So I've pulled down everything short of the studs in my master bathroom remodel and it looks like we will be able to grow our shower to something larger than the minimum 30" x 30". As a result, the project is growing in scope and I've got a plumber coming in to quote the change in pipes later this week. That being said, I know I need a permit, but I don't know which one(s) to apply for.
Since we will be moving a non-load bearing wall, do I need a building permit? My city also has plumbing and electrical permits. Should I apply for one of those, like the plumbing one, in lieu of the building permit? If I do need a building permit, does it cover the plumbing and electrical changes?
I've tried calling the building office in my city, but they were less than helpful. Any insight would be appreciated.
Notice at the bottom of my post I indicate what region I live. That will help people answer your question.
But the best thing you can do is actually go to the Building Dept in your area. Some of them have fliers on the wall that will answer your questions -- or you should be able to talk to someone more helpful. Different areas and municipalities have different requirements.
Are you moving or changing any electrical? Then you'll need an electrical permit. Are you moving or changing any plumbing? Then you'll need a plumbing permit. Are you doing a tile shower floor, or using a pre made shower pan? In some areas, the tile shower pan requires an extra inspection.
Again, different areas of the country, different states -- all have different requirements.
A "building permit" is a general term. There are sub categories such as: rough frame inspection, insulation inspection, rough in electrical, rough in plumbing, shower pan, sheetrock nail, and final.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Re-mdlr,
Hmm... with that many additional considerations, I think I'll take your suggestion and try to find time to get there.
To answer your questions, I am planing on moving the plumbing and electric. The plumbing should only move about a foot, but that is still moving so it looks like I'm going to need a plumbing permit. The electrical in the bath was a joke and I'm planing to add at least one wall outlet so I'll also need an electrical one. I am hoping to get by with a pre-built pan, but rough measurements on the area look like I'm 47.5" instead of the standard 48". Close enough that I plan to remeasure without the plaster-board.
I live in Mass, but what should I expect in general? I'm assuming that the rough-in inspection is going to be after I move the wall, but do I need to have it done before or after all the plumbing/electrical moving? Can the electrical and plumbing inspections be done at the same time? I've never heard of an insulation inspection, but I'll also assume I need that too. Is that before or after the vapor barrier? If I do need a shower pan inspection, can that be included as part of the plumbing inspection or does the inspector have to have full access to the drain?
Finally, aside from trying to digest the entire building code document, are there any resources that will help educate me on the inspection process and the difference stages? One line on the building permit application has me a little concerned in that it is requesting a contractor's license... It defeats the purpose of doing it myself if I have to turn around an hire a contractor just to be approved for a permit.
I don't have answers to your specific questions, but rather an approach that might help cover all the bases.
When you visit your building department, you might want to ask for a copy of their codes, and/or list of aspects which require permits.
Develop your own plan with a list of components (i.e., the plumbing, electrical) and identify which permits you think you'll need. You could also include the tasks which you don't think need permits, and so note on your plan.
Ask the building department to approve/agree, so you can find out up front what they want without leaving it up in the air and allowing them to come back with advice that you need another permit for some aspect.
They may not be flexible enough to do this, but if you take the reins in hand and present the concept to them from the viewpoint of making it easier for them, it might work.
I am not a professional contractor, but here's the likely scenario.
(1) code now requires bathrooms to have a separate 20 amp service, outlets on GFI, anything within reach of the shower/tub on GFI and potentially requiring bonding to ground of all metallic substances. permit. you will have to run a new wire to a new breaker in the entrance panel. electrical: permit with inspection.
(2) plumbing: permit with inspection. code requires a vent to the roof on every drain system.
(3) structure: you may require a structural permit with inspection even though you say you are not fiddling with anything that is load bearing. this would include a look at the floor. bathrooms have extra weight when large fancy tubs are involved, and there are a lot of houses that start with an iffy set of joists for the span between supports.
a good licensed, bonded, and trained contractor will pull the permits, hang 'em in the window as required, and arrange the inspections. the record is at city hall under your address. failure to have all the inspections signed off may impact salability of the house, although slapdash unpermitted work gets past the desk a lot of times. any homeowner opening anything in a project will see some, I fear.
sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
The shower pan inspection is to verify it holds water and has no leaks. So whoever is doing the job will put part of the pan together, no tile, then plug the drain, and fill it with water. Then the inspector checks that it is holding water. The pre made pans save a lot of time and effort and require no inspection.
Your best resources to learn of the process would be there in your area at the local Building Dept. Generally, the inspector can do the rough in frame, electrical, and plumbing inspection at the same time.
In some areas, a homeowner is allowed to do their own plumbing and electrical. In other areas, they require a contractor to do it. If your area allows the homeowner to do it, they'll have a check box to mark off on the permit that the homeowner is in charge of the situation.
After reading Re-mdlr's last post, I see that my earlier suggestion isn't appropriate. My community is small, down to a skeleton staff, and services have been drastically cut back, so I was thinking in terms of solving two issues simultaneously - identifying what permits are needed and helping the staff with some of the paperwork.
I think I would just ask your plumber. He'd be the better one to pull the plumbing permit anyway. More important, if he's been around a while he is very familiar with your local code department and what they require.
Many codes and inspections are still operated in a 'good ol' boy network" fashion. Most written code requirements will say that you need a permit and inspections for any of the work you are planning. While this may be true, many code departments don't care to get involved with minor changes like you have outlined. Sure, they'll sell you a permit and charge you for inspections if you want to, but they also may just let it slide. So ask your plumber, he should know the drill.
And while many small towns have a code office, the actual inspections are performed by third party inspection services who have a better working knowledge of each code.
"What would Curley do ?"
I did not know this. Something to put in the "learn something new every day" category. I deal with about six different code departments in my area. All are set up with their own inspectors. Not sure if there would be an advantage or disadvantage to either method.
Ever since the commonwealth adapted the ICC  they realized that all those local officials, while well meaning were nowhere near able to actually perform the inspections. I can not think of one town of the twenty or so local towns we work that does not have a third party inspection service. Which is good because many will use the same service and you can build a working rapport with that inspector. I also have a inspection service that I can call, but that is something frowned upon by the towns. But still legal as this company is certified by the local power utility.
"What would Curley do ?"
I would think it would be easy for the code department to claim a conflict if you had your own "regular" inspector on your projects. Especially true if you are paying him directly.
Like I said, a totally new process to me.
Some are not happy about it for sure. But completely legal according to the ICC. A qualified inspector is the paramount term here.
But when you call the local city or township office for an inspection you may see the guy next Friday. Now we never expect a 24hour turn around, but with a private inspection service I have gotten walk though inspections on Saturday afternoons. As the inspector happened to be in the area doing another job.
And yes he does receive payment from us for his services, but I never can not remember a case of entitlement because of payment. Mainly because he receives a check pass or fail. And any changes the inspector asks a note and or a phone call and the changes are made. Without a follow up inspection, because if he can't trust me by now, what is the use of being in this business?
I think it boils down to everybody in local gov. has their own little kingdom to protect..And in Penna. you can cross a street and be in a different town. Really way to much duplication of services that will never change. School districts combined 40 years ago and people still talk about the good old days of Swamp High, long gone... This message has been edited. Last edited by: CommonwealthSparky,
"What would Curley do ?"
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