TYLER, Texas — After the severe winter storm hit the state of Texas last week, many people in Tyler are dealing with the after effects.
Stephanie Franklin, Tyler's managing director, said so far the city has heard about "a significant number of pipe breaks on personal property."
Some damage to homes and businesses though will require a permit from the city for repairs, but Franklin said there's an emergency permit process for situations like last weeks.
"We understand the most important thing is getting the residents water services, electrical services back up and running for them," said Franklin. "Then within 24 hours or the next business day, they should contact, they're required to contact the city and apply for that permit. And then we'll conduct the inspection as soon as possible."
A tip to know if someone's in need of a permit, is if the damaged area is concealed such as in an attic, basement, walls, or if an electric meter was damaged.
Franklin said applying for one before the work is done though can help prevent people from being taken advantage of. As part of the permitting process, the City of Tyler provides inspections to verify work was done safely, properly and to State Code.
"To just make sure that they're (community members) careful about the contractors that they hire, that they are insured, that, you know, they're getting their proper permits, so that there can be inspections, post construction, or whatever work that has to occur at their residence," she explained. "It's really for their protection."
The city is anticipating a high number of permits this week, and Franklin said it's helpful during an inspection if people will not cover up the repairs to ensure work was done properly.
"Rather than having that drive time, if a resident or contractor is able to, we'll try to make sure we can do those virtual inspections," said Franklin. "If not, we will be on site if needed."
Most Tyler permits cost about $50, but some home insurance will cover the cost for permitting as well as other aspects of repairs.
"We do ask people to go ahead and register on our website link to FEMA so that they can be able to apply for funds if they should come available through the disaster funding," the managing director said.
Franklin said the city has backed up staff at the permit office to handle any questions the community might have about the permit process.
"As busy as probably everyone will be right now we just have to all be careful in the contractors that we're hiring and the work that's being done," Franklin said.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What do I need to register and apply for a permit?
Contractors can register with the City of Tyler.
If a contractor is already registered, they can visit TylerInspections.com to apply for a permit.
**For additional information e-mail or contact the Permit Center at (903) 531-1151.
My water lines froze and busted; do I need a permit to repair them?
Per the 2015 International residential code R105.2, any repair of a CONCEALED water line or drain that must be replaced with new material must be permitted and inspected. A pipe is considered concealed it is underground/under slab, or if you must remove a permanent part of the structure to access it. Pipes in cabinets, attics, crawl space under a pier and beam house are not considered concealed and can be repaired without a permit.
I had pipes freeze in several locations and I just want to replace the whole water service line; Do I need a permit?
Do I have to have a permit to replace faucets or hose bibbs?
No, as long as you are not relocating them.
Do I have to wait to get a permit before I can make my repairs?
No. Per 2015 IRC R105.2.1, In an emergency situation the repairs can be made, and the permit applied for, on the next business day.
Who can repair my leaks and pull a permit?
A licensed plumber, a homesteaded homeowner working on their own property, or a maintenance employee working on a property in which they are employed to serve.
My water heater is not working, can I replace or repair it myself?
A licensed plumber or homesteaded homeowner may pull a permit and replace their water heater. Per Texas State Plumbing code Sec 1301.053.4, an apartment maintenance employee shall not replace a water heater.
Water heaters are the most dangerous appliance in your house. Improperly installed or repaired water heaters can blow up like pressure cookers, including electric water heaters. Water heaters are best if left to be installed by qualified and experienced installers.
My electrical service was damaged, do I need a permit to repair it? Yes, if your electrical service was damaged and Oncor disconnected the service drop and/or removed the meter, a licensed electrician or homesteaded homeowner must pull a permit and pass an inspection, then the City Inspector will send notification to Oncor that the repair has been made and the homeowner can call Oncor to schedule a reconnect.
How will the inspection be done?
After a permit is pulled and the repairs are made, the permit holder will contact the department to schedule an inspection. The work will need to remain uncovered to verify work quality, material type, connections and have full working water pressure to check for leaks. Once the inspection is approved, you may reinsulate and cover the work.
The city will be coordinating with permit holders to judge the best way to accomplish the inspection. To expedite this process, virtual inspections will be performed. However, in situations where virtual inspections are not feasible, social distancing and facemask protocols will be followed.