Permit Question

eastgateApril 28, 2008

Last month, I bought a small, run-down, one-story cottage (1100 sq. ft. total, 900 sq. ft. living) built in the 1840's. A carpenter agreed to level the house (one sill needs replacing), but asked that I have the electricity turned on first. So I contacted a local electrician; he made the necessary updates (very minor) and filed a permit with the city. This morning I received a call from the electrician who told me that the city's electrical inspector saw the house and will not allow the electricity to be turned on (even though the wiring is okay), and that he was going to report me to the building code department for violations because he saw that the house is structurally unsound. Why am I being reported? I haven't started any renovations; I applied for the appropriate permit; and I can't start the renovation without electricity. How do people normally start the renovation of a property in poor condition? (And by the way, I happen to have a report from a structural engineer certifying that the house is structurally sound--I needed the report to get insurance and a mortgage!)

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I would gather your papers and actually go to your building permit office. Show them what you have, talk it out and I bet you'll be ok. Don't try and do this over the phone or by email. I think an in person visit will be better.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 5:12PM
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That's a good idea. I've never undertaken a project like this before; I guess I should have applied for a building permit first, and an electrical permit second. The contractor didn't want to deal with leveling which is why I hired the carpenter separately. I hope I don't have to pay a fine.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 8:17PM
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You probably won't have to pay a fine if you haven't started work, but you def. need to pay the officials a visit. They are used to people who routinely blow off polite warnings so they probably just use the big guns from the start.

One possible solution would be to arrange with the power company to set up an external power drop similar to a house under construction. You've probably seen this sort of thing, it's sort of a meter on an external post out in the yard. You can run leads into the house for power equipment and necessary stand lights in the beginning. It will require another visit from the electrician to make a proper connection to the house when you've got things squared away enough to handle direct connection of the house to the grid. But it's not a big deal.



    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 2:17AM
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That's probably what I'll have to do, but I wonder why the electrician didn't tell me what you just did. I'm also wondering what happened to the $250.00 fee I paid for the permit.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 9:28PM
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