By Helen Callier
August 8th, 2020
Three years ago, one of the most devastating storms to hit the Texas Gulf Coast caused over $125 billion in damage and made a horrendous impact in the Houston area. Today, the PermitUsNow continues to receive phone calls from Contractors, Architects, and property owners with pleas for assistance in obtaining building permits to restore and in many cases, rebuild homes.
From General Contractors working on multi-family buildings to single-family residences attempting to help those in need. Below is one such call to our toll-free line with the Contractor’s first name being changed.
Hi, my name is Sam and I like to know if you handle permits after construction is completed. You see I was just finishing that last part of the roof on a small room addition and a City Inspector stopped by. My heart sunk when I saw the Inspector get out of his city vehicle. He walked back towards where I was working; and he identified himself as the City Inspector. He then asked to see the building permit.
I told the Inspector that my in-laws are elderly and have been living in a hotel for a long time after their home became unbearable to live in after being flooded by Hurricane Harvey. They have spent most of their savings and I was simply helping them get back home. I was able to purchase the materials at a discount, did a lot of the work myself with a couple of licensed trade folks I know; and I am basically finishing the roof now. Please, is there anything you can do? All work was done to code, I made sure of that so my in-laws can be safe.
Helen, does your company pull permits in cases like this one with a city violation and if so, how much will it cost? Sam, the work completed is way beyond a refresh or repairs, since you moved internal structural walls, added a new 400 sq. ft. sunroom installed new windows and extended roofing. The jurisdiction will require you to provide a set of plans and go through major departmental reviews. This will take some time to obtain a building permit.
Sam asks, so how long do you think it will take? My elderly in-laws do not have the money and I really need to get them out of the hotel.
I understand you are wanting to save your in-laws’ money and at this point, this is a huge challenge to be able to do so after construction is completed. Have you thought about contacting the City of Houston Housing, or a local Church or the County, as they have programs to assist the elderly with housing needs.
We get it. Times are tough for thousands of people across the Houston area that are still in need of repairs, renovations, or even a new home after hurricane Harvey. For a Contractor taking on such a project, the right thing to do is to pull the appropriate building permit based on the type of construction being done. Avoiding to pull a building permit places your customer at risk.
To assist those contractors facing a challenging situation as described in the story about Sam above, consider below 8 steps to follow when pulling a building permit after construction has started or is completed.
- Be truthful with the customer and let them know that you failed to pull the necessary permit and you are stopping work to resolve issue
- Identify all work completed
- Obtain the necessary plans based on the scope of work along with the required prerequisite documents
- QA/QC package before submitting to jurisdiction permitting center
- Prepare permit application and follow the necessary steps to submit package electronically
- Track reviews online and make sure to respond to any comments in a timely manner
- Pull permit then post on job site
- Request City Inspection
Keep in mind that professional and quality work first starts during the preconstruction phase on any job. During this phase, building permits are to be pulled to comply with local jurisdiction codes and ordinances. Skipping this step costs your customer money and creates unnecessary stress on your end. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve failed to pull a proper permit, review the 8 steps for pulling a building permit after construction is started or completed. And you can always call the PermitUsNow at 1.844.PERMIT.4 team to answer any question and for assistance.