our home I insisted to see all permitting for recent work. Now. I was a new conservative homebuyer (I am more knowledgeable now and would be less uptight) but we would have walked away from the contract if they weren’t produced
snowox
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by snowox »

I have done both scenarios depending on many factors. When it comes to a bathroom if I am just updating everything I will look to see if any code changes and if its just a basic remodel then probably not. Now if I was going to gut and reconfigure a kitchen etc.. then for sure. Its probably safer and smarter to do it to be safe for the reasons people have mentioned. Also depends alot on your neighbors and how well you know the contractor and so on. Point is you for the price and inconvenience of a permit its a lot cheaper than the other costs one could be charged if you dont. Risk/reward/= amount of Protection
Mr.BB
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by Mr.BB »

The whole point of having a permit is to have an independent (municipality) expert inspect the work of the company/person you hired to make sure the work is not subpar and up to code. $140 dollars is nothing compared to cost of having something redone if your GC screws up.
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8foot7
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by 8foot7 »

My rule of thumb is if someone is messing around with plumbing (the actual lines, not just replacing a toilet or sink) or electrical (not just changing a fixture but running new lines, adding boxes, etc) I would get a permit. If things are mostly cosmetic, like countertops or backsplashes, then it’s my house and my business.

A potential buyer who asks for years of permits is a buyer who will more than likely cause other problems in your transaction.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I'd get the permit. In a bathroom, there is a lot of work that is going to become hidden (tiled over, behind walls &c.). Its important to do everything to do it right. As noted above, contractors don't like it, but if it is required, then they are operating illegally which should be, as noted above, a red flag. I don't know about other states, but in VA, we have a contractor recovery fund. Failure to pull the permits when required could affect a claim if you ever made one.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

8foot7 wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:01 am A potential buyer who asks for years of permits is a buyer who will more than likely cause other problems in your transaction.
In our town, they keep a copy of permits and their status. I don’t know if it’s complete, but our house had a huge file. I think it’s public record, so potential buyer is welcome to look.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
Limoncello402
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by Limoncello402 »

Kind of depends on your municipality and how strict they are. In mine, unless it is visible from the street, no one much cares about pulling permits. I've remodeled a kitchen and bathroom without one. Ask around to get the inside scoop.
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hand
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by hand »

For $140, I'd absolutely pull the permit. That being said, my view of permits is more like a protection racket - they protect you against the low to very low risk of future issues with the town and on resale. In my limited experience, in my town, protection against shoddy work is not guaranteed as the "inspection" can be nothing more than a collegial walk-through with the contractor.

I still have sub-standard work to be remediated that was "inspected and approved."
carolinaman
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by carolinaman »

ConcreteMan wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm I am looking into remodeling my bathroom, a medium size bathroom, about 8 ft long and 7 ft wide. The work involved includes retiling the walls, possibly redoing the floor, changing the piping to the shower / sink and replacing a light fixture. The general contractor quoted me a bid of about $10K-$15k.

The cost of the permits is about $140, and there maybe additional permits needs for the plumbing and electrical.

The GC told me that I don't necessarily need to pull permits, but I can if I want to. Since then, I have started researching the topic.


Has anyone done a bathroom remodel without pulling a permit? I'm not concerned about the price of the actual permit, rather the impact this will have on my property taxes.
IMO, the remodel you describe does not seem to warrant a permit (although it may be required). You are not moving or adding plumbing or electrical and the foot print does not change. However, if it is only costing you $140, then why not do it?
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Just get the permit. The cost of the permit is minuscule compared to the cost of the project.
toomanysidehustles
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by toomanysidehustles »

ConcreteMan wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm Has anyone done a bathroom remodel without pulling a permit? I'm not concerned about the price of the actual permit, rather the impact this will have on my property taxes.
I bought a house (investment property to be run as an AIRbNb) and in the due diligence from the county for my AIRbNb permit we realized sunroom/bathroom addition done back in the early 90's was not permitted. We are now having to face the following:
1. Permit for electrical
2. Electrician to come over and sign off
3. Permit for plumbing
4. Plumber to come over and inspect
5. Structural engineer to come over and sign off
6. Permit for structure/addition

I think we are about $3500 all-in based on quotes.

