Any recent Oakland building permit experience?

I have a small interior remodeling project in Oakland with plumbing and very minor electrical. If you have recently dealt with the City of Oakland for building permits, could you please provide advice: would you pull permits next time? How much time did it add to the schedule? Were the inspectors reasonable? Did they look at other unpermitted parts of your house and require a permit? There is a lot of construction in the neighborhood at 51st and Broadway, does that mean inspectors may be driving around looking for unpermitted construction? What would you do differently? The building inspectors have a bad reputation from the past (according to old BPN advice) has that changed? Thank you.

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I've pulled permits many times for work on my house.  I often act as my own general contractor. The C of O permitting process is uneven. There are some terrific people there, generous with advice and knowledgeable, and some really bad duds as well. The last time I had to pull permits, it was for a contractor who turned out to be bad news. He took  me for about $100k. The worst part was finding out that all his plumbing and electric was not to code. The inspectors provisionally passed him,  a practice that still boggles my mind. They knew the work was bad, but the contractor was trying to meet a payment milestone so needed to fool me into thinking he'd passed. I had to redo all of the work, pay for all new permits,  all the time knowing they had no value. 

Next time I won't bother. Also, licensed contractors are supposed to be safer, but,  yeah, he was licensed,  still is,  because the State is often hog-tied by arbitration clauses.

I pulled my own permits last year in Oakland for the first time, for a bathroom remodel that included hiring a plumber and electrician. (In the past contractors have always done the permit process for us.)  Although we hemmed and hawed over the cost, I think ultimately the peace of mind is worth it - not having to worry about neighbors reporting unpermitted work, what happens when you sell a property with unpermitted work, etc. (Plus, it is technically the law.) If you get all the paperwork online and have it filled out when you get to the city office, it's not too painful - definitely bring a book, though, as you will have to take a number and wait.  All the people I've dealt with in the permit office were helpful and seemed to genuinely want to help me get it done. The inspectors are a mixed bag - sometimes you get someone who just glances at the work and signs off, and sometimes they'll ask a lot of questions and tell you to change things.  In various projects over the years I've never had an inspector tell us to change something not related to the project or ask if other work around the house was permitted, although they sometimes require additional work tangentially related to the project, like upgrading electrical in the area while we had the ceiling open to add a skylight, for example. 

if it needs a permit and you don't get one, and you try to sell the house, it can cause a lot of problems, and the contractor has already smiled and walked away with your money and YOU are responsible. The inspectors will only require a permit for something else they notice if it's safety related like say you don't have a railing on your stairs and somebody could fall down them. (Or like a deck in our neighborhood that someone got hurt when it fell when the owners were told to get a permit and they didn't.) And don't be ridiculous, the inspectors don't have time to drive around looking for MORE work!!! Permits are there not to make your life miserable, but to require standards to keep everyone SAFE and to get things done correctly so there are no problems down the road because someone cut some corners. Get the permit.