Permits how would you handle it?

propjetprop

Gold Supporter
Jan 5, 2018
103
Douglasville Georgia
So my pool and back yard reno are complete (for the most part), ground breaking was January 2018. I have paid the General Contractor for the entire project without hesitation every time funds were requested, and the project is paid in full.

I have copies of the original plans submitted to the county before construction started dated back in December 2017. I also have emails from the GC confirming permit submission dates and times.

Fast forward 6 months

A county inspector showed up at the house about two weeks ago and did a walk through with me on the almost completed project. He pointed out a handful of things that were not to code. He left and said he was going to reach out to the GC about these issues. I then notified the GC about the suprise visit from the County inspector and passed on as much information as I could.

Two days ago I get a bill for over $2500 for permits!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here is what they are billing me for:

Permit document prep - $1,170
Permit document seal and sign - $250
Permit application (city time) - $325
County Pool Application Fee - $150
Engineering review, stamp and signature - $300
Permit application (city time) - $130
Permit Print outs - $20
Additional handrail for deck required by code - $450

KNOW THIS.... THE WHOLE PROJECT HAS ALREADY BEEN COMPLETED AND PAID FOR, TO THE TUNE OF OVER 100K and I am now getting this?

Additionally, I paid for a wood deck. They built me a wood deck that did not have hand rails and therefore was not to code. They now want to charge me an additional $450 to bring the deck they built up to code???? NO WAY.... I paid for a to code wood deck.... Is that not like buying a car at a dealership going to the back to do the paperwork and coming out to the car and the tires are gone... Then the dealer tell you, after you have already bought the car that the tires will be an additional $450!!!!?!?!?!?!??!?!?

The FINAL inspection is still pending.


How would you all handle this?
 

PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
4,710
Damascus, MD
What does your contract say about permit fees? Permitting is specifically included in mine.

If the pool failed inspection and there was some sort of fine involved with that, I would expect the PB to cover that, up to and including taking him to court to recover it. I did have a similar issue with my build where the grading was not up to code and failed inspection (no fines). My PB refused to address the issue so I had it done for $3500 and am now suing the PB for recovery of that money (court date August).
 

proavia

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Feb 6, 2015
1,928
Chandler AZ
Do you have a written contract stating the exact scope of the work? Does it include any verbiage about permits, work completed up to code, etc?

If the builder is resistant you might consider reaching out to your local Board of Contractors for guidance.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
24,074
SouthWest Alabama
First thing to know, who is stated in the contract as being responsible for permit costs? If that cost is clearly stated in the contract that it's the responsibility of the builder then you don't owe those costs. However, if it's not clearly stated that the PB is financially responsible for the permitting, then you may have a problem getting them to accept the charges.

As for the fence, I'd definitely be bucking that charge, because they knew without a doubt, before they ever started building it, that it would have to meet code.
 

propjetprop

Gold Supporter
Jan 5, 2018
103
Douglasville Georgia
There is nothing in the contract that refers to permits.

There is one line in the contract that refers to silt fence installation as required by the County. I paid for this item.

I appreciate y'alls opinions... I am gathering information and opinoins before I address this situation with the GC.
 

dustin2471

Silver Supporter
Jun 19, 2014
112
Roseville / CA
Sorry to get into this but usually permits need to be issued before construction begins? Engineering needs to be done before construction since the size of the rebar and the distance between each section are determined by the engineer? The county inspector usually doesn't show up on a friendly basis unless permits are issued OR someone called the county on you for doing non-permitted work? (and that's usually not friendly) Call the county pool permits, check with them and see if the permits have been pulled? If they have then this is a matter between you. the contractor, AND the contractors license board.
 

propjetprop

Gold Supporter
Jan 5, 2018
103
Douglasville Georgia
Permits were pulled before construction. But it looks like they did not have the pool ground bond inspected...so they need an engineering letter that they are charging me for to prove the pool was grounded. (I saw the work done). They are also charging me as you can see in the original post for all of the permits again... I am not sure but I think the county is making them reapply for everything...on my dime?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
45,860
Tallahassee, FL
EVERY thing in writing from now on. NO talking on the phone. Texts or even better emails. I would talk to the permit people to make SURE the permits were pulled AND paid for.

