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Old 07-18-2014, 08:33 AM
 
87 posts, read 96,405 times
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I am planning to convert a half bath to full as well as install an egress window in the unfinished basement. In the house (Ellicott City) there are a number of other things in the house that were not done up to code by the previous owner and will be obvious to any inspector. I intend to have them brought up to code eventually, just not now. The question is, will the inspector flag problems in the house that are not related to the current job he is inspecting?
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:30 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
32,114 posts, read 39,199,960 times
Reputation: 40569
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calvin C View Post
I am planning to convert a half bath to full as well as install an egress window in the unfinished basement. In the house (Ellicott City) there are a number of other things in the house that were not done up to code by the previous owner and will be obvious to any inspector. I intend to have them brought up to code eventually, just not now. The question is, will the inspector flag problems in the house that are not related to the current job he is inspecting?

Most likely. It would depend on what they are, electrical and plumbing would be a yes.
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Old 07-18-2014, 05:59 PM
 
687 posts, read 653,249 times
Reputation: 2243
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calvin C View Post
I am planning to convert a half bath to full as well as install an egress window in the unfinished basement. In the house (Ellicott City) there are a number of other things in the house that were not done up to code by the previous owner and will be obvious to any inspector. I intend to have them brought up to code eventually, just not now. The question is, will the inspector flag problems in the house that are not related to the current job he is inspecting?
No. Inspections only deal with new construction/additions or that which is being remodeled.

You can even leave a lot of the old wiring or old plumbing in place, and it's no problem. This is true for any basement remodel, though if you're just doing a bathroom, then you might as well replace everything otherwise...what's the point.

A new homeowner (or the previous one before selling) is not required to go over and redo what is already in place. In fact, a lot of homes in Baltimore and Annapolis have 90-120 year old "knob and tube" electrical wiring inside them. Knob and tube wiring - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia As long as it isn't damaged and it works then it's actually best to just leave it alone...unless you are ripping the entire house down to the studs for a whole-house remodel.

So if you're doing a whole bathroom an inspector is not going to look at your bedroom or your kitchen or anything else, or even your other bathrooms. What would the point be anyway? They can't see through walls!

There are plumbing inspectors, there are framing inspectors, there are electrical inspectors, hvac inspectors, etc. but they will only show depending on what permits are "pulled" for that particular job. Some inspectors wear multiple "hats" meaning they can inspect more than one trade.

But if you are having contractors do the work then you the homeowner might never even see the inspector. They are inspecting the actual work (and making sure contractors are performing a quality job) itself and nothing other than that. I've seen inspections that took only 3 minutes, and others that took 30.

And yes you can do construction without permits, but your INSURANCE company might not like it. A lot of people argue with me on this, but if you're the owner of a detached single family residence you can do what you want with your property as long as it's within ZONING regulations (the inside does not matter as far as the county is concerned except for tax purposes which usually deals with finished vs. unfinished). Keep in mind, your insurance company can deny claims citing lack of proper permitting as a fault (so best to just cough up the extra couple hundred to have it done anyway). Again, not recommended. Again, just get the permits, or have your contractors pull them.
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Old 07-18-2014, 06:09 PM
 
687 posts, read 653,249 times
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Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
Most likely. It would depend on what they are, electrical and plumbing would be a yes.
Absolutely not, the main reason being that inspectors can't see through walls.

And even if it were visible in an unfinished basement it is not required for a homeowner to revamp anything at all, especially not if it was done to code in the past. As long as it's not a blatant safety hazard and it works then there will be no issues.

Inspectors will only inspect for the specified project spelled out on the permit. That is all. If this guy is doing a bathroom remodel they're not going to inspect the insulation in the attic, they're not going to check the furnace, they're not going to look at the lighting except for what is going in the bathroom, they're not going to look at your kitchen or your bedroom or inspect the construction of the deck or anything else. ONLY that which the permit happens to be for.

.

