I will just take longer, right? My wife and I do most of the work on our 100+ year old house ourselves. For some things, especially those that other people can see, we get permits, but for some simpler jobs, we have not. I guess I don't understand why you can't do the work if it will take permits. You can still be the contractor (owner-builder), right?
I'll give you an example: Our building department requires a permit for repairing a hole in drywall that is more than just spackle and paint. If you have to patch a hole, it requires a permit...Ummmm, yeah...
That said, our building department is very helpful, and they understand the challenges we face with a home of our age. Most of the home doesn't meet code, and they tend to "overlook" the non-complying parts of the house when they're in for an inspection...
Hack (a.k.a. Jeff)