Once you get the written paper work proving the permits were pulled AND paid for then send your PB a CERTIFIED letter with that info. "hey dude they have already been issued and paid for". Let him know you will not be paying again because they messed up AND you expect all work to be brought up to code on HIS dime.

Again NO phone calls! To easy to turn that into the he said, he said....written only and save them!!!

Do you have paper work from the inspector?
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,764
Chapel Hill, NC
On a $100,000k project, this is appalling nickel and diming on the part of the contractor! Follow the good advice above - if he applied for permits, he should have paid for them. If he builds pools, he should know how to build them to code!
 

blakeusa

In The Industry
Jul 8, 2010
605
Ashford, CT
On a $100,000k project, this is appalling nickel and diming on the part of the contractor! Follow the good advice above - if he applied for permits, he should have paid for them. If he builds pools, he should know how to build them to code!
Agreed.
And as a licensed contractor he should know that you can not build - especially a swimming pool without proper permits.
At a minimum all work must be completed to state and local building codes.
And he needs to pay for the permits if he has not already - as he never should have stepped foot on your property without them.
His insurance may also not cover work done without permits. Does he have bonding? Many states have minimum bonding requirements.

Time for a sit down with the contractor - I start nice then go to not happy options last.

> Call or visit the local contractors licensing board.
> Ask them for help.
> Many states have ombudsmen or people that can help with contractor disputes.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
5,183
Central California
Was the deck permitted? Was there a set of plans? Or was it just: "I can build you a deck right there." "OK, build me a deck." If the latter, then the deck needs to be built to code. PB's dime. Non-negotiable. I think it's reasonable to assume a licensed contractor would build something to code.

But...

Submitting plans, pulling permits, etc does not mean they were paid for. You have evidence that he submitted plans and pulled permits. Yes? He hasn't really done anything wrong or illegal in that regard. Now, I've never been involved with a permit where the permit was issued without paying, but I suppose that varies from county to county. Or it may have been an oversight by the building dept. I just had a county send me a bill for some charge they neglected to include on a permit that was pulled seven years ago. All final'ed, signed off, etc. They just forgot to include an administration fee, no statute of limitations, they just came a callin' for it. Nothing I could do about it. They'd just file a lien. So there's no use fighting the building dept. If they say you owe, you owe. You should verify the charges, and make sure they have their paperwork in order, of course, but if what needs to be paid for wasn't paid for, then you're on the hook for it.

That was the good news. I doubt very much you'd have a case if the PB doesn't pony up. Unless the contract specifies the cost of the build includes permits, then it doesn't. I can see where that would be upsetting. And I can understand it would be natural to assume the PB would cover something like that. But that is just that, an assumption. Might not be the reality of it. If it helps, permits are part of the expense of the project. Assuming you haven't paid for them yet, now you do. The cost of them would have been tacked on to the total if the contract had specified the PB pay. So either way, it's a cost that you would have paid...

So sorry, though. Not a fun surprise at all. It does blow that this was not explained to you, disclosed to you. And not handled much better by the contractor. But that sad fact, unfortunately, doesn't make him responsible for the charges. It just makes him a jerk.

See what he says, maybe this is just his oversight and he'll pay and we're all getting worked up for nothing...
 

dustin2471

Silver Supporter
Jun 19, 2014
112
Roseville / CA
not arguing but if permits were pulled it is the PB's responsibility to call for the various inspections (unless written contract states otherwise) as that is a normal expectation of the contractor doing the work, it is not the responsibility of the home owner to call for an inspection and PB coming back and saying well you didn't call for the pool bond inspection is not the home owners responsibility, it is a normal expectation that the professional PB is going to call for that inspection so it is reasonable to expect that the PB pays for missed inspections and the costs that arise from it IMO that would be an argument that the contractors license board would definitely hear and side with the Home Owner. not a lawyer nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn last night.
Everything in writing

Just re-read original post and there is no way in heck I would pay the original contractor to install a hand rail, sorry I would pay someone else or DIY.

