Robert Lamoureux | A patio build without permits

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux
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Question No. 1  


I have a neighbor who is building a patio cover without permits, noted by his wife. My concern is that he’s out there hoisting heavy lumber with both his wife and children, and I’m just not sure if this is being built correctly and safely. Haven’t you said that permits are necessary?  

I am a good neighbor and don’t want to create problems for anyone, but I see huge safety issues where this is concerned and I’m just not sure what to do or where to turn to handle this. What could be done?  

— Anonymous  

Answer No. 1  

You have good reason to be concerned, especially when I read, “hoisting heavy lumber.” Any patio cover, of course, needs to be built correctly.  

When you tell me that they are hoisting heavy lumber, this gives me a picture in my mind of something quite sizeable, which only increases the need for proper engineering both with footings and connections. Mounting anything overhead without the proper considerations and execution could literally cost someone their life, so your concern is valid and I support you moving further with this.  

Please send a note to the city’s building and safety department and simply put this information into their hands, and they will do the rest. They will send out an investigator and, if necessary, they will stop the build and work with the owner to see that this is done properly.  

I’m sure this owner is attempting to bypass both the time and fees incurred with going through the proper channels. Most cities are backed up in the building department, so getting permits is taking longer than normal. It is frustrating to wait, but necessary in order to move through the proper channels, especially when safety is of concern.  

Unfortunately, if planning wasn’t done early enough, then any builder is at the mercy of the city.  

I know that summer is fast approaching and something like a patio cover is wanted for the upcoming weather, but this is too risky and should be done properly by being inspected for safety.  

I believe you’re doing the right thing. 

— Robert 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 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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