Saturday, April 18, 2009


Mr. Building Inspector

(The following excerpts are from my book "The Cheap-Ass Curmudgeon's Guide™ to DIRT". )

The days of the independent contractor and the do-it-yourselfer are numbered.

It wouldn’t surprise me if in the not-too-distant future, the only homes going up will be built by big development companies offering a wide selection of no less than three boxes to choose from. We are not far from that now, and that’s where we’re headed.

These may be our only choices as they will likely be the only houses that can be permitted anymore.

Permits have all but killed building something with real character—something unique. Sure, you can still build a small playhouse or shed without them, or even a perimeter fence as long as it’s under 5-feet tall, but trust me, this “freedom” won’t last long.

I'm all for the permitting of public buildings, roadways, bridges, etc., that makes sense, but in my perfect world the individual should have the right to opt out of the permitting process. We should be allowed that freedom.

In doing so, we would be required to record a notice at the County Recorder’s office that our houses were built without permits and without inspections. That way, when it came time to sell our homes, any potential buyer would be notified automatically. That should make everybody happy.

Would your house, built without permits (but built like an army tank) be worth any less to a buyer who knew you had built it yourself? Not if you could show how it was built. I doubt the value would be negatively impacted and would likely be worth MORE because of it.

At the very least, we should have that option if we are building outside city limits in the countryside, where homes are few and far between.

Artistic endeavors such as we’ve been discussing here do not fit into the mold. That’s why I wish we lived in my “perfect world” where we could take responsibility for ourselves and what we build.

I am not suggesting that you should or should not build under permit. That is something you will have to decide for yourself.

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