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 Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: bluesky99 (MI)

I recenty had my water heater installed by a plumber I hired on thumbtack. I learned after the fact that the city I live in requires a permit for water heater replacement and was told the plumber would have to pull a permit for me. I contacted the plumber and he agreed to follow up with the city and take care of it but it's been over a week and no reply back from him despite a few reminders.

In the event he won't cooperate, can I simply explain the situation to the city and pull a permit on my own and schedule inspection?

Also, is there some penalty on the part of the plumber if he refused to pull a permit? Prior to installation he said he was a master plumber but I'm not so sure now. The job appears well done though but I still want to make sure it's done to the code.

Thanks for your help!

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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: packy (MA)

you did not install the heater so the permit can't be pulled with you listed as the installer.

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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: stuckinlodi (MO)

Even without a permit you can have the job inspected by an experienced plumber, ask around to find one that is personally known and trusted. Or you can call the city inspections office, speak to an inspector and ask for advice about getting someone to take a look at it. They should be able to suggest a way to get it inspected, either officially or as friendly advice. I don't know what the permit cost would be in your city, but there are home inspectors that work for realtors and home buyers, you could get someone like that to come out, they probably wouldn't charge much to just look at the water heater install.

The plumber that did the install may have done a good job but doesn't want the hassle of getting a permit for someone to tell him he did a good job. He may feel that his time is better spent on other jobs. Even if there is a city requirement to get a permit it is often ignored on some simpler jobs. When you have something like this done and you want a permit pulled and the job inspected it's a good idea to make sure beforehand that the contractor will do it. I know you probably trusted that would be done but unless you ask ahead of time....



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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: sum (FL)

Whether you can or not depends on your city. In my area you can pull an owner permit only if its your primary residence, and 30 miles south anyone can but had to pass some basic exams.

If yoh do pull the permit, the inspector would assume either you did it or "your cousin Vinny" did it. The issue you may run into is if the inspector starts asking you questions about the install. Such as asking you to identify the breaker the WH is on, he may look at the amps on the breaker and the gauge of the wiring connected to it, then cross check that with the WH wattage. He may ask you a few other things such as where does the T&P valve pipe exit the house or what temperature you set in the elements, if you are not sure of the answers it may be tough because a building inspector is unlikely to go out of his or her way to recon an install for you.

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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: hj (AZ)

In this area, if YOU want a permit and inspection it will cost you at LEAST $150.00 extra because of the cost and time to obtain it.

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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: stuckinlodi (MO)

That's why I'm thinking the plumber that installed their water heater thought he was doing them a favor to hold down the total cost by not getting a permit, plus he'd rather avoid the time and hassle. It's probably the way he does all (or nearly all) water heater installations and most customers are fine with it since their cost is lower.

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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: jblanche (WI)

Here, it doesn't matter who actually goes to the office, fills out the paperwork, and pays. What does matter is who is listed as the contractor, the contractor's license #, that somebody calls the office for rough and final inspection, and that somebody is present for the inspections.

I've had the plumber get his own permit on a couple of jobs, then I got & paid for the later ones, for exactly the reason that he's going to charge me for handling, one way or another.

I got the electrician's permits for him. Same deal as the plumber.

I get my own permits, too, listing myself as the contractor, as an owner-occupant. That's a local requirement.

*******************************
Links to the State of Wisconsin Plumbing Code:
[docs.legis.wisconsin.gov]
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I am not a plumber.
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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: packy (MA)

permit for a water heater in the town next to me is a flat 100.00 fee.
permit must be pulled by a licensed plumber.
add in the time to obtain the permit and the time to stand inspection and it somewhat more than 150.00...

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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: sum (FL)

The whole permit thing is getting out of hand in terms of the extra processes that's well intended for safety but most of the time end up as nothing but endless red tape and frustrations.