Get the permits and be above board! You will sleep better at night and in the future. :sharebeer
Kagord
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by Kagord »

I think it's fairly common and most do this, when you buy a house is to pull permits to look for potential red flags. It's fairly easy cross reference to what's in the listing and install/mfg dates. IE. I match to upgrades, HVAC, roof, window replacements, water heater..etc.

So yeah, when you sell, it's good to have all permits for work done, and, of course, ensure they are finalized and closed.

Also as a fairly involved DIYer, I've found usually, a call to the inspectors prior is a good thing, they sometimes just tell you the code differences between your construction and current, or will point you to the sections to look at in your local codes. There's also things that could require specialized contractor with a license, like gas fitment, even though easy, don't do it.
Last edited by Kagord on Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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8foot7
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by 8foot7 »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:21 am
8foot7 wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:01 am A potential buyer who asks for years of permits is a buyer who will more than likely cause other problems in your transaction.
In our town, they keep a copy of permits and their status. I don’t know if it’s complete, but our house had a huge file. I think it’s public record, so potential buyer is welcome to look.
That certainly seems reasonable, as the onus is on the buyer to go look at the public record. What I would find unreasonable is for buyer to ask me to produce documentation for every improvement I made to the house, particular if my ownership could be measured in decades.
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lthenderson
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by lthenderson »

ConcreteMan wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm The GC told me that I don't necessarily need to pull permits, but I can if I want to. Since then, I have started researching the topic.
Permits vary by municipality and state but the way this is worded, it seems as if a permit is required and I would do so for many of the reasons stated above. In my area, permits are only needed for new construction and remodeling a bathroom isn't considered new construction so I legally don't have to pull a permit and never have when I redid all three of our bathrooms.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by Sandtrap »

ConcreteMan wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm I am looking into remodeling my bathroom, a medium size bathroom, about 8 ft long and 7 ft wide. The work involved includes retiling the walls, possibly redoing the floor, changing the piping to the shower / sink and replacing a light fixture. The general contractor quoted me a bid of about $10K-$15k.

The cost of the permits is about $140, and there maybe additional permits needs for the plumbing and electrical.

The GC told me that I don't necessarily need to pull permits, but I can if I want to. Since then, I have started researching the topic.


Has anyone done a bathroom remodel without pulling a permit? I'm not concerned about the price of the actual permit, rather the impact this will have on my property taxes.
In many areas, the local building codes do not require a permit for replacement of existing with no substantial alterations to utilities and load bearing structurals. This means: the toilet is still in the same place, the shower is still in the same place (although they can be shifted or rotated to some degree, or a tub replaced with a shower, etc), and so forth.

The job valuation that's entered on the permit is what might change the property valuation as far as taxes. The job valuation does not have to be the same as the price for the work done. Lot's of good examples of this.

The concerns for getting a building permit might include:

1. Neighbor or someone nosy or who doesn't like you calls in a compaint to the building department that there is work being done and it might not have a permit so . . . . . (this can be done online and unanimouse). Building departments are complaint driven so these things can be used without discretion.

2. On resale, you are able to prove that work was done, per code.

3. Peace of mind that work is done, per code.


The concerns for "not" getting a building permit might include:

1. Project will not get delayed waiting for permits or inspections.

2. Potential increase in costs if the inspector wants something done differently than planned for whatever reasons he/she might have or feel.

3. Costs of permit fees and any additional fees/time for contractor to run the permits, also to draw up all the plans and documentation needed for the permit package.

4. etc.

OTOH if you tackle the job yourself, there are some great threads on the forum on toilets and showers and electrical and remodeling work, DIY, etc. :shock:
j :happy
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barnaclebob
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by barnaclebob »

celia wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:48 pm
ConcreteMan wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm Has anyone done a bathroom remodel without pulling a permit? I'm not concerned about the price of the actual permit, rather the impact this will have on my property taxes.
The main advantage of having a permit, is that there will be inspections to confirm the work is up to code. If something is wrong, the contractor will have to fix it at his own expense.
This is definitely not true and is highly dependent on the inspector.

Personally I wouldn't pull a permit for the minor changes you describe, I'm comfortable inspecting that kind of work myself. My city isn't super crazy about cruising neighborhoods looking for unpermitted work being performed though.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
hudson
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by hudson »

Concreteman,
I always require the permit and that the job be insured. I want the insurance certificate on hand before the job starts.
On a kitchen remodel, that required a electrical service replacement which gave me heartburn at the time; now I'm very glad that I've got new service. The new panel has plenty of room for expansion.

