Building Permits

 
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Old 02-04-2012, 01:48 PM   #1
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Building Permits


I want to give some of you in other areas, why many in my area do not want to obtain building permits.

This is one case, I've been involved in, and there are similar examples.

In May of last year, I was chosen to build a pergola, by a client. They wanted to get permits. I'm about a hour away from them, so I told them that they could save money by getting the permit themselves, I would supply the drawings. They were happy to pull the permits themselves.

Given a few material options, they chose a fiberglass pergola, approx. 15' x 30'. A very basic, self standing pergola.

7 months later, and we still do not have a permit. The city required soil engineering and structural engineering. Costs for those services is in the thousands. This in conjunction of working with the engineering department of the pergola manufacturer.

Everyone is frustrated and I don't know if it will ever get built. Previous cases that I've been involved in, the projects never got built, despite thousands of dollars spent to try and follow the system.
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Old 02-04-2012, 01:53 PM   #2
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Re: Building Permits


They will regulate you out of existence...

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Old 02-04-2012, 02:31 PM   #3
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Re: Building Permits


It's not nearly as bad here Mark, tho some city building depts. can make getting a permit a real pita process.

I'm dealing with one now. The job in question is a simple re-surface job. The problem is that the previous owner built an "illegal deck" beside their swimming pool. Years later the new owner wants to replace the decking cause existing decking is rotted. I saw the problem on the first visit so I called the local building dept. to see if there would be a problem getting a permit.

Plan reviewer "A" says no problem we won't penalize the current owner & yes they could get a permit, just no additional work could be done. He says to bring documentation. Fine I thought.

I get the job, pay for permit & now plan reviewer "B" says no permit for the deck because it was not suppose to be there in the first place. I'll have to take more time, bring more documents to get this daggum permt for what should be a slamdunk approval.

I could have just gotten the permit for the fence & did the decking when I was there & no one would be the wiser. However you play by the book & what happens? You, the contractor takes it on the chin & or HO ends up paying more $.
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Old 02-04-2012, 05:40 PM   #4
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Re: Building Permits


It seems like some of the cities here in Michigan don't have completed surveys of some the properties in their perspective areas: City of Wayne and the City of Southfield are 2 I know of from 1st hand experience.
So the homeowner has to hire a surveyer @ $800.00 per property. This is going to kill jobs in a fragile economy.
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Old 02-04-2012, 06:12 PM   #5
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Re: Building Permits


Darn it Mark !!!

That set up is really bad deal. Like a scorpion geting so mad it reaches around and stings itself.

Permits, when you need them, have to be respected one way or the other. Counter productive as it is it's usually a good idea over here not to mess with downtown.

Really I think that is sad. Sad but True.

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Last edited by John Hyatt; 02-04-2012 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 02-04-2012, 06:16 PM   #6
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Re: Building Permits


Thats some bs. Good luck. I feel bad for the ho.
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Old 02-04-2012, 06:29 PM   #7
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Re: Building Permits


Someone should start a TV show on exactly that -" the HORRORS that the bueacracy put me through."

I bet it would be a hit show.
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Old 02-04-2012, 06:32 PM   #8
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Re: Building Permits


Quote:
Originally Posted by katoman
Someone should start a TV show on exactly that -" the HORRORS that the bueacracy put me through."

I bet it would be a hit show.
I want to do a show where we go in and act like stereotypical contractors. Show up drunk, break things, talk to the homeowner like chit, demo the bathroom for a kitchen remodel, muddy boots, the whole nine. Then when they throw us off the job we redo the house..
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Old 02-04-2012, 06:44 PM   #9
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Re: Building Permits


I bid against Those Guys !!!!!!



JonMon total Yucking it up !!!

