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modify bathroom without permit
Old 02-13-2017, 11:40 AM   #1
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modify bathroom without permit

Last summer, my mother was talking to our next door neighbor's wife.
She told my mother that because her in-laws were visiting and could not climb stairs that they had hired an uninsured plumber to convert the first floor 1/2 bathroom to one with a shower.

It goes without saying that no permits were obtained from the township and no inspections done.

Should I be concerned?
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:48 AM   #2
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I thought permits were needed only when structural changes were made to a building/house, not for just remodeling. Had kitchen gutted last year to studs & no permits were necessary.
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:49 AM   #3
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What you need a permit for is determined by the local authorities. There is no general rule.
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:50 AM   #4
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If I followed, it is your neighbor who may have converted their 1/2 bath to add a shower.

Why would you be concerned? What effect would would it have on you?

If they converted it to a small Nuclear Plant, I could understand. But how could you be harmed by their shower? It doesn't drain out on the lawn and flow onto your property, does it?

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Old 02-13-2017, 12:03 PM   #5
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Permit requirements vary by locality. That said, putting in a shower isn't that difficult. Screwing it up takes a level of incompetence that few people charging for such a service have. If the water flows properly and is draining properly without any leaks, I wouldn't worry about it. If it isn't draining properly and water isn't flowing properly, I still wouldn't worry about it because it would be the neighbor's problem, not your mom's.
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:09 PM   #6
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Permits? We don't need no stinking permits.
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
If I followed, it is your neighbor who may have converted their 1/2 bath to add a shower.

Why would you be concerned? What effect would would it have on you?

If they converted it to a small Nuclear Plant, I could understand. But how could you be harmed by their shower? It doesn't drain out on the lawn and flow onto your property, does it?

-ERD50
+1

And the stinking permits comment too!!

Or maybe it's the rain station for their new grow op.... trying to get ahead of the curve?
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:16 PM   #8
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I thought permits were needed only when structural changes were made to a building/house, not for just remodeling. Had kitchen gutted last year to studs & no permits were necessary.
Same here. Gutted kitchen and both bathrooms down to studs, and no permits necessary. I think they were only needed if changed electrical or plumbing.

In the case of the OP's neighbor, I'd be surprised if a permit wasn't required, since extensive plumbing changes/additions would be necessary. In any case, it's the neighbor's house, so I wouldn't be concerned or get involved.
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:30 PM   #9
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Where I live putting a shower into a bathroom definitely requires a permit and full inspection. Last year renovated a couple of bathrooms and a kitchen and would not have proceeded without permits and inspections. However, I would only be concerned about your neighbor foolishly doing things without permits if you share a wall or basement etc.
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:41 PM   #10
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+1....
+2 Why would you be concerned that your neighbor did some relatively minor work without a permit (assuming that one would be required in your jurisdiction)? Where I live, I don't think a permit would be required to add a shower to an existing bathroom, but it might be... but it would be my neighbor's business... not mine.
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:42 PM   #11
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We needed electrical and plumbing permits for a kitchen (via a contractor). I bet DIYers redo full kitchens and baths all the time without permits, though, and wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 02-13-2017, 12:44 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by broadway View Post
Last summer, my mother was talking to our next door neighbor's wife.
She told my mother that because her in-laws were visiting and could not climb stairs that they had hired an uninsured plumber to convert the first floor 1/2 bathroom to one with a shower.

It goes without saying that no permits were obtained from the township and no inspections done.

Should I be concerned?
The first concern that jumps into my mind is why anyone would want to hire anyone that is uninsured more than likely not bonded or licensed either to do any type of work in their home or business. To each there own I guess.

I would venture to guess that if even minor plumbing changes were required or any other mechanical such as electrical wiring or framing members needed to be altered, a permit would have been required.

However, filing a permit can turn a relatively simple project into a complicated nightmare. Sometimes municipalities like to way overstep their boundaries and make you jump through all sorts of hoops just for doing a simple project.

I think this is a situation where you clearly need to mind your own business. How could this possibly affect you? Nobody wants to be known as the neighbor who turned in someone for not following all of the rules. We are not in grade school anymore.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:01 PM   #13
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I think this is a situation where you clearly need to mind your own business. How could this possibly affect you? Nobody wants to be known as the neighbor who turned in someone for not following all of the rules. We are not in grade school anymore.
In NJ, you do need to be licensed to do plumbing work.