On the other hand, in times of tight money, I'd skip the permit, insurance, and cut corners if necessary.
I asked a trusted co-worker/part time contractor for a quote for adding a deck with steps. He said that if we skipped the permit that he could knock 25% off the price.
Last edited by hudson on Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
wilked
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by wilked »

One important thing to note.

The permit costs $140. The cost of permitting the job is not $140

Labor involved with the permit:
-Contractor to file the permit. 2 hrs (1 hr to prep the paperwork, another hr to drive there and drop it off)
-Rough sign off. Again, plan on 2 hrs (inspectors aren't the most timely of professions). Contractor may need to wait around for it (hopefully can do other work in the meantime, but that depends)
-Finish sign off. I'd plan on 2 hrs here as well. Hour to drive to the job site, hr to wait and drive to next job site.

Let's say the contractor bills at $100/hr, that's 6 hrs additional labor they need to find a home for. It wouldn't surprise me for the permitting to be an overall $500 adder to the cost (the savvy contractor doesn't list it as a $500 line item but tucks it in elsewhere so the homeowner doesn't zero in on it).
wilked
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by wilked »

hudson wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:52 am
I asked a trusted co-worker/part time contractor for a quote for adding a deck with steps. He said that if we skipped the permit that he could knock 25% off the price.
What were the numbers? ie how much did 25% equate to?
ddurrett896
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by ddurrett896 »

Permits shouldn't increase property tax unless it's something huge like building a detached structure or adding sqft.

I wouldn't if you are keep the same # of drains and fixtures.

In my city, inspectors are reluctant to go into houses now because of COVID and accepting pictures as proof of work. Even pre COVID, I had a gas inspector come by for my furnace final inspection and he didn't even come into the attic...just stood at the door and said, "ok looks good, passed."
hudson
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by hudson »

wilked wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:56 am
hudson wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:52 am
I asked a trusted co-worker/part time contractor for a quote for adding a deck with steps. He said that if we skipped the permit that he could knock 25% off the price.
What were the numbers? ie how much did 25% equate to?
It's been years...probably a $5K job. He said that the code required expensive footings and something else. He could give me something that would work just fine much cheaper.
I didn't go with the job. I just patched up what I had on the cheap and re-stained it.
HomeStretch
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by HomeStretch »

If your town/city requires a permit, the contractor should pull it. Don’t pull a homeowner permit in your name for work being done by a contractor. If there is an issue with the work, you and not the contractor will be responsible in the town’s eyes for remedying the inspection fail. If the contractor won’t pull a required permit, don’t do business with them. Permit/inspections protect you.

The payment schedule in the contract you sign with the contractor should have a holdback of 5-10% payable on proper closing of permit/CO issuance. It should also specify that you are to be provided with copies of the permit/CO. Keep it for your home records.

If you suspect the contractor isn’t being honest or isn’t knowledgable about whether a permit is needed, you can get another quote from another contractor and/or call your town’s Building department to ask. You can also mention the contractor’s name to the Building department. They are usually familiar with most reputable contractors doing business in your town.

In my area, lawyers representing home buyers routinely ask or review the town’s records for permits for all work in a home that looks newer. Often home listings boast about such work so that’s another tip-off to buyers/attorneys.

I have several friends who skipped the required permit or the contractor lied about pulling the permit. In each case it caused extra costs and a delay in the sale as walls needed to be opened for a town inspection to issue the permit after the fact.
ponyboy
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by ponyboy »

Any DIY stuff, no permit. If contractor is hired, permit.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

ddurrett896 wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:59 am In my city, inspectors are reluctant to go into houses now because of COVID and accepting pictures as proof of work. Even pre COVID, I had a gas inspector come by for my furnace final inspection and he didn't even come into the attic...just stood at the door and said, "ok looks good, passed."
We had a massive variance in the delays due to inspections during COVID. Some inspectors ignored it and others wanted the space empty for at least 24 hours before they’d set foot inside. We were lucky that we had installed an exoskeleton access to the house (not related to COVID) that allowed a completely separated floor, otherwise we’d probably still be renovating. :annoyed
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
TN_Boy
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by TN_Boy »

ConcreteMan wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm I am looking into remodeling my bathroom, a medium size bathroom, about 8 ft long and 7 ft wide. The work involved includes retiling the walls, possibly redoing the floor, changing the piping to the shower / sink and replacing a light fixture. The general contractor quoted me a bid of about $10K-$15k.

