By working with your local building department, you benefit from their knowledge of building codes to improve your odds that your construction project is built right, will be safe and will last.No doubt. But I imagine plenty of people make modifications and repairs to their houses that they find perfectly satisfactory without bothering to pay the extra fees. In writing those codes, have the authorities considered the unintended consequences? What Bastiat called "what is seen and what is not seen" (Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas)? Have they considered that they're raising the costs of construction and modification? Or do they in fact just like the fees? And what about the codes? Have the authorities considered "regulatory capture"? Who wrote the codes? It would make sense to call on experts, who are themselves builders, who pad the codes with regulations that increased the costs for residents?
I might also have mentioned that contractors may take advantage of building code regulations to snitch on fellow contractors who fail to get permits. This keeps prices high, of course.
Snitching isn't necessarily for profit. Sometimes neighbors bearing grudges will snitch on neighbors whose property isn't up to code.