By reading this, you’ve already taken the first step toward increasing the resilience and investment value of your construction project and guarding against a potential lawsuit or injury. The following information describes simple steps you can take to obtain a building permit and how permits can work for you. You’ll be surprised at how easy the whole process is. The truth is, building permits are very beneficial to you and the community. By working with expert code officials, you will benefit from their knowledge of building codes to ensure your construction project is built right, will be safe, and will last.
What is a building permit?
A building permit gives you legal permission to start construction of a building project in accordance with approved drawings and specifications after being reviewed by the Building Official.
When do you need a permit?
The best way to find out if you need a permit is to call the building department. Discuss your plans with the Building Official before beginning construction to determine whether you need a permit. Even if a permit is not needed, they can answer construction questions and may provide valuable advice.
Permits are usually required for the following:
- New buildings
- Sheds, barns and other accessory buildings
- Additions (bedrooms, bathrooms, family rooms, etc.)
- Residential work (decks, garages, fireplaces, pools, water heaters, etc.)
- Renovations (basement re-finishing, kitchen remodels, re-roofing, etc.)
- Electrical systems and installations
- Plumbing system repairs and replacements
- HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning) systems
Your home or business is an investment. If your construction project does not comply with the codes adopted by the community, the value of your investment could be reduced. Property insurers may not cover work done without permits and inspections. If you decide to sell a home or building that has had modifications without a permit, you may be required to tear down the addition, leave it unoccupied, or make costly repairs. A property owner who can show that code requirements were strictly and consistently met––as demonstrated by a Building Official’s carefully maintained records––has a strong ally if something happens to trigger a potentially destructive lawsuit.
Your permit also allows the Building Official to protect the public by reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction and ensuring public health, safety, and welfare.
By following code guidelines, the completed project will meet minimum standards of safety and will be less likely to cause injury to you, your family, your friends or future owners.
The Simple Permit Process,Talk To The Building Official
Your Building Official wants your project to be a success and will help you avoid potential problems that could cost you time and money. You will be asked some basic questions (What are you planning to do? Where?), advised of any requirements and, if necessary, referred to other departments for their approval. The Building Official will provide you with the resources and information needed for compliance with the applicable building codes. You will then receive an application for a building permit.
Submit the Application
At this stage you will document the “Who, What, When, Where, and How” of the job, along with any sketches or plans of the proposed work.
In a brief amount of time, the Building Official will review your plans and determine if your project is in compliance with state and local requirements. If your plans meet these requirements, a permit is issued. If not, then they may suggest solutions to help correct the problem.
Receive A Permit
Now that you have been approved for a permit, you have legal permission to start construction. A fee, generally based on the size of the job, is collected to cover the cost of the application, the review and the inspection process. Experienced officials are available to you should you have any questions concerning your project. You should consider the official as an ally who will help you make your project a success. Separate permits are typically required for electrical, plumbing, and other mechanical or heating and air- conditioning work including that for fuel gas work (aka, propane).
On-site inspections will be required to make certain the work conforms to the permit, local and state codes and plans. Again, you will have access to the expertise of the Building Official to help you with questions or concerns regarding the project and to minimize potentially costly mistakes. They will let you know approximately how many inspections may be needed for your project. Usually, a one- or two-day notice is needed when requesting visits.
The Building Official will provide documentation when construction is complete and code compliance is determined. You will then not only have a safe environment, but you will also have the personal satisfaction and peace of mind of a job done right. Enjoy your new surroundings with the knowledge that they meet the safety standards in our community.
It takes everyone in a community to keep our homes, schools, offices, stores and other buildings safe for public use. Your safe construction practices help protect you, your family, your friends and your investment. Be sure to get the Building Official involved with your project, because the building department is an important ally, from start to finish.