Call the county permit area, identify yourself and ask to talk with someone regarding some fees that you have questions on, ask about ALL the additional permit fees and charges your GC is tacking on so you know if these fees are real or simply put more money for GC? I would bet money that permit document prep is profit.

When I spoke with my county before starting our build for some reason??? the person I was talking to thought I was already done, they will inspect and certify a project permits and everything else costs more I would guess that is the angle you GC is coming from?
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
5,183
Central California
not arguing but if permits were pulled it is the PB's responsibility to call for the various inspections (unless written contract states otherwise) as that is a normal expectation of the contractor doing the work, it is not the responsibility of the home owner to call for an inspection and PB coming back and saying well you didn't call for the pool bond inspection is not the home owners responsibility, it is a normal expectation that the professional PB is going to call for that inspection so it is reasonable to expect that the PB pays for missed inspections and the costs that arise from it IMO that would be an argument that the contractors license board would definitely hear and side with the Home Owner. not a lawyer nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn last night.
Everything in writing

Just re-read original post and there is no way in heck I would pay the original contractor to install a hand rail, sorry I would pay someone else or DIY.

Call the county permit area, identify yourself and ask to talk with someone regarding some fees that you have questions on, ask about ALL the additional permit fees and charges your GC is tacking on so you know if these fees are real or simply put more money for GC? I would bet money that permit document prep is profit.

When I spoke with my county before starting our build for some reason??? the person I was talking to thought I was already done, they will inspect and certify a project permits and everything else costs more I would guess that is the angle you GC is coming from?
I think we're making two different points, both valid (IMO). If it can be shown that additional permit or constructions costs were required to cover some oversight or mistake by the PB, including missed inspections, then that should be paid for by the PB, and pursued as such by the OP (including not building a deck to code). I agree that it is the PBs responsibility to manage the permit process. My point was that if all the PB did was properly submit plans and pull permits, as required of the project, but neglected to pay for any of that, then I don't believe he is liable for the cost of the permit(s), because the contract doesn't state that. The ethics of it and good business practice aside (the PB certainly should have disclosed all that), there is no legal wrong doing by the PB for not paying for the permits. That's just my opinion about it, based only on my limited experience with contracts. One possible analogy: it's reasonable to assume the PB would manage the filling of the pool, the physical act of it. But it would not be reasonable to assume the PB would pay for the water. Not unless the contract specified that. Now if the PB forgot to connect the drain, requiring the pool be emptied for the fix, then the PB should pay for the second batch of water.

As I had mentioned, as you did, the OP should verify the charges with the building dept. If there are additional charges due to PB negligence, that's one thing. If the charges are all "normal" for the project, then I don't see how the OP can collect on that from the PB.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
18,959
Northern NJ
Two days ago I get a bill for over $2500 for permits!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here is what they are billing me for:

Permit document prep - $1,170
Permit document seal and sign - $250
Permit application (city time) - $325
County Pool Application Fee - $150
Engineering review, stamp and signature - $300
Permit application (city time) - $130
Permit Print outs - $20
Additional handrail for deck required by code - $450

KNOW THIS.... THE WHOLE PROJECT HAS ALREADY BEEN COMPLETED AND PAID FOR, TO THE TUNE OF OVER 100K and I am now getting this?
I agree all those costs should have been included in the contracted price.

A project is not completed until all inspections are passed and government approvals obtained in writing. Your project is not completed. In the future final payment should always be contingent on inspections being complete and C of O issued.

If builder won't step up then you have no choice but to lay out the money, notify the builder that the payments are in dispute, and then file a complaint with your areas licensing board or whoever controls pool builders in your area, and if you feel your contracts give you a strong case maybe take it to small claims court.
 

dustin2471

Silver Supporter
Jun 19, 2014
112
Roseville / CA
Agreed.

Not many times in my life have I heard glad to live in Ca but this would be one of them regarding Contractors License Board. At least in Ca the License Board takes the view that contractors are sharks and home owners or the customers are chum, so it usually is the onus of the contractor to prove that the home owners expectations are unrealistic or unreasonable. Again it doesn't sound that way in this case, the hard part is the OP may be in a bind since engineering wet signature can be hard and expensive to get from someone else?

Please let us know how it turns out, I for one am very curious.

Good Luck!
Dustin