If you ever want to see for yourself the consequences of cutting corners in remodeling, spend some time with a responsible contractor who is asked to fix, repair, rehab, remodel or replace work done by someone who HAS cut corners. The impacts on a property’s value and a homeowner’s pocketbook can be significant.
It’s easy to understand why some people might be tempted to take a shortcut here and there to save money. In our industry, we see the impacts of shortcuts commonly taken when it comes to permitting and inspecting construction jobs, whether it’s a major add-on, the building of a new deck or a kitchen renovation. Homeowners and some contractors all too often skip the required government permits for a project, in the hopes of keeping costs down on the front end (permit and inspection fees, etc.) and on the back end (changes in assessed value, which affect property taxes).
Simply put, from a risk vs. reward standpoint, it’s not worth it. The consequences of corner-cutting can far outweigh the up-front savings. First and foremost, at Randal G. Winter Construction we take pride in doing the job right, minimizing the chances of any future problems.
Here are five simple reasons why we don’t cut corners when it comes to permits and inspections:
1) The Real Estate Consequences of Unpermitted Work: If there’s ever a chance that you might sell your home, you might regret it when those unpermitted renovation projects come home to roost. Even if you don’t think you will ever sell, who knows what the future may bring? We’ve literally seen home sellers have to rip out existing improvements and start over again to meet permitting requirements and clear the way for a home sale to proceed. The cost of doing a job twice is much greater than the cost of doing it correctly the first time.
2) The Insurance Risks of Unpermitted Work: We’ve seen examples of this firsthand, dating back to the 1994 earthquake that struck Southern California communities including our hometown, Santa Clarita. One example: A homeowner had a patio cover that came down in the earthquake, causing a great deal of damage. Unfortunately, it was an unpermitted improvement, so the homeowner’s earthquake insurance refused to cover the damage.
3) You DO Want Everything to Work, Don’t You? When you plug in your toaster, it’s not supposed to trip the circuit breaker for your refrigerator. Yet, that’s what happened to one homeowner, who called us in to pick up the pieces of an unpermitted kitchen remodel. Such malfunctions are not only inconvenient and irritating, but they are also unsafe. Which brings us to No. 4…
4) Safety, Safety, Safety: If you read the requirements of building codes, much of what’s in there is focused on safety. Some of the requirements are very specific and detailed, while others are obviously based in common sense. If you’ve ever seen a substandard balcony come tragically crashing to the ground, you would understand why it’s a bad idea to just prop one up on 4 x 4 lumber pillars. The safety of your family and your property must come first.
5) Project Inspection = Peace of Mind: In journalism, there’s a saying that “everyone needs an editor” — the idea being, it’s always good to have a second set of eyes check your work. It creates peace of mind that nothing has been overlooked, which minimizes the chances for future problems. By adhering to your local government’s permitting and inspection requirements, you are inviting in a trained set of eyes to check the work and spot any potential problems before they have a chance to become real problems.
Does every job require a permit? Not necessarily. Some projects don’t require a permit, and some do. Some projects result in an increase in assessed property value, and others don’t. In fact, there can be variations in the regulations from one jurisdiction to another. Are you working with the Los Angeles County or Ventura County government, or a more local jurisdiction in the form of an incorporated city? Differing requirements from one government entity to the next can have an effect on everything from permit requirements to changes in assessed value.
Your contractor needs to understand what’s required locally, and why. Additionally, a well-informed contractor can minimize the property tax impacts of a remodel or renovation project by helping you make sure any new assessed value is only based on the costs that are legally required to be factored into the valuation.
Navigating and understanding all of the requirements — and ensuring compliance — can be a complex process, which is why it’s so important to use a licensed contractor who has a firm grasp of what it takes to build a safe, long-lasting project that will not only pass inspection, but also stand the tests of time, and add to your property’s real and aesthetic values while increasing your enjoyment of your most important investment.
And, no corner-cutting allowed!
Whether you’re thinking of building an addition or remodeling your house, Randal G. Winter Construction can help you design and build your dream home. Call Randal G. Winter Construction Inc. at 661.799.8089 or please visit our website at www.rgwinter.com