I have poured a few slabs in my day. I've got a picture around here somewhere, my grandfather is coaching me on footings. I have the shovel, he's supervising. Twelve inches deep into undisturbed sol.
I helped my Dad pour slabs and build pole-barns. If anyone had told the old man (either my granpaw or my dad) that they needed a permit to build a shop, or a bran, they'd have shorted and looked at you like you'd lost your mind. What a man does on his own property is really not the business of government, and if you do something stupid and have your foundation crack, that's not the government's problem.
Several years ago, I put in a swimming pool in the back yard. Didn't need a permit. No one asked. But, when I put in a pool house and told them I was putting a toilet, I had to have a permit. The permit cost me $35.00 No drawings or nothing. The whole permitting process went like this.
Me: "They tell me I need a permit to put in a bath house."
Gov't lady: "It's $35.00. What's your address?"
Not so much these days. We have a bureaucratic regulatory infrastructure that bleeds a man dry, oversees every aspect of his life and oversees his every move.
SO, for a project that 50 years ago would have been done properly by family with no government involvement at all, now we're having to ask the government for permission to build a structure on my land. I consider that an utter confiscation, and I'm going to have to pay a tax (permit fees) based on the square footage of the building.
I am outraged, but I'll channel my frustration until the permits are obtained, the building is complete, then I'm going to start writing hate mail to my elected representatives. The Founding Fathers would be apoplectic. The very idea that a confiscatory government can tell a property owner what he can do with his own property is anathema to freedom loving people.