By reading this page, you have already taken the first step toward protecting the outcome and investment value of your construction project and guarding against a 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 will be surprised at how easy the whole process is.
The truth is, building permits are very beneficial to you and your community. By working with an expert code official, you will benefit from their knowledge of building codes to ensure your construction project is built right, will be safe and will last. Read on to discover "The Benefits of Building Permits."
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.
When Do You Need a Permit?
The best way to find out if you need a permit is to call your local building department. Discuss your plans with the code official before beginning construction to determine whether you will need a permit. Even if a permit is not needed, the code official will answer construction questions and may provide valuable information.
Permits are usually required for the following:
- New buildings
- Additions (bedrooms, bathrooms, family rooms, etc.)
- Residential work (decks, garages, fences, fireplaces, pools, water heaters, etc.)
- Renovations (garage conversions, basement furnishings, kitchen expansion, reroofing, etc.)
- Electrical systems
- Plumbing systems
- HVAC systems (new, replacement systems, etc.)
Your home or business is an investment. If your construction project does not comply with codes adopted by your state, 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 code official's carefully maintained records -- has a strong ally if something happens to trigger a potentially destructive lawsuit.
Your permit also allows the code 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.