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Question DetailsAsked on 6/13/2017

to obtain a build permit after the fact bolton ontario

residential basement foundation (one wall) was replaced without a permit. Now I need a structural engineer to obtain permit.

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1 Answer


You don't say WHY you are looking to get an after-the-fact permit, because normally if an entire wall was replaced it would not be evident as replacement rather than original construction during a home sale inspection, so I am assuming a city inspector saw the work being done and noticed no permit had been pulled, so you are already on their radar, which might make them more strict than otherwise.

If ONLY the foundation wall was redone and nothing above that and no utilities were affected, then a structural engineer might well be able to do the necessary analysis and certification as to its adequacy - though with no inspection or observation by him during the construction you might well have a time getting one to sign off on it because of that lack of personal knowledge regarding what concrete mix and rebar and subsoil prep and such went into it. I certainly would not do an after-the-fact approval for something like that without at least a random spot excavation or two to check the sub-foundation soil conditions and compaction, exterior waterproofing if done), subdrains, etc - and an X-ray or magnetic or partial-depth cutting into the foundation to expose the rebar or similar spot inspection of the rebar in the wall for size and location - so piotentially into a couple thousand $ range all told. I have done this sort of after-the-fact sign-off on government and on large commercial projects (sometimes into the $10,000+ range for the inspection and approval) but it is very rarely done on residential jobs, though not unheard of.

A lot depends on what the building department wants and how much their hackles are up because no original permit was applied for. Because most engineers would (rightly) be very reluctant to sign off on a repair job they did not observe in the process, you could be in a bind if the city wants that type of engineer certification or an engineer-approved third-party building permit signoff (which some locales allow), so in that case you would have to have an engineer do a full evaluation including proof of rebar and such. A simpler solution, which some city inspectors will accept for something as low-risk as a normal residential foundation, is a design check by an engineer of the wall design and reinforcing plans and subgrade materials and compaction spec provided by the contractor (matching what he built), with the engineer stating in writing that the design is adequate - then the CONTRACTOR certifying that it was built in accordance with those plans and specs. That takes the burden for certifying to the actual construction off the engineer (who never saw it before it was done) and puts the burden of proof on the contractor who actually built it. Many times, especially for not more than two-story residential (4-8 unit or less) that is allowed.

Also - typically an Architect is more experienced in doing after-the-fact permits, so you may well find that going to an Architect/Engineering firm who has both architects and project planners AND civil/structural engineer(s) on staff will work better for you and may actually be cheaper in the long run. Dito if any utilities were disturbed/relocated during the work which should also have been included in the permit so require architect's drawings for the relocations or such.

One other possibility - in many states a General Contractor can actually legally design a building not exceeding from 2-8 units (depending on state) and not over 2 or 3 stories high - so your foundation contractor might be able to get the necessary plans generated top match what he did and then get the permit approved based on those - without an engineer being involved at all.

One other thing - the adherance to this varies a lot area by area, but technically in lieu of a contract agreement that the homeowner or his architect is getting the permits, a contractor is responsible to be sure that appropriate permits are in effect before starting any work which requires a permit, so getting the after-the-fact permit (and paying for any penalty - though not the basic permit) fees should probably be the responsibility and out of the pocket of the contractor, if this was done at all recently. Of course, going way back if it was done under a previous owner would be mighty difficult - not realistic if over say a year or so ago.

Course, if this was a DIY job and your area still requires a permit (even though DIY, which on your own home is exempt from permitting in many cases), then you are on the hook for getting it processed per the first part of response above.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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