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Question DetailsAsked on 8/30/2014

what can happen when you have to get after the fact building permits for a basement

My husband finished the basement without a building permit. We've passed the mechanical and plumbing, Still have electric and building part. We have dry wall up and partitans, and a built in bookcase with electric fireplace

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5 Answers

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It depends on how PO'd the town is about not pulling the permits! For electrical you may have to open up some or all walls to let the inspector see that the wires were stapled as per code close enough to the boxes, they should be able to see the wire sizes by what can be seen in the boxes but not be able to see that they are the same size all the way back to the supply. By signing off on the job electrical is probably one of the worst trades they can guess on as many fires start in electrical problems. Heat and plumbing mistakes generally don't kill people aside from venting problems.

Many towns will work with a homeowner built job but if done by a contrctor may push it to the limit. If they are nice they may want you to switch out the outlets that are now required by code to the new tamper proof ones and switch out the circuit brekers for the new one needed for living spaces.


Don

Answered 4 years ago by ContractorDon

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Since you passed mechanical and plumbing, which are commonly the hardest to redo if they find problems, I would say you are in pretty good shape. Also, evidently you now have a permit if they are doing inspections - my experience is that is commonly the hardest part to get past, and where they hit homeowners up for fines and double fees and such.


Electrical as prior comment said can be fussy if they want, but my experience is unless they have a grudge against the contractor they will not require opening up the wall, or maybe at just one random spot to check how wiring was run and stapled in the walls.


The electric fireplace is the place I would most expect trouble because of the risk of fire in a built-in so I would expect himm to be looking at required insulation or clearance on that, so have the manual available describing manufacturer requirements on clearance and insualtion and such - but hopefully the built-in was built with maintenance access for the fireplace so he can see the wiring and clearances.


One thing I have done where homeowners or contractors got into a bind like this, particularly on commerical jobs where fire marshalls are NOT lenient, is have a cordless drill with 1/2" bit and color fiberoptic inspection camera available, so if he wants to look inside the walls it only takes a 1/2" hole rather than knocking holes in the wall. Of course, doesnot work in insulated walls. Requires coordinating camera on-site time with his inspection - rental about $25-40/day at tool rental and some auto parts stores, and some Home Depots- or just buy online at Amaxon or Harbor Freight Tools (where I got mine) for about $80, then have for future home inspection uses - just be sure to take batteries out when not in use.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

1
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Thank you so much for your answers. They were very helpful.

Answered 4 years ago by naniebeth

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Thank you for your reply, we don't get them too often. The one thing I did forget to mention and it happened to me is upon electrical inspection they may go under the newest codes. I finished a basement in my son's condo without permits as I was doing it on weekends and did no want to slow down the progress (yes I know, slap my wrists), when he sold his condo he wanted to be legal so called for after the fact permits. The inspector okayed all the work even complimented him on it but the electrical inspector said that even though everything was good he wanted the new arc fault breakers and tamperproof outlets. So this is possible in your case and is not a big deal.


Don

Answered 4 years ago by ContractorDon

0
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OK, I understand and I'll pass that on to my husband. Many thanks....

Answered 4 years ago by naniebeth




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