The cost of the permits is about $140, and there maybe additional permits needs for the plumbing and electrical.

The GC told me that I don't necessarily need to pull permits, but I can if I want to. Since then, I have started researching the topic.


Has anyone done a bathroom remodel without pulling a permit? I'm not concerned about the price of the actual permit, rather the impact this will have on my property taxes.
Obviously this has a lot of "local" implications (local codes, etc) that none of us can comment on. How picky is the local municipality about permitting?

But I frankly don't understand your reasons for not wanting the permit. I'd be very surprised if the remodel you are describing changes your property taxes.

Again, this is local, but I don't think better tile and floor in a bathroom is going to move the needle. They don't come in the house to do the property tax evaluations anywhere I've lived and you are not adding square footage.

If somehow the remodel increased your property taxes, how much are we talking? How much extra taxes would you pay yearly if the house assessed 10k more? And, thought the remodel costs 10k your house value has not increased in value by 10k, so I'd sure dispute any increase of that much.

I'd pull the permits and get it inspected myself just to have another set of eyes on the plumbing and electrical changes (though I can't imagine why just changing a light fixture would require a permit unless new wiring had to be run).
quantAndHold
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by quantAndHold »

Are permits required for this job? Permitting requirements are local. Here, no permits would be required for the job you’re describing.

If the job requires permits, pull permits. The last thing you want when you go to sell is the taint of an unpermitted remodel.

If the job doesn’t require permits and you trust your contractor, don’t. If you don’t trust your contractor to do it correctly without a city inspector coming around to keep him honest, then hire someone you trust.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
michaeljc70
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by michaeljc70 »

wilked wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:55 am One important thing to note.

The permit costs $140. The cost of permitting the job is not $140

Labor involved with the permit:
-Contractor to file the permit. 2 hrs (1 hr to prep the paperwork, another hr to drive there and drop it off)
-Rough sign off. Again, plan on 2 hrs (inspectors aren't the most timely of professions). Contractor may need to wait around for it (hopefully can do other work in the meantime, but that depends)
-Finish sign off. I'd plan on 2 hrs here as well. Hour to drive to the job site, hr to wait and drive to next job site.

Let's say the contractor bills at $100/hr, that's 6 hrs additional labor they need to find a home for. It wouldn't surprise me for the permitting to be an overall $500 adder to the cost (the savvy contractor doesn't list it as a $500 line item but tucks it in elsewhere so the homeowner doesn't zero in on it).
Exactly. I was going to point out that depending on the municipality waiting for an inspection can add time to the project and cause delays which add to the cost.
wilked
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by wilked »

The other one is that permitting is to meet code, but code isn’t always black and white.

My father in law is a union electrician, tells me a story how an inspector didn’t like him having multiple wires under the same staple. FIL pulls up code, they both read it and come to two different conclusions. I’m the end he redid his stapling as it was easier than arguing.

All of which is to say, there are reasons contractors add labor hours to jobs with permitting. It’s not a reason to skip one for obvious jobs, but it’s a reason to consider it for simple jobs like new tile, replace the light, and add a rain shower head.
DoTheMath
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by DoTheMath »

Normchad wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:09 pm
celia wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:48 pm
ConcreteMan wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:31 pm Has anyone done a bathroom remodel without pulling a permit? I'm not concerned about the price of the actual permit, rather the impact this will have on my property taxes.
The main advantage of having a permit, is that there will be inspections to confirm the work is up to code. If something is wrong, the contractor will have to fix it at his own expense.
A lot of people, and contractors don't want to deal with permits. But this right here is the reason why you, as a consumer, want to do it. It provides protection to you against illegally shoddy work. If you end up with a dispute between you and the GC, the local government guys can help apply pressure, because they can impact their ability to do work.

Or another way, I would never hire somebody who didn't want to pull permits for their work. That would be a sign that they didn't really know what they were doing.... It's a good sign that your contractor isn't opposed to them.....

I'm not a licensed contractor, but I think anytime you do something more than replacing existing fixtures, a permit is required. So moving a pipe, adding a light, would require a permit.
Completely agree. Getting a permit is an expense and a hassle, but so is any insurance.

