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A great deal of misinformation about obtaining building permits exists that sometimes results in property owners not securing one. An inspector combing through your entire home looking for violations rarely happens in practice. Of course, if the house has been significantly altered over the years without pulling a permit, it’s not unreasonable for a building code enforcement officer to notice.
That being said, the benefits of applying and receiving a building permit outweigh avoiding the process. Homeowners who do not secure a permit can be subject to a fine and ordered to tear down any unapproved construction. If you are considering a home improvement or erecting an outbuilding, these are things to know about getting a building permit.
1: Know Whether You Need A Building Permit
It’s essential to understand that not every home improvement requires a formal permit and follow-up inspection. Minor projects such as new kitchen cabinets or flooring often do not. But as the size and scope increase, so does the likelihood of needing a permit. Depending on your municipality, the requirement could be triggered by how much the project costs, square footage or type of work. Contact your local building official’s office and get the facts.
2: How To Apply For A Building Permit
It’s generally a good idea to task contractors with securing permits because they are familiar with the people and process. If you are a DIYer, start by downloading or getting an application from the local government agency. Most cities and towns streamline the process and charge a fee for the approval process and inspection. Along with a completed and signed application, the following documents may be required:
People who live outside the city limits may have to clear a few hurdles that involve both city and county oversight. Local officials are usually helpful in shepherding residents through the process as long as the project meets building and zoning regulations.
3: Building Inspections Are Crucial For Safety
A portion of the fee property owners pay for a permit helps fund inspections. Although some inspection professionals are viewed as giving taxpayers a hard time, the truth is they keep households safe. When a project fails to meet minimum building standards, inspectors cite the issue and require changes. The goal is not to have homeowners spend more money than necessary. Subpar construction can collapse, shoddy wiring can spark a house fire, and other building code violations put people in harm’s way.
By enforcing minimum building safety codes, inspectors ensure construction missteps do not cause any injury or fatality. That’s largely why working through the building permit process results in a safe, secure outcome for homeowners and their loved ones.