If you were referring to the bathroom which the homeowner plans on remodeling then yes, the electrical inspector will check to make sure the outlets are GFI protected, that there is some kind of light (usually a vanity) and that if there is a light in the shower that the fixture and bulb are rated for wet areas.
The plumbing inspector will make sure that all the pipes have the proper grade (1/4" down for every foot across), that there are traps installed, all the pipes are the correct diameter (2", 3", etc.) and that everything is properly vented. Other than that, nothing to it.
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Old 07-18-2014, 06:12 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
32,114 posts, read 39,199,960 times
Reputation: 40569
Quote:
Originally Posted by mapmd View Post
No. Inspections only deal with new construction/additions or that which is being remodeled.

You can even leave a lot of the old wiring or old plumbing in place, and it's no problem. This is true for any basement remodel, though if you're just doing a bathroom, then you might as well replace everything otherwise...what's the point.

A new homeowner (or the previous one before selling) is not required to go over and redo what is already in place. In fact, a lot of homes in Baltimore and Annapolis have 90-120 year old "knob and tube" electrical wiring inside them. Knob and tube wiring - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia As long as it isn't damaged and it works then it's actually best to just leave it alone...unless you are ripping the entire house down to the studs for a whole-house remodel.

So if you're doing a whole bathroom an inspector is not going to look at your bedroom or your kitchen or anything else, or even your other bathrooms. What would the point be anyway? They can't see through walls!

There are plumbing inspectors, there are framing inspectors, there are electrical inspectors, hvac inspectors, etc. but they will only show depending on what permits are "pulled" for that particular job. Some inspectors wear multiple "hats" meaning they can inspect more than one trade.

But if you are having contractors do the work then you the homeowner might never even see the inspector. They are inspecting the actual work (and making sure contractors are performing a quality job) itself and nothing other than that. I've seen inspections that took only 3 minutes, and others that took 30.

And yes you can do construction without permits, but your INSURANCE company might not like it. A lot of people argue with me on this, but if you're the owner of a detached single family residence you can do what you want with your property as long as it's within ZONING regulations (the inside does not matter as far as the county is concerned except for tax purposes which usually deals with finished vs. unfinished). Keep in mind, your insurance company can deny claims citing lack of proper permitting as a fault (so best to just cough up the extra couple hundred to have it done anyway). Again, not recommended. Again, just get the permits, or have your contractors pull them.
I read it that it isn't a question of previous work permitted or done (your example of knob and tube which was to code when installed) but work that's out of any code.

No, the inspector won't prowl around looking for stuff but if you have something, say an improperly vented furnace or water heater, he will flag it if he sees it. Code enforcement people take their jobs very seriously in that case for the most part.

You are right about insurance. You have an electrical fire and it's traced to new work then the first question will be "Was it permitted and inspected?".
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Old 07-18-2014, 06:38 PM
 
687 posts, read 653,249 times
Reputation: 2243
Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
I read it that it isn't a question of previous work permitted or done (your example of knob and tube which was to code when installed) but work that's out of any code.

No, the inspector won't prowl around looking for stuff but if you have something, say an improperly vented furnace or water heater, he will flag it if he sees it. Code enforcement people take their jobs very seriously in that case for the most part.

You are right about insurance. You have an electrical fire and it's traced to new work then the first question will be "Was it permitted and inspected?".

I think the difference is in the semantics, it's hard to understand exactly what the OP and a couple of the other posters were trying to get across, and even I may not have been perfectly clear. I am just going off of my own experiences here of course.

Yeah, if it was at any time "to code" then it's fine, although it's hard to keep up with what codes are today much less know all the codes from ages past. Most old stuff is not a safety hazard as long as it was done right at the time (except for asbestos of course).

Generally if an inspector does not inspect a particular trade then he or she (49 times out of 50 a he) isn't going to look at or touch it.

Most inspectors get their jobs from having worked in a particular trade (such as a master plumber becoming a plumbing inspector) although a few general contractors who had once had a combination of several master and/or journeymen licenses from trades past, but the vast majority only inspect one thing, the most serious ones being the framing inspectors (see Hammurabi's code for this).
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:24 AM
 
87 posts, read 96,405 times
Reputation: 80
Thanks for the great feedback. An example is the basement is not finished yet has a unlisted full bath. The plumbing for the half bath is closely tied to the other bathrooms.
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