J.
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:17 PM   #10
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Re: Building Permits


I'm doing one now where a previous owner built a 500 sf addition without permit. New owner decided to do the right thing and make it all official. I drew up plans and new owner explained to the county that it is already there but is willing to go through inspections. They are making him take down all the drywall, pull the R19 insulation and replace it with R20 (the current code). This is the kind of crap that gives our industry a bad name.
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:23 PM   #11
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Re: Building Permits


I feel for you Mark.
In the old days wood was pretty much the only material used and it was easy to understand using span tables for particular types of woods. Now there are so many option available with different materials that officials wants to see test reports, test performance, approvals bla bla bla before they approve anything.
In some counties they keep requiring ICC-ES reports from composite decking materials otherwise the permit wouldn't be approved even if they already received it a hundred times from previous permits in the past.
The fiberglass pergola you mentioned is bolted to the deck with a deckplate, a 1/2" treated rod (length of column) to the top column plate. A true hold down pattern and it is very strong.
It is ridicilous you have to go through this. It sure puts a brake on the economy.
I would skip the treaded rod system for this pergola and replace it with a 6x6 bolted down to the framing or pour a footing if it is attached to a patio, than pad it to the width of the inside column.
Slide the fiberglass column over it and add the beam and rafters.
This is what I do to get a permit approval. These dummies do understand the wood post structure.
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:47 PM   #12
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Re: Building Permits


Engineer approved.
Attached Thumbnails
Building Permits-3d-old-wagon-large-.jpg  
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Old 02-04-2012, 09:02 PM   #13
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Re: Building Permits


Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemens View Post
I feel for you Mark.
In the old days wood was pretty much the only material used and it was easy to understand using span tables for particular types of woods. Now there are so many option available with different materials that officials wants to see test reports, test performance, approvals bla bla bla before they approve anything.
In some counties they keep requiring ICC-ES reports from composite decking materials otherwise the permit wouldn't be approved even if they already received it a hundred times from previous permits in the past.
The fiberglass pergola you mentioned is bolted to the deck with a deckplate, a 1/2" treated rod (length of column) to the top column plate. A true hold down pattern and it is very strong.
It is ridicilous you have to go through this. It sure puts a brake on the economy.
I would skip the treaded rod system for this pergola and replace it with a 6x6 bolted down to the framing or pour a footing if it is attached to a patio, than pad it to the width of the inside column.
Slide the fiberglass column over it and add the beam and rafters.
This is what I do to get a permit approval. These dummies do understand the wood post structure.
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I actually got a call from the Arbor engineer telling me the same thing, except that they would prefer steel columns.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:06 PM   #14
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Re: Building Permits


I can't really complain about the primary county I work in, they have a phenomenal building department. If it's a deck or a garage built conventionally I can usually walk it through in 15 mins of desk time, the line to the desk can vary between 10 mins and 60 mins but still not too bad. The engineered plans I bring in now take about 2-5 mins of desk time, of which half of is spent just talking.

The website they have put together is top notch, I can log in and request inspections from my phone and get an email when the inspection is completed, if it passes I get that email, if it fails I get a detailed list as to why. When I request an inspection I can send notes to the inspector. I can easily pull down any of my blueprints from anywhere and I can usually pull down the original blueprints for the home.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:38 PM   #15
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Re: Building Permits


California is strangling itself to death.

Building Dept's, Planning Commissions, Ecological Review Committees, etc etc....no wonder so much stuff is done with out permits.

I've seen houses & remodel projects be in review for 18 months... & then denied or ask for more review...

California Coastal Commission, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and all the rest of the local horse pucky.

If Calif. Gov't ever got their head out of their arse & just let people be able to get a reasonable quick review of projects & chit can all this engineering horse chit they might actually make some money.

Without approvals & permits thousands of projects are completed with no revenue to local AHJ's.

Just the way life is out here.
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:52 AM   #16
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Re: Building Permits


Glad I don't live in Cali, although a bunch of them are coming here. Won't be long before they get into politics and f up the Great State of Texas.
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:22 AM   #17
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Re: Building Permits


I live 45 minutes north east of Atlanta. I've previously worked in the City of Atlanta and the surrounding county - Dekalb County. For small, simple projects, pulling a permit isn't so bad. For any normal jobs, it usually takes 3-4 trips to the permit office. I always call ahead and verify exactly what I need to bring, but when I get there, someone else decides that they want to see something else.

Then it comes to inspections. City of Atlanta was the worst. After requesting an inspection, they have 72 hours to inspect the property and if it's an interior renovation, someone has to be there to let them into the property. They never answer their phones so you never know when they're coming out. And half the time, they didn't show up at all. So you have to request the inspection again, and wait another 3 days again.

