The Beginners Guide To (Finding The Starting Point)
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A building permit is a legal document issued by the local government that gives permission to begin construction on a project. It’s an essential part of your home improvement process, because it ensures that all work done in compliance with building codes and regulations (and usually insured up to $500,000). Without one, you’re taking the risk that someone will report your home to the authorities, resulting in an order requiring you to make corrections.
Here’s what happens if you ignore the building permit requirement:
Building Code Violation
If you build without a required permit or fail to follow select guidelines issued by the city, county, or state (e.g., earthquake safety standards) and someone reports you, an inspector will typically come out to the property and look over your work. If there are violations, they’ll issue a notice of violation that tells you what’s wrong and how to fix it.
If you don’t make the corrections by the deadline given in the notice, officials may return to your home with police or other authorities in tow, who will order you to fix the problems before allowing anyone inside. However, some jurisdictions allow building officials entry for corrections checks any time there’s a potential problem.
Fines and Legal Penalties
If it turns out that your home does not meet regulations or you do not have the required permits for renovations, officials may issue large fines against you. Failure to comply with these fines could result in the addition of even more fees and legal penalties.
Having a building permit does not guarantee that your structure is earthquake proof – only buildings built within certain time frames are required to be earthquake proof. Attached garages or sheds do not require parking permits, but detached garages or workshops do require permits. The cost of a permit is determined by your city, county, or state. If the work being done is completely new construction, you will likely need to pull an additional electrical permit from your local electric company before beginning any wiring in the home. This also applies for gas and plumbing work.
What sorts of projects require a building permit?
Most projects that alter the structure of your home will require a permit, including:
Adding or replacing insulation
Building decks and patios
Demolishing walls or floors
Putting up new interior walls or exterior siding
Installing solar panels on the roof
Building an addition onto your home
Putting in new windows and doors In some cases, you may also need a permit for projects that don’t alter your home’s structure but still require one. These include:
Installing heating or air conditioning units in the attic
Adding electric wiring, gas piping, or plumbing
Putting up drywall or even installing appliances will typically require a permit if it requires cutting into existing walls or ceilings. It’s a good idea to have a permit for any project that involves major renovation, but in most cases they’re only required when the work will alter your home’s structure or electrical system.
What are some common problems that I might run into when pulling permits?
Some common problems include:
Incorrect measurements – When measuring for the size of windows, doors, walls ,etc., its very important that you are accurate. If your measurements are off by even a couple of inches, this could cause the contractor to order the wrong size door or window for your home.
Incorrect permit type – It’s possible to get a permit for just about any job you do on your property. However, some permits are only needed for certain types of work. For example, if your contractor is pulling a permit to install conduit for wiring in your home, he will likely need an electrical permit to begin the work.
Permit expiration – Many jurisdictions place time limits on how long after obtaining a permit you can start or complete the construction project. If your contractor hasn’t been able to start the project, you may need to push back your deadlines or request that he obtain a new permit for the work.
Getting a permit doesn’t guarantee that everything will go smoothly – there’s no way of knowing exactly what problems could arise until construction begins. However, putting in the time and effort to get your permit correctly the first time will save you a lot of headaches, money ,and potential fines in the long run.