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bmtea 02-11-2009 02:02 PM

General permit and remodel question
I live in San Francisco, where illegal modifications are rampant. I can't remember seeing any house when we were looking for one to buy that didn't have an illegal in-law on the first level (garage).

Ours has one too (room + kitchen + bath). We are planning to do the following:

1. Remodel the room to be a hobby / craft room.
2. Remove the kitchen and convert that room to a laundry room.
3. Keep the bathroom but tidy it up a little (it's pretty funky right now).

I think permits / codes / inspections are a good thing, but if I go that route, will I be the guy who's ripped off by the system, while everyone else on the block is happily (and much more cheaply, I assume) modifying their houses?

I only plan to work with reputable and licensed people. Because of the cost factor, we are planning to do these modifications bit-by-bit over time, even potentially using different people for different jobs. Do we get a permit for every remodel, or do we get someone to make a plan for the complete remodel and then implement parts of it over time until completion and inspection?

(This may be an SF specific question:) Should I expect a good contractor to automatically bring up the permit question and be in favor of it, or will I have to insist on this myself? Just how "usual" it is to do remodels with or without permits?

Thanks for any insight.

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