Any inspectors from MA here? Do I need a permit to do these repairs?

Discussion in 'General Home Improvement Discussion' started by apsinkus, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. Jan 31, 2008 #1

    apsinkus

    apsinkus

    apsinkus

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    I am in Somerville, MA and I am looking to put an offer on a nice house with very good bones. It was built in 1910 and has been owned by same lady for 40 years.

    1. Is there a list somewhere of house improvements that do not require permits? We are thinking about adding couple of windows, skylights, and replacing old posts in the porch with metal ones clad in wood.

    2. In the house there is a third floor attic that has been converted to one large bedroom. Are there any code requirements and permit issues to expand existing window frame (only down, while keeping same width) for a floor to ceiling window and railing that creates Juliette balcony? The existing window does look like emergency egress window, but I would like to make the egress larger with the mentioned solution and make the room more sunny.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Jan 31, 2008 #2

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

    Housebroken Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Glad to hear about the new dream...
    Yes , check with the local building department, usually in the town hall complex. Thay will have the specifics, each town may be a little different.
    Don't be scared...they are there to help you along.:D
     
  3. Jan 31, 2008 #3

    apsinkus

    apsinkus

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    Yeah... I called them pretty much everything requires a permit. So much for DYI. We can only do our work on a weekend, because both me and wifey are working full time. So much for the pipe dream of getting those projects done ourselves. Some might have to go away due to the cost of contractors.
     
  4. Jan 31, 2008 #4

    Hack

    Hack

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    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...
     
  5. Jan 31, 2008 #5

    travelover

    travelover

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    It is easier to get forgiveness than permission. Unless you have a real PITA for an inspector, they'll work with you, doing your own work.
     
  6. Jan 31, 2008 #6

    guyod

    guyod

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    "Im sorry i didnt know i needed a permit for an addition." "That ok i'll just need a $25 permit fee. You're doing a good job" .. Thats how it plays out in my happy dreams. lol
     
  7. Feb 1, 2008 #7

    apsinkus

    apsinkus

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    I have pissed off my share of inspectors in the early stage of my career when I had to deal with office buildouts for companies I worked for.
    This time I am the one paying out of my pocket, so I don't want to piss off anyone in that small city hall.

    So yes, I think I will have windows and skylights installed by a contractor and than gut the attic myself.
     

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