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Permits/inspections for repair/renovation  

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Iammom3b
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January 31, 2019 8:57 pm  

I seem to be able to find at least some information about codes, permits and inspections for NEW construction, but am struggling to find anything about the requirements for “fixing” a home... Like replacing a roof on a damaged house or adding an extra room. Anybody have insight to offer on WHAT exactly is required and WHERE I can find that information?


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Scubadoo
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January 31, 2019 10:07 pm  

ha ha.  Have not looked into that.  After Maria, when lot's of homes had their electrical service weather heads ripped from their houses, WAPA required a repair signed off by a licensed electrician before they would restore power.  Nothing about a permit.  I'd expect a permit to be required/needed for additions.  I'd guess most residential repairs of any sort are not getting permitted, whether they need to be or not.  DPNR is the place to contact for any permit questions.


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stjohnjulie
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February 1, 2019 4:52 am  

You need plans and permits for structural repairs and additions.  You will need to get with an architect/structural engineer to get plans drawn up.  They usually do the permitting for you as well.   If the home you are speaking of has NOT had power since the storms, be aware that getting power restored these days is not as simple as asking for a reconnect by a licensed electrician.  There has been less and less wiggle room with the 'rules' as we have moved out of disaster mode and moved into recovery mode.  


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Kokonut
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February 1, 2019 8:43 am  

I have never once gotten a permit for any home renovations or repairs in all the years I've lived on STX.

My view is that as long as I'm building to code the only reason to get a permit is to pay more taxes and fees.

Why would I want to do that?


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Gator's Mom
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February 1, 2019 9:29 am  
Posted by: Kokonut

I have never once gotten a permit for any home renovations or repairs in all the years I've lived on STX.

My view is that as long as I'm building to code the only reason to get a permit is to pay more taxes and fees.

Why would I want to do that?

Do you have homeowners insurance? Do you have a mortgage?  Do you ever plan to sell your home? 

Many improvements and repairs within the existing footprint of your home don't require permits - kitchens, baths, floors, etc. 

However, today's buyers (lenders and insurers) look closely at whether or not permits were pulled and closed for exterior work such as roofs and windows as well as infrastructural work such as electrical upgrades. 

Taxes and fees in the VI and negligible. The biggest cost of doing it "right" is hiring a contractor/architect/structural engineer to work beside you to assure permitted construction meets stringent hurricane codes.  


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East Ender
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February 1, 2019 3:06 pm  

Kokonut: I have heard of neighbors calling DPNR if they see work going on and no permit posted...


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Kokonut
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February 2, 2019 8:11 am  
Posted by: Gator's Mom
Posted by: Kokonut

I have never once gotten a permit for any home renovations or repairs in all the years I've lived on STX.

My view is that as long as I'm building to code the only reason to get a permit is to pay more taxes and fees.

Why would I want to do that?

Do you have homeowners insurance? Do you have a mortgage?  Do you ever plan to sell your home? 

Many improvements and repairs within the existing footprint of your home don't require permits - kitchens, baths, floors, etc. 

However, today's buyers (lenders and insurers) look closely at whether or not permits were pulled and closed for exterior work such as roofs and windows as well as infrastructural work such as electrical upgrades. 

Taxes and fees in the VI and negligible. The biggest cost of doing it "right" is hiring a contractor/architect/structural engineer to work beside you to assure permitted construction meets stringent hurricane codes.  

How would they know that such work was done if I didn't tell them?


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Exit Zero
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February 2, 2019 8:42 am  

A few years ago the VI Govt. did a reassessment of property tax. A small team came to my house and measured the exterior sq. footage as part of it. My house was built in the 1970's, and my sq. Footage matched what they had on record at the cadastral office of the Lt. Gov.

neighbors can also be concerned with setbacks etc. if they see concrete trucks or lumber being delivered.


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Gator's Mom
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February 2, 2019 3:46 pm  

Permits are public records. That's how you know if a permit was pulled or not. Usually newer renovations are apparent and a part of marketing a home for sale. Also, unpermitted changes will not be on the property card.

In FL now, you really cannot sell (or buy) a house with unpermitted changes to the original external footprint, roof, air conditioning, electrical, or plumbing.  

To rectify, you can permit after the fact, not have unpermitted work included in square footage calculation or the extreme of being forced to tear down the "improvement." 

In FL most buyers just won't look at homes with unpermitted work because it won't clear a title search and it's near impossible to get a mortgage. Title searches include permit searches now. VI cannot be far behind. 

In the VI, it behooves neighbors to watch for unpermitted work because those are the types of construction projects that will "disassemble" during storms and hit nearby houses. Miami-Dade code is our friend.

This post was modified 3 months ago by Gator's Mom

tedc and Alana33 liked
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Alana33
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February 3, 2019 1:22 am  

Changed all my interior windows, slidin glass door in my FL house, needed a permit and Inspection at the end of installation. You need a permit for every you do up here it seems like

Did same to house in stt,without permit and in inspections.

Didn't even cross my mind that it might require on.

 

 

  1. !!

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stjohnjulie
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February 3, 2019 5:36 am  

We just had a prime example of 'how they would know' when most homes here sustained some kind of damage in Irma and Maria.  FEMA and insurance companies inspected every home with a claim on it at least once and in most cases several times.  Building to code is a lot more than knowing what kind of lumber to use on your roof.  There is a reason why they make people sit for licenses to be a contractor, architect, and engineer.  There are occupancy limits which affect the number of bedrooms a place can have, how big the cistern must be, how big the septic has to be, the minimum size of windows and doors, the list goes on and on.  Permitting is not only important for your home, but it's also important for your neighbor's homes.  Both of my immediate neighbors' modest homes were destroyed when their immediate neighbors' homes roofs landed on their homes in Irma. 


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Kokonut
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February 4, 2019 8:12 am  
Posted by: East Ender

Kokonut: I have heard of neighbors calling DPNR if they see work going on and no permit posted...

It's just a piece of paper stapled to a board.

Anyone can print one up.


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Gator's Mom
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February 4, 2019 9:10 am  
Posted by: Kokonut
Posted by: East Ender

Kokonut: I have heard of neighbors calling DPNR if they see work going on and no permit posted...

It's just a piece of paper stapled to a board.

Anyone can print one up.

Permit is a public record - far more than a piece of paper. The piece of paper represents this public record.


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Iammom3b
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February 12, 2019 7:59 am  

WOW! Thanks so much for all the info...sounds like some DPNR research or phone calls are going to be warranted. 


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stjohnjulie
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February 13, 2019 4:10 am  

You can reach out to DPNR if you'd like, but a roof repair is a structural repair and adding a room changes the footprint of your home and both of those will require permitted plans which you will need an architect/structural engineer for.  They will have to draw up plans that need to be submitted to DPNR in order for you to get a permit.  Good luck!


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Iammom3b
(@iammom3b)
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Joined: 3 months ago
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February 14, 2019 8:45 am  

It’s really nice to get so many varied responses to help us make an educated decision moving forward.

Sounds like we WILL need permits/ inspections for some things and not others. Anyone have a recommendation for a trustworthy, reasonably priced architect-structural engineer on island? My husband will likely act as GC but we would want to make sure that the repairs/changes meet current standards.

 


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