Your Guide to Building Permits

Your Guide to Building Permits

One aspect of home improvement that many DIYers don’t think about is the building permit. Not getting one, however, can make the job cost way more than anticipated. That is due to the fines and added expenses that could result. Simple repairs don’t normally call for permits but major changes, especially those that involve changes to the structure, electrical, heating or plumbing system will require permits. It’s important to note that when hiring a contractor, make sure it is clear up-front that they will be responsible for obtaining the appropriate permits.

Some examples of work that will most likely require a building permit of some type are:

  • Adding a room.
  • Removing a loadbearing wall
  • Adding a stairway.
  • Making any changes to the “footprint” of your house.
  • Making any changes to the roofline of your house.
  • Building an addition or a separate structure such as a carport or garage.
  • Tearing down or moving a garage, shed or carport.
  • Installing any exterior doors, windows or skylights which require a new opening to be made.
  • Constructing a retaining wall.
  • Building a deck or a fence above a certain height.
  • Performing any work on the sewer line.
  • Installing a fireplace or wood burning stove.
  • Performing any extensive remodeling.

Of course these are just examples of the most common projects that require permits. Because municipalities very greatly on what they require, it is best to call your local building authority if you have any doubt that you might need a permit.

Though building permits do cost money, they have a purpose that goes beyond financing the local municipality. In fact, as a homeowner, building permits are good for you. They guarantee that the completed work will be inspected by the right people. If you hire a contractor to do the job, then it means that there will be another knowledgeable professional to scrutinize their work and make sure that it adheres to the local building codes. This ensures that the job has met the minimum safety standards in both material and quality of work. That way you will rest assured that your family will be safe and you’ll most likely have avoided many headaches in the future.

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