Making the garage a shop #6: Every project has 'em. The first setback

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Blog entry by Shawn K. posted 03-03-2011 04:29 AM 1809 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: New tools to make room for old tools Part 6 of Making the garage a shop series Part 7: Weather is nice, I'm slowing down. »

I discovered my first setback in the shop conversion today. It spurs from two things, my naivete and the government, but it boils down to one word, permits.

When I was planning this little excursion, I planned to do things in stages. One wall at a time, spend the money over time, and reap the benefits of finished walls, hang some cabinets, hang some lumber racks, free up space to keep moving forward.

But I started wondering about permits. I wondered if ‘finishing’ the garage necessitated a permit. Yep, sure does. One permit for insulating and cladding, and another permit for the electrical. The thing is these permits aren’t cheap. The one for the walls isn’t too bad, the electrical is up there. A c-note just to have a guy come in and tell me that my electric is OK, or not, and then bill me another inspection if I screw something up.

Okay, so I need permits…eat the cost get the permits, right?

Unfortunately that blows my plan completely away. I have to do everything at once. Rough in the electrical, get it inspected, not a big deal, I’d have it all done at once anyway.

The stickler comes in with the walls. For the inspections I have to have everything done for each stage, all the insulation and then all the cladding has to be done for two separate inspections. In short, to be legal, I have a lot more work to do all at once, and a lot more money to spend all at once. Money isn’t coming in any faster, and time isn’t increasing…setback.

I’m considering some research into what sort of gotcha’s there are in not pulling the permits.

I’m considering continuing to freeze my butt off in the winter.

I’m wracking my brain on how to come up with all the money and all the time needed to give me a working shop as quickly as possible.

I know it’s just a setback, guys deal with this all the time, it’s just my turn. Starting to think I should’ve waited on the table saw and spent the money on the shop…but that saw is just too sweet to regret.

So, instead of moving forward on walls, I’m moving forward on storage, I’ll figure out the means to temporarily hang cabinets, then get things done as the money comes in.

-- -- Never entrust power to those who desire it.

7 comments so far

View Harry_Ch's profile


63 posts in 2670 days

#1 posted 03-03-2011 06:43 AM

I can understand the electrical inspection fees, but where the heck does insulating the place have to do with inspection fees? I can understand if that is a new building, but basicly, you’re just remodeling the place, not increasing its footprint. Do they make the distinction between those two or not?

The joke here is that they even want you submit plans/listing and get a permit for changing your landscaping theme (honestly, it is a real one). And of course the plans must be from a registered landscaping architect. Hmmm, anyone see a conspiracy there?

Keep on tracking with that workshop. Know you be up and sawing before long.

-- Deeds not Words.

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2649 days

#2 posted 03-03-2011 06:58 AM

It is another form of taxation without voter approval. To build a 1000 sq ft pole barn where I live requires purchasing an $800 permit from the county. Over 1000 sq ft and you’re talking in excess of $1000. it is ridiculous.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3096 days

#3 posted 03-03-2011 10:39 AM

I’m considering some research into what sort of gotcha’s there are in not pulling the permits.

Is it necessary that your local government knows everything you do??

-- mike...............

View pete79's profile


154 posts in 3135 days

#4 posted 03-03-2011 04:08 PM

I know on some/most elecrtical installations, there will be a sity/county inspection sticker applied after the inspection passes. But I can’t imagine you get anything other than maybe a piece of paper on the walls/insulation. Couple thoughts on that point:

1. Are you planning to move from this house? If not, who cares – do what you want and don’t worry about the insulation inspection.
2. If you are planning to move at some point, I can’t imagine a home inspector calling foul on permits/inspections for an insulated garage. We all know that a lot of home inspections during the closing process are a joke anyway. For all a new buyer knows, the walls were insulated before you moved in.

-- Life is a one lap race.

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2649 days

#5 posted 03-03-2011 09:15 PM

The one place where no permits could really bite you in the #$%^%% is if you have a fire and there is no signed electrical inspection permit of completion. Claims have been denied based on this. So be ready to self-insure in case, God Forbid, something were to happen.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View dlmckirdy's profile


199 posts in 3128 days

#6 posted 03-03-2011 10:53 PM

If you are not going to move for a long while, do the electrical first by permit. Don’t say anything about other planned improvements. Then, when you have the certificate of completion for the electrical, begin your insulation/cladding TO CODE, at your pace and schedule. If, down the road, you “get caught”, an inspection will reveal that all is to code and you will probably only have to pay for permits then.

Iv’e done that in two houses, and the issue of permits never came up. I hope to never have to move from this house (I totally despise moving). In rough economies, the local jurisdictions resort to whatever “fees” they can conjure up to finance themselves without attempting to raise property taxes.

-- Doug, Bakersfield, CA - I measured twice, cut it twice, and it is still too short!

View Bob42's profile


456 posts in 3785 days

#7 posted 03-04-2011 06:13 AM

It stinks, because they make you jump through hoops and they make you pay for it. I know they are supposed to be making sure it’s done right but I’ve seen more inspections that have missed so much, but it was still paid for. I am in the process of doing the same thing in my garage but not telling any one (except LJ’s) LOL. I ran a sub panel, outlets and am going to insulate and re- sheetrock. I am on hold now do to the flood in my living room that I have had to gut and remodel. Then back to the garage. Everything I do is to code so if it has to be inspected it will pass and it’s safe.

I agree with dlmckirdy,

-- Bob K. East Northport, NY

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