Your Home Improvement: Pulling permits for upgrades

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Question No. 1

Robert, we own a mobile home here in town. A roofer told us we had to call for a state inspector for a roof inspection, prior to installing the new roof. Is it true we need to call a state inspector?

– Jeff E.

Answer No. 1

Jeff, I have never worked on mobile homes, therefore this is out of my wheel house and I am unable to properly advise you directly on that, I’m sorry. Here’s what I do recommend in this situation though, which may also help others in similar situations: I recommend that you call Santa Clarita’s Building and Safety, here in town. Pose that question to them and they will guide you through the process. I wish I had that answer for you, and will be interested to hear the outcome once you get your confirmation. The building departments, whether here in this valley or other municipalities, are here to help, and are great resources for this very type of situation. They have your best interest at heart, they are there to protect you from being harmed and to help you care for your home and property in the right ways, so you are protected. Good luck to you, let me know how this goes.

Question No. 2

I live in Castaic and we are a community that are looking to update our entries. We’d like to take down iron panels at our gates and put up brick walls with some sort of stone on top of them, amongst other things. Given that there is already fencing and gates that exist, will we still need to pull permits to make these changes or will be able to change things out?

– Linda C.

Answer No. 2

Linda, good question. You’ll need permits where you’re planning to change the iron to block. When just changing aesthetics such as the style of gate, a permit is not necessary. In this case though, you’ll be changing what is likely at least a 4 foot high iron panel area to block and this is something that requires permitting due to safety. Any time you go higher than 4 courses of block which includes your footing, you need to involve the city for permitting and inspections. Especially with earthquake safety in mind, it is imperative that the footings be set properly and that there is enough rebar and concrete in the block wall to give it strength to withstand an earthquake. The city will note their requirements and at each step they will inspect to verify that the proper techniques are being used before they sign off. With regard to the gate electrical and operator, you are certainly permitted to change out like for like, but if you are going to add electrical and new equipment then you’ll need permits to do so. Upgrading your operator puts you under new UL title which means that there are more safety programs put into the operator for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic safety. All of this also falls under safety guidelines, the city will ensure that you are installing correctly so that your community is safe. Be sure that he Fire Department and Sherriff department Knox boxes are installed on the exterior of your gates. In the photo you sent I didn’t see them, but wanted to note that this is imperative. These Knox boxes are for the use of those departments during emergency situations, it gives them access to the property. If they aren’t installed then you’ll need to work on that before anything else, so that your community is well protected. If you need guideance on this let me know, I can help with that. Good luck with your project.

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].

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