New Jersey Construction Accident Lawyer Says Widespread Failure to Get Work Permits Raises Safety Concerns

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Joseph Ginarte, a Newark personal injury attorney, says contractors who cut corners on permitting might also fail to meet the requirements for construction site safety.

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New Jersey construction accident lawyer Joseph A. Ginarte

The recent hurricane in this part of the country showed how important building safety is. Having an inspection, fixing problems and making sure your home or property is safe should be a top priority for everyone.

New Jersey construction injury lawyer Joseph A. Ginarte today called on contractors and homeowners to always get required permits before performing home improvements after a recent news article highlighted a common lack of compliance with construction permit laws.

New Jersey laws require permits for most types of construction work and home improvement. However, the Hunterdon County Democrat recently reported that construction is frequently completed without proper permitting. There are many open permits in New Jersey, which means the final project has not undergone required inspections, according to the newspaper.

“There are lots of reasons builders don’t get permits,” Ginarte said. “Homeowners may not know they need them. They might buy a house where work was done without a permit. They might be concerned about the expense. Whatever the reason, a great deal of construction work does go on in New Jersey without proper permission and supervision.”

Ginarte expressed concern about the risks that are presented by unpermitted work.

“Sometimes, contractors don’t get permits because they are afraid their work might not be up to code. They may not want to take the time to do everything right,” he said. “Permits are intended to prevent safety violations, and without an inspector or a knowledgeable homeowner, dangerous shortcuts might be taken.”

Ginarte, founder of the personal injury law firm of Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd, represents victims of New Jersey and New York construction accidents.

“Skipping the permit is never a good thing,” Ginarte said. “It will always come back and cause problems, whether the issue arises when it comes time to sell the house or whether a problem develops beforehand because of poorly done work.”

Open permits are a related issue in New Jersey. When a project has been completed, the homeowner or contractor is required to contact the building inspector for a final inspection. Until this is done, the permit remains open. As many as 3,000 permits are issued in the Bridgewater Township alone, and the township relies on the workers or homeowners to call upon completion, according to the Hunterdon County Democrat.

The final inspection required for the permit to be closed varies, depending on the scope and type of the construction work performed. In every case, the inspection, like the permit process itself, is intended to ensure the work was done to code and that it does not present a safety hazard, Ginarte said.

“Homeowners are often afraid to try to correct the problem when they find out that they don’t have the permits they needed,” Ginarte said. He sympathizes especially with homeowners who moved into houses and inherited unpermitted projects. However, he believes that having the work inspected is important, despite fears about fines or the consequences of unpermitted work.

“It’s a serious safety issue,” Ginarte said. “The recent hurricane in this part of the country showed how important building safety is. Having an inspection, fixing problems and making sure your home or property is safe should be a top priority for everyone.”

Ginarte urged New Jersey homeowners who are planning to have work done to obtain proper permits and avoid hiring contractors who want to skip the permitting process.

“If a contractor doesn’t want to get a permit, that is a major red flag,” he said. “They are cutting corners and breaking the law in not obtaining the permit. You have to ask yourself, what else are they going to do wrong? What other corners will they cut? Are they worried their work won’t be up to code?”

Ginarte expressed concern not just for homeowners but also for the construction workers who work at construction sites where no permit has been obtained.

“A contractor who is willing to cut corners on permitting might also be willing to cut corners on worksite safety,” he said. Ginarte also warned that contractors who do not obtain permits may also skirt other laws, such as workers’ compensation laws, and may not have proper insurance if something does go wrong.

Ginarte urged construction workers who have been injured in a construction accident to seek legal help from a qualified New Jersey construction injury lawyers like the ones at Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd.

About Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd

For more than 30 years, the law firm of Ginarte O’Dwyer Gonzalez Gallardo & Winograd, LLP, has represented injured workers in all kinds of New York and New Jersey construction site injuries, including cases arising from on-the-job accidents, industrial injuries and wrongful death claims for dependents. The firm’s team of 25 lawyers and 100 staff members can assist clients with workers’ compensation, Social Security disability and third-party personal injury claims. The Ginarte law firm features offices in New York City, Newark, Elizabeth, Clifton, Union City and Perth Amboy. The firm’s Newark office is located at 400 Market Street, Newark, NJ 07105 (local phone (973) 854-8400). The firm can assist Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking clients. To learn more, call 1-888-GINARTE or use the firm’s online contact form.

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