If the remodel only involves cosmetic things like replacing tile, I might consider going without. Even then, if there is any sort of electrical, structural, or plumbing work which came up I'd absolutely stop to get a permit and inspection.

If nothing else, it is good for the contracter to know there will be an inspection. Better to have the hassle of the permit and inspection then to have your contractor deciding to cut a corner at the end of the workday because they know it will be buried behind a wall (until it becomes a serious problem).
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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by TheGreyingDuke »

I am surprised that no one has mentioned the insurance liability question...

You get a bathroom renovation done, don't get proper permits. Some months later there is a massive leak caused by improper work done. The first thing the insurance company does is check "was the work permitted?". I believe in most cases if it hadn't been, they will deny you coverage.

Interested that this thread, advocating illegal behavior, meets the standards of the forum.
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by whomever »

"I believe in most cases if it hadn't been, they will deny you coverage."

Is that something that would be in the policy language? I ask because my policy doesn't mention anything like that.

FWIW, I think that permitting norms vary quite a bit by locale. I have had contractors pull permits for relatively small projects, and when the inspector came he was not exactly rolling his eyes, but freely stated it was unusual in his experience, and he intimated it wasn't needed. For example, in one case he asked who had done it (a licensed electrician from a local firm) and what had been done (add a few basement circuits) and approved it with no more than a glance.

In fact, I have also pulled permits for extensive DIY projects. One example was installing a 50A 3 phase subpanel, phase converter, 100A single phase subpanel, and a couple dozen branch circuits. The normal residential inspector deferred to the commercial guy because it was three phase. His inspection was to walk through the rooms glancing around, and opening up one box to look at the connections. Another involved sawing the basement slab and replacing 30 ft of sewer line; again, a ten second glance.

I mention this because I don't think an inspection actually gets you an in depth inspection unless the work is obviously shoddy.

Again, this is the local norms - I have friends in other regions where the process is much more rigid.

(ETA: another story - we had recessed can lights in a low clearance attic. A previous owner had blown in a bunch of insulation, covering the non-IC recessed cans. When I was up there on other business, I noticed that the romex was charred from the fixtures, going out a foot or more, from the fixture overheating under the insulation. Gaak! That's a fix-right-now-so-the-house-doesn't-burn-down thing. The fix is to cut back the damaged romex, install a box, and install new romex from the box to a new IC rated fixture. It was unpleasant work in a low pitch attic full of blown in insulation.

When I called the inspector assigned to my area to make sure the process was OK, I mentioned that it wasn't going to be fun to inspect. Her response was 'I don't like attics and won't approve any projects in attics'. I checked the NEC, and the area in question met the NEC definition of accessible. I could have started complaining up the chain of command, etc. What I did was fix the wiring now, so the house wouldn't burn, and waited for the next wiring project I had, a few months later. By then the inspectors had rotated, and when I mentioned the attic part of things to the new he nodded and approved it without even poking his head into the attic, based on the rest of the wiring he had seen. YMMV, of course.)
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Sandtrap
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Re: Bathroom Remodel without Permit?

Post by Sandtrap »

wilked wrote: Tue Oct 13, 2020 10:31 am The other one is that permitting is to meet code, but code isn’t always black and white.

My father in law is a union electrician, tells me a story how an inspector didn’t like him having multiple wires under the same staple. FIL pulls up code, they both read it and come to two different conclusions. I’m the end he redid his stapling as it was easier than arguing.


All of which is to say, there are reasons contractors add labor hours to jobs with permitting. It’s not a reason to skip one for obvious jobs, but it’s a reason to consider it for simple jobs like new tile, replace the light, and add a rain shower head.
+1
Another example:
I've had above board union level workmanship on utilities (elec/plumb/hvac/etc) on jobsites, far above code requirements, and have had various "schooled" building inspectors point out their "desired changes" (my way or the highway) quite often. After awhile, it's just expected that there will often be "something" to either redo or at least grumble about comments made when inspectors are inspecting. It's the nature of the task and position for some.

Yes. Codes are not black and white when it comes to building inspectors and one should be prepared for that on a permitted project requiring inspectors to inspect.

Thus the difference between a licensed and insured reputable building contractor vs an unlicensed "contractor" vs a handyman vs a . . . . in price, workmanship, expectation, and follow through.

j :happy
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