I had one inspector fail me from his truck. It was raining real heavy and he pulled into the driveway, sat for a minute, then backed out. I called the inspection office to find out what was going on and they said the inspection failed.

Now I refuse to work in those areas. That also means I don't have to fight rush hour traffic into Atlanta. I work in Gwinnett and Hall Counties here, and their plan review/inspections departments are well set up. Not as well as the email notifications of inspections passing/failing (that's real cool btw), but you can call the inspector in the morning and find out what time they plan to be at your site. For plan review, as long as you give them what they want, which is found out from a simple phone call, plan review is pretty quick.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:39 PM   #18
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Re: Building Permits


To get a building permit here in Ontario, you have to have a complete set of drawings made.
Then you take them to a government registered designer, whose designation is BCIN. He charges $200 to stamp my drawings approved.
Then you take those drawings to the city, pay $75 or so, and then wait 2-3 weeks to have their registered designer, also with a BCIN designation (Building Code Information Number) check it out.
Approximately 1/2 the time their BCIN changes what my BCIN approved.
Then you go to the client and explain why the job costs more.

I am now charging myself $150 to make the original drawings, plus the designer, and the permit, and you are up to $425 for a simple deck, plus at least 3-4 weeks from contract signing. No wonder so may people don't want to bother.
On top of that there are so many silly restrictions on what you can do. Recently I had a homeowner whose back yard was 110 feet deep, by was restricted to a deck only 10' out because it was more than 4' above grade. Why? No reason given: just the rules.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:24 PM   #19
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Re: Building Permits


The Toronto and surrounding area enforces the BCIN (Building Code Id. No.) for deck designers more so than other areas in S. Ontario. I have not had an issue on simple/mid complicated designs in areas outside Toronto (and suburbs) designing the decks. Kind of crazy Ontario HO's can design their own decks and they don't require BCIN. All to do with liability.
I have had an issue with non-wood posts/columns, railings and deck boards manufactured in the USA. I can generally convince the building permit office with USA based test reports but some want a Canadian Professional Structural Engineer stamp of approval. The last 10" PVC columns I used I had to get a PEng to issue an approval letter stating the test reports were based on sound engineering and it cost $450. I had to re-write the letter for him to ensure it covered everything. Probably an hour of his time to review the report.
A good website to get the reports from in the USA for a lot of synthetic decking products and various PVC/Composite railings in a pdf document is http://www.archtest.com/certificatio...orts_ccrr.aspx The website has the various reports for Fiberon, Timber Tech, Azek, Deckorators and various other manufacturers.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:32 PM   #20
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Re: Building Permits


I could go on forever about this.
I never got a permit for my deck because i built the same thing in the same spot. I built it to code. Who cares right
So when i went to the building office to see what they want the, guy started to feed me all this ****. Their regulations are from 1950. stating that you can only have a deck 1.6 metres from the fence and .6 from the house. Anything else you need a variance and tons of bull****. This is the biggest scam known to man kind because that assumes that we all have 2.2 metres of side yard. So they tell me about all this ****. Then you know what they want for the plans? They want all elevation in full, a basement plan a floor plan. ALL ELEVATIONS???? If you build the deck on 1 side you don't effect the other. you want elevations come look at my house. A basement plan for a deck above ground???? And the reason they want a floor plan is to make sure the deck does not become another suite... In my case it was off a kitchen...
I told the guy straight up in the office. I was getting steamed about this but i kept cool. I told him "you wonder why people don't pull permits? Ill tell you why, you require all this bull**** that has nothing to do with anything and you scare people off. Im all for doing things properly but to ask for all this just for a simple deck you gotta be ****ing nuts" Why not make it simple. ask if your neighbors object to the size of the deck. Get signatures... Then give them a deck plan.!!! Not a full map of the world, just a plan of what you will build!!!
Like someone said above. They will regulate you to no end.
They sure will. This is something i feel strongly about because of what happened in my case. They kept changing their story each time i called. saying i need this not that.
If they would simplify things to get permits for such small structures then i would be a big fan.. Until then the city can suck my deck. Literally

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