I was/am concerned shoddy work i.e. sewage lines improperly connected.

It turns out that here in this township, they'll ding you with a fine when you sell your house if you don't get the proper electrical and plumbing permits. They have to get their $ somehow.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:08 PM   #14
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In NJ, you do need to be licensed to do plumbing work.

I was/am concerned shoddy work i.e. sewage lines improperly connected.

It turns out that here in this township, they'll ding you with a fine when you sell your house if you don't get the proper electrical and plumbing permits. They have to get their $ somehow.
I understand that you they likely needed a permit, and should have used a licensed plumber.

But I don't understand why it concerns you. If the sewer line is improperly connected, it will affect them (backup, odor), not you.

There are bigger things in this world to worry about (like did we use "affect/effect" correctly in this thread - I think so, but I get it wrong sometimes).

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Old 02-13-2017, 02:12 PM   #15
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How would the quality or lack of affect you? If their shower floods it will be in their house, who cares?
As others have stated it's really none of your business.
Glad I don't have neighbors like you.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:15 PM   #16
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...It goes without saying that no permits were obtained from the township and no inspections done.
Should I be concerned?
Before reading the previous posts, I had no idea if you should be concerned or not. Now, I think I have the answer: you should not be concerned unless there's some foul water being splashed into your den from a pipe that you've never seen before that is originating from your neighbor's house.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:16 PM   #17
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I was/am concerned shoddy work i.e. sewage lines improperly connected.
Still, it's hard to see how you'd be impacted, unless you are sharing a common septic system.

Quote:
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It turns out that here in this township, they'll ding you with a fine when you sell your house if you don't get the proper electrical and plumbing permits. They have to get their $ somehow.
Then your neighbor may have to pay a fine when that time comes. The government-imposed "guild protection" measures are more entrenched in some localities than others.

It would seem that the best way to find the answer to the question is to contact your city, township, or county permitting office and ask them.

Note to myself: Talk to DW, ask her not to discuss any of our home improvement projects with "helpful" neighbors.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:16 PM   #18
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In NJ, you do need to be licensed to do plumbing work.
You generally need a permit to to do "New" plumbing or electrical. But not repair. Adding a new shower or even a new electrical outlet requires a permit, replacing an existing shower enclosure or outlet box does not.

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I was/am concerned shoddy work i.e. sewage lines improperly connected.
The sewerage/drain line would be connected into the existing sewerage line leaving the house, if there was an issue it would flood that house. Are you in a condo? Sharing foundation? Sharing the same septic leaching field? Sharing a sewerage outflow? If not, do not worry, it is highly unlikely that it will affect you.

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It turns out that here in this township, they'll ding you with a fine when you sell your house if you don't get the proper electrical and plumbing permits. They have to get their $ somehow.
Good thing this is not your worry.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:36 PM   #19
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Two years ago, my brand new neighbor gutted his house to the studs and rebuilt it, along with tearing down and building a new garage. He didn't have a zoning variance, permission from the historic district or a single building permit, and I'm fairly certain that none of the guys he picked up from the Home Depot parking lot was licensed to do anything.

When the young wife asked me "doesn't he need permits to do that," I said "Yep, but it's none of our business." Eventually, the town caught up to him (as I suspected they would), issued him a cease and desist order, and he had to go before P&Z board and the historic district commission. Fortunately for him, you can have your house inspected by the building department and get the plumbing and electric permits retroactively.

In the end, he did a good job and the house looks nice inside and out. All's well that ends well.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:39 PM   #20
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You generally need a permit to to do "New" plumbing or electrical. But not repair. Adding a new shower or even a new electrical outlet requires a permit, replacing an existing shower enclosure or outlet box does not.
A few years back I needed to have a hot water heater replaced. The requirements at that time dictated that all water heater replacements needed a permit and inspection. Due to my lack of time (working for a start up) and the difficulty in getting a similar unit to my last one (coaxial venting) -- would take 3 to 4 weeks, I just had someone put in a tankless direct vent. The inspection was useful in getting the unit installed properly.

But the point as others have made, rules vary locally. In my local, identical replacements ... water heaters and furnaces need a permit and inspection. Is it overkill? Maybe. Maybe not. Some of the self repairs I've seen make me think twice that maybe it is good to have someone checking. But many that do their own mods don't have inspections. I would bet that would have a good shot of invalidating some insurance clauses.
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