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Permits ignored. Re-do costs $$$. Whose fault?


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  • Permits ignored. Re-do costs $$$. Whose fault?

    The situation:
    A condo HOA Board tells its management company to hire a contractor to do alter the four 1,000 sq ft vented crawlspaces in their 20 year old 8-unit building. They want them cleaned up and converted to conditioned crawls with conditioned air supplied from the 4 HVACs in the first floor units. The 4 crawls, running west to east, are linked in pairs with no firewall or door between them. One pair is accessed by a door on the west, the other pair by a door on the east. The contractor is hired and proceeds with the work.

    The crew removes and dumps the fiberglass insulation from between the joists in all the crawls. Soon after the work is stopped when a unit owner discovers that a permit was necessary for this type of conversion and that fire barrier issues will have to be resolved. The HOA Board decides that the costs of installing the required fire protection equipment would be too costly and instructs the crew to restore the crawls to their as-built vented state. The crew buys and installs new fiberglass insulation to replace that thrown away. The final bill is substantially more that the original estimate.

    The questions:
    Whose responsibility was it to determine if permits and inspections were needed?
    What would be a fair and equitable resolution regarding the extra costs incurred by the ignorance of the regulations?

  • #2
    the contractor is responsible for pulling all permits. if he violated the protocall then he is responsible for incurring the costs.


    • #3
      Agreed it is the contracting company's responsibility to ascertain and acquire any and all permits required for the work they have been contracted to do.
      In reality the company should have known that this work would require permits including fire wall (whenever this kind of work is done you loose "grandfathering" so the most recent codes become applicable).
      The permitting process would have been another check point when the building department would have said that extra work would need to be done, giving time for the contractor to go back to the HOA with the new requirements before work commenced. I'm surprised the building department didn't hit the contractor with a fine.
      The simple error of not applying for a permit at the start makes the contracting company liable for all costs, even though they were asked to do the work.
      A fair (IMHO) resolution would be the HOA pays for all materials and the contractor pays for labor.
      Little about a lot and a lot about a little.
      Every day is a learning day.


      • #4
        Definitely the Contractors job to make sure all permits were pulled. I can't tell you how many times though they don't. For any number of reasons!! Seeing how it's a Condo association, don't be surprised if they hit the owners up with a special assessment if they have to pay a whole lot of fextra $$$.