Friday, May 12, 2017

Permit me to staple things to your forehead.

We are building a deck.  It's taken us longer than it likely should have, but hockey comes first right? Ah kids, disposable income suckers.

Brad does everything by the book.  Which means that in order to build our deck we needed a permit
because it was some height off the ground or some other random qualifier.

Generally speaking your contractor would do that for you, but since we are the DIY headquarters we had to fill out the permit application ourselves.

Brad detailed out the plans, filled out the permit and I got the glorious job of taking it in.  In my naivety, I thought I would drop the permit application in the slot and be on my merry way.  On no.  That's not how the permit office rolls.

I decided to pop in during my lunch hour (back when ignorance was bliss).  I walked into the office and there was one of those ominous "NOW SERVING" electronic signs, but no where in sight were any number tickets around or at the very least instructions telling you where to get one.

Finally after wandering around aimlessly, a fellow law abiding citizen took pity on me and said that I had to go up to the counter and ask for one.  A super nice girl with striking emerald hair handed me my number, 39.

Mr. 39 and I sat down.  Once settled, I looked up at the clock.  Now serving 23.

Awesome.

I waited for a bit, weighing the merits of continuing to stay or to go, but my decision was made for me when I got an urgent call from work.  I hustled back and decided that next time I would go before work.

Attempt #2.  Got there right as the office opened and still ended up being #4.    When my number was finally called some 20 minutes later, I handed my forms to the guy assuming it would be a rubber stamp and that would be that.  Again, my naivety got the better of me.

The guy was practically glee ridden while describing all the things wrong with our application.  At first I thought he was kidding.  My eyes must have gone like saucers, because he actually said, "I'm serious, you can't get a permit until you get these".  I had to sit there and let him rattle off an absurd amount of things we needed to get or correct or add.

We needed a site survey of the whole property.  We needed to list the brand, species and size of wood we were using (2x4 or 2x8 etc).  We needed to list every effing dimension you could possibly think of including the spacing between each individual railing, even though it was clear that they were all spaced the same way.  We needed to list the make, model and brand name of the screw piles were using.  We needed to list the load bearing capacity of the wood and screw piles.We needed to list what we were planning on having for lunch that day and whether or not we had any outdoor allergies.

Well, maybe not the last two, but it really felt that way.  What irked me the most though was the sheer pleasure the guy took telling me.  I just wanted to staple things to his forehead.  This is why people don't get permits.

I took note of the litany of problems and sent an email to Brad.  What then followed was us having to go to Rona to get the make, model and brand of the screw piles.  But how in the name of all that is holy do you get the brand name of wood?  Made by mother nature?  Rona was really great and printed us off the engineer details including the load bearing capacity.  Brad set out to redo his plan drawings and we tracked a site plan (which thankfully we had given that we recently built the house).

I was now armed and ready for attempt #3.  Honestly I would have preferred to poke my eyes out with hat pins that venture into that building again, but I had no choice.

This time it played out a little differently, the emerald angel of visit #1 was gone and replaced by a snarky and scarily commanding matronly creature.  The second I walked to the counter she flung her hand out towards me and without so much as a good morning, barked out, "FORMS!".  She proceeded to tell me that I had to hand in my forms for a pre-screening.  I was surprised and mentioned that I didn't have to do that for my two previous visits, but given her icy stare of a response, I quickly handed over my forms and scuttled off to find a seat.

About 10 minutes later some guy came out (different from the glee ridden a$$hole on visit #2) and said that for the most part things looked in order, but that I had to add one more thing to my form.  He handed me a pencil and showed me what to do; orders of magnitude better than the first guy I had gone to see.  He then asked why I had included the engineer printout for the screw piles.  I told him how the previous guy had insisted on it.  He just sighed and said, "I know who you got last time then.. it isn't necessary, we keep these engineer specs on file as a reference".  As nice as this guy was I would have almost preferred he didn't tell me that.   Essentially what he was saying was the previous guy was being a colossal a$$hat simply because he could and since I didn't know any better, I followed his instructions with military precision.

10 minutes after that I was called into the office.  The girl behind the desk was about my age and it was really obvious that she really didn't give a sh*t, she briefly looked at my forms, told me that they had been submitted and handed me my invoice.

Elated, I made my way to the cashier.  $178!  Apparently because we were using the more stable, safer screw  piles, our deck was deemed  "complex" and needed to be sent off for a secondary review, which cost $50 extra.  There was some additional $25 fee that everyone has to pay over and above the $102 listed on the website.  If everyone has to pay the $25, why not add it to the $102 on the website in the first place?

Now it's a waiting game.  Once we get the green light for the permit, we can start building.  During or when it's finished, we have to call an inspector to come out and sign off and then that is that.

I have my fingers crossed that all will go smoothly with the inspection.  If not, it's an additional charge of $100-$250 to have them come back out to reinspect after you fix it.

I am pumped to have the deck in though.  I won't miss our redneck pallet one, although the pallets are not going anywhere.  In the spirit of re purposing things, I am turning them into herb garden planters, thank you very much Pinterest!  Once the deck is in, soil, sod and a barkman patio are up next.
Backyard fire pits, Adirondack chairs and summer cocktails await.


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