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Installing signs without a permit

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Jean Shimp, May 21, 2020.

  1. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Member

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    So when do they start requiring permits for
    I believe that some of the permitting is to regulate signs without having to pass new laws. A lot of places it isn't though. If you already have an ordinance in place, why require a permit for non-structural signs? If code enforcement sees a violation, then tag it, it doesn't stop anything or lower needed manpower with permitting requirements in place. Where I live, most of the models homes have a 4x8 sign, most lighted, model home flags flying and cheap coro signs stuck all over the yard. This is with there being a maximum 16 sq ft restriction, no lights allowed, no feather flags and only US and state flags flown. Now they are putting up 4x8 for sale signs on 1/4 acre residential lots with feather flags. I think they keep trying to 1 up each other. It's really tacky and looks like you're driving past a bunch of car lots. If everyone would just follow the rules, we wouldn't need so many.
    I know the answer to this but why do contractors still have to get permits for all of this stuff? Don't they have a contractors license because they are supposed to know how to properly do it and the codes for where they do work?
     
  2. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    The permitting process is supposed to allow the city to verify a proposed sign complies with the sign code before it is installed. It's a lot easier to remedy code conflicts before a sign is built and installed rather than afterward. Enforcement after the fact always creates far more heartburn. The business with the non-compliant sign gets to argue with the city over it and ask for variances. And then if a variance is granted that ends up angering lots of other business people who put up signs that did comply with regulations.

    Many city sign codes (including ours here in Lawton) include plenty of regulations regarding temporary signs like yard signs and construction site signs. No one needs a permit to install a little yard sign, but there are still rules on where they can be installed and the limits of how many can be installed on a certain property.

    I've seen city council people take it upon themselves to pull up and take yard signs installed in the utility easement or highway right of way and drop the signs off at the land fill. Regular citizens don't really like yard signs, political signs and other temporary garbage just installed willy nilly anywhere. They can get pretty angry if they feel the city is turning a blind eye to it. So it will kind of burn me up when I see someone have the audacity to install some off premise directional sign literally in the median strip of a city street. They're making their quick buck selling that one illegal sign in the short term, but running the risk of costing the rest of us enormously in the long run over what signs we'll be able to sell in the future.
     
  3. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Member

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    I agree with the coro signs all over, I think they're called snipe signs. That's easy though, cite the people whose name is on the signs.
    As for permitting, I get all that too but not everywhere has real strict architectural requirements, like industrial areas. We did just fine 15-20 years ago without needing a permit to take a dump, why now? Is it job justification and people trying to stay relevant? It reminds me of safety rules. It's needed and well intentioned but then it hits a point of being ridiculous because the safety guy still needs a day job.
     
  4. neutrinocv

    neutrinocv Member

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    We have a waver built in our quotes for this situation stipulating that the customer is responsible for getting all required permits related to signage and install; supplemental fees apply if we have to do so. As long as the quote is signed upon ordering, we are off the hook.
     
  5. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Rules must be different up in Canada, that would not fly around here.
     
  6. MikePatterson

    MikePatterson Head bathroom cleaner.

    Yea that wont fly here. Engineer drawings, site plan, photographic renderings, electrical spec sheet, etc. Thinking about it, I dont charge enough. We charge minimum 300 for permitting.
     
  7. johnwon

    johnwon New Member

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    Next time you have a sign that needs a footing inspection, put in the comments that you want to meet and when you meet up with Todd ask him what they do to all of those who are not pulling permits. We've gone the way of using an expediting service for the past 10 years or so which saves us many hours downtown, but doesn't solve the problem of others being cheaper because they do the work without a permit.
     
  8. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    Yeah, we don't leave it up to customers at all to get installation permits. We work the permit costs into the sign quote. But we handle all the red tape leg work ourselves.

    I can't imagine any customer even wanting to deal directly with getting a proposed sign approved by the local city government. Some sign codes can get pretty complicated. If there is some kind of dispute us sign people would have far more expertise and experience dealing with the codes to be able to resolve the issue. The customers would be likely to end up stuck. Even if the customer wanted to get the permit himself we would have to be involved anyway for providing some of the paperwork. The most challenging thing we ask of customers is a site plan of the property.
     
  9. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Member

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    Is there actually a state that allows a contractor to put the permitting burdon on the property owner? I always thought it wasn’t a choice and the responsibility of whoever was doing the work?
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    wrong thread - geeze
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020 at 11:23 PM
  11. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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    It's not worth the risk. When unlicensed sign companies or those who don't get a permit, just turn them in for it. You are representing the customer's best interests. Those companies who illegally install signs are usually cutting corners and it's a risk to the client. Also if you are losing out on jobs, you may be priced too high or your permitting costs are too high. If you are losing bids to a company that is hiring companies who don't get permits, that is a red flag and probably someone you don't want to deal with. If you don't take some kind of action, you will keep losing business. Perhaps take photos of an unlicensed sign company installing a sign that requires a license and contacting the State Licensing Board and OSHA (If they are being unsafe). Some people see targeting as bullying, but it's not. You are doing it the right way and if people don't want to play by the rules, they need to stay out of the industry.
     
  12. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Member

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    So you’ll be ok with one of your competitors turning you in for running that new to you sign crane without the proper certification? Do you have annuals on your buckets, crane and rigging? Bet you do not.
    Everyone has their own opinion but that’s a line I wouldn’t cross.
    Also, if you’re losing bids left and right, consider other things beside price like professional relationships, work quality and your reputation. Nobody is calling you if you’re the industry snitch. Pricing is a formality.
     
  13. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    Our shop does. We keep everything up to date with certifications, logs and all that stuff. We're fully prepared for any surprise visits from DOT, OSHA and EPA. It's foolish not to do so. Fines can be hella expensive.

    Now we don't act like we're the police for other sign companies in our region. It's a hard enough job just making our guys follow the rules. But if we start losing a bunch of business to a Johnny-come-lately company doing things illegally to under-bid jobs we're not going to stay quiet about it. Installing signs without permits is one of those illegal things. So is building electric sign cabinets on the cheap, not up to UL standards or National Electric Code -most sign codes require those standards to be met. We often refuse to do service work on those signs, pointing the customer back to the outfit from whom they bought the sign.
     
  14. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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    You aren't a real sign guy, so that says it all.
     
  15. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    AMS and Notarealsignguy need to trade screen names, it would be a whole lot more accurate
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
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