Do I need a permit?

Do I need a permit? Maybe, maybe not. The purpose for a permit is so the code enforcement inspector can review work completed at each stage to assure that construction, electrical, plumbing, and other work, meet building and safety codes.  They also act as a form of consumer protection (a contractor who won’t pull required permits might lack the appropriate licensing). Based on where you live, states, counties, and cities each have different requirements governing when a permit is required. 

If work is done without a permit you may:
  • Face fines based on the size of the project and type of work completed.

  • Be liable for property tax if the square footage or home value increases.

  • Be required to redo work that was completed (often drywall would need to be removed so electrical and plumbing can be inspected).

  • Have higher insurance premiums due to increased risk of having non-inspected components in the home.

  • Have difficulty selling your home as potential buyers may not want/take the risk.

  • Be liable for future damages (fire, water, etc…) caused by improper work well after you have sold the home.

When isn’t a permit needed?
Typically anything that is structural, electrical, or plumbing would be required to have a permit.  However, many jurisdictions do not require permits for low cost projects. Minor home owner repairs and alterations, or changes to finishes, such as painting, new plumbing, lighting fixtures, flooring, cabinetry, and landscaping may not require a permit  If you are unsure contact the code enforcement office. They are always happy to answer questions.

Even if a permit is not required, your project .must meet all code requirements and development standards.  Many jurisdictions publish their building codes. The internet contains great resources including many diagrams.

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