In our city once the permit has been approved you have to physically go pick up the permit copy, take it to the county courthouse building that is 30 minutes away, to get it officially recorded by the county, which will earn you a red stamp by the county on the notice of commencement. "A copy of this recorded notice" then has to be posted at the job site for the inspector. My city has the inspector doing inspection but another inspector at the end comes to collect the NOC copy before "final ok" can be issued on the permit. One time I had a photocopy of the recorded NOC posted and they failed me. I called and asked why. Told me they needed a county issued copy of NOC. I said it is a copy of the county recorded NOC. They said no they need one with a blue stamp. If its a red stamp it is original recorded NOC, not acceptable. If its a photocopy of original also not acceptable. It has to be a "copy" issued by the county after they recorded it and put the red stamp on, then you go to another counter at the county building to request a copy of it which they put a blue stamp on. The blue stamp is what they want.

This past summer I had to redo my driveway and the part I need to redo is the apron outside of the property line. You would not believe the chaos. First of all I needed to redo it because the city came and repaired a water line leak. They tore up my concrete driveway to make the repair. When they were done they backfilled and repaired the section they tore up with crushed gravel. I asked them to put concrete back they said no, but they can fill it with asphalt. That is an irregular shaped section they broke with a jackhammer and a dozer. So I said forget it and I will fix it myself. Now in my city if you do work inside the property line you need to post a notice of commencement, but if you do work outside the line you must post an encroachment agreement signed by the city, the county. South Florida water management district etc...so I did that. The day we finished I called for inspection. The next day the building inspector came out and I was at the job site. He looked around and asked me where the NOC is. I said no NOC because work is outside of property line so I posted an encroachment agreement. He then said why didn't you call public works for the inspection? Why is he a building inspector from structures doing out here for a drivrway? Now you know what? When I called for inspection we do not specify what inspector, we only give permit number and the "system" assigns the inspector. We don't even indicate what inspections are needed, the permit is circulated through all departments and they indicate what department has to inspect and in what order. So how could I have called for the wrong inspector? So he failed me for not having a NOC because as a building inspector once he is called out he has to see a NOC and his system on his iPad forced him to check if an NOC is posted and he must say no even though he knows he was incorrectly assigned. That afternoon I went to the county to record the NOC so I can call for another inspection to come to collect the unnecessary NOC. Meanwhile I called public works and their inspector came out to final the permit, a permit I paid for and work I do to repair their incomplete job.

I never had problems with the quality of work as I do my homework but I always spend extra time on insane red tape.



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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: hj (AZ)

When you get a permit as an owner/occupant, you are saying that YOU, personally, will be doing ALL the work. You are not supposed to hire ANYONE for assistance, otherwise, you become a contractor and need a license.

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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: hj (AZ)

That would be PLUS the $100.00 for the permit.

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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: hj (AZ)

In Chicago, in the 50's, getting a permit was an all day job.

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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: stuckinlodi (MO)

"I never had problems with the quality of work as I do my homework but I always spend extra time on insane red tape."
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That red tape hassle & cost is why so much of the work is done "under the radar" nowadays. For commercial jobs it is usually done by the book but for residential repair work my sense is many times a permit is not gotten and the homeowner is fine with it because their cost for the work is lower and they trust the man doing the work.



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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: packy (MA)

all day job but the permit fee was 2.00

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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: PlumberLoren (CA)

These post about permits are one reason the folks are pissed off at City/County regulations. In many cases it is overkill and just plain job creation by the entity involved. If you are on a fixed income, you are really screwed. The government causes work to be done under the table because of this. It all sucks and the customer pays for it in the end. Very Stupid System. Wake up people.

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 Re: Can I pull a permit myself when the plumber won't?
Author: steve_g (CA)

When I walk into the permit bureau, I hear the Twilight Zone tune in my head. Time & space follow different rules here.

The only word that adequately describes the modern permit process is 'kafkaesque'.

Kaf·ka·esque

adjective

characteristic or reminiscent of the oppressive or nightmarish qualities of Franz Kafka's fictional world.



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