I’ve always heard that, when doing a renovation, plan for it to take twice as long as you thought and to cost twice as much as you expected. It appears that it’s going to take even more time than that.
We called both the permitting office and an electrician earlier this week (I believe on Monday) to find out if we would need a permit to install the heated floors. We were able to speak to the electrician right away, and he said that we would not need a permit. Given this information, we purchased the heating mat and scheduled the electrician to give us an estimate for the cost of the wiring.
Today, we finally heard back from the permitting office. They say we DO need a permit, but it can be an over the counter permit. There is a permit fee, but it looks like it will be at most $40. The catch is that there have to be 2 inspections, once when everything is roughed in and once after the wiring is done. I am not sure if the inspections are part of the fee or not. I went to the county website to download the permit checklist and the application. I think that the permit checklist is a bit overwhelming.
First on the list – list all your contractors, subcontractors, etc. Well, I can do that. Next, review the plans for the project and get the seal of an architect or engineer. Can this possibly apply to my project? I mean, there is a wiring diagram included in the box. Does this count? Third, get written approval from the appropriate Fire District. OK, what? Why on Earth do I need that? I’m not building a new house, I’m just warming the freaking floors. I thought I would call the office and ask if this really applied to my project, but then I noticed a note on the application that Fire District approval is required for ALL permits. This is getting ridiculous. After all that I have to give them the valuation of the project. What counts here? The cost of the heat mat and the thermostat? The price of the whole renovation (changing from carpet to tile)? The labor? The last 3 items do not apply to me at this point, but there is one bit about making sure no revisions to the plans are needed.
I have to say, when government makes these things so hard, they are encouraging people to just forgo the whole permitting process and do it under the table. I am not going to do that, but now I do see why people do unpermitted work. It’s ridiculous.
The plan at the moment is to have the electrician come out tomorrow, tell him that we do, in fact, need a permit, and see if he can help us with that. Otherwise, no heated floors for the kittens. That would be a shame, too, because the heated floor solved a problem we were having. You see, the heating vents are in the floor in this house. In order to prevent the kittens from peeing in the vent (hey, it happens) we were going to have to figure out a way to cover the vent and still heat the room. The thought at the moment is to build a small, removable bench over the vent to redirect the airflow. Heated floors can keep the room warm in addition to the floor, so all we would have to do then is to put one of those magnetic covers over the vent, and voila, problem solved.
This makes me want to pull my hair out. It’s not the project that’s difficult, it’s the bureaucracy. I was content for the project to take as long as it takes so long as I was able to work continuously. Now that I have to wait for inspections and all that, I am not feeling so patient. Well, we’ll see what tomorrow brings.