We have a client we did a job for that wants to expand his facility. The original building was very technical in nature and done design build on a fast track schedule. He has contacted the original GC and MEP subs to do a TI addition to some space they did not originally develop. There is one catch. They do not want to get a permit. The reason I have heard is they do not want the problems with the city they had the first time. Weather we do the job or not is not my decision. That responsibility is upper managements territory. While they have not officially said no, they are leaning heavily on not participating. I believe I know most of the repercussions that can arise from doing something like this but I wanted to get your opinions. I have to go to a scope meeting Monday morning and try to convince them to do it right so we can do the job for them. Any thoughts?
Nick, if you get caught with no permit, the contractor would get the heat, because they should know that it is required. The "dumb" customer could easily say they thought the contractor was doing things legally and since the customer had already gotten a permit for previous work, they are not opposed to permits and it's all the fault of the contractor.
Nick, I run across this many times. I'm the (warranty) guy who takes care of the "things that they didn't address" on the approved plans. (We usually ask for a permit). Many times I find that they're just trying to be sneaky, and had the idea all along! PS: We exclude the permit on the bid as "Permit by Others"..S
[This message has been edited by electure (edited 03-31-2003).]
Nick: Here in NJ, if you get caught without a permit....$ 500.00 fine and a stop work order is posted. THe electricians working are requested to "pack-up & leave ASAP". The EC and the owner/tenant can be held responsible. When the Board of Examiners of EC's gets the paperwork...the fine can be very high, and a suspension of license can be the top prize.
A lot of the above depends on the enforcement that the "local" inspectors use. You may get away with a "slap on the wrist" if it's your first offense....you may not.
I went to the meeting today. Right now we are just giving them budget numbers based on a rough floor plan and general scope. I found out they don’t want to get a permit due to the time frame. If they go ahead with the project (provided the numbers pencil out) they will need it done very quickly. The original jobs plan check took about 10 weeks and there won’t be time for that. They are not apposed to getting one; it just impacts the schedule enough that it could cancel the entire project. One thing I found interesting is that we are the only sub that has not bought into it. The GC will only act as a construction manager. The subs will be hired direct by the owner. This isolates the GC from liability. The owner is willing to take all responsibility in writing. Like I said, it’s not my call. I have to update the upper management tomorrow about what is going on. I am going to recommend we stay involved for now working up budget numbers and see how it pans out. When things become more of a reality we can visit the legal ramifications of things with the owner. My biggest concern is the redesign and rework of the fire alarm system. It is a very sophisticated system. We could probably spend more time and money defending ourselves if something happens down the road that the entire project is worth. Even if we are exonerated. They know our position, but they are also a real good customer. I would hate to take a stance and then the project doesn’t get done anyway. Then when the next legitimate one comes around, we probably won’t be considered. I will be working, with the help of the GC, to push the project into plan check in the mean time. In todays sue happy society, it hardly seems worth the risk not to.
My biggest concern is the redesign and rework of the fire alarm system.
Rightfully so. Alteration to a fire alarm system without a permit and/or permission from the fire marshall is a recipe for disaster.
I don't know what the laws concerning fire alarms are in CA but I am used to some of the strictest rules in the country (RI and MA), so this situation would be a "walk away" on the fire alarm basis alone.
[This message has been edited by CTwireman (edited 04-01-2003).]