What Is a Building Permit?
A building permit gives you legal permission to start construction of a building project. This project has to be 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 a building official before you begin construction to determine whether you will need a permit. If a permit is not needed, a building official will still answer your construction questions and may provide valuable advice. Permits are usually required for:
• New Building Projects
• Room Additions (Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Family Rooms, etc.)
• Residential Work (Decks, Garages, Fireplaces, Pools, Water Heaters, etc.)
• Renovations (Garage Conversions, Basement Finishing, Kitchen Expansions, etc.)
• Electrical Systems
• Plumbing Systems
• Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems
What Good Does a Permit Do?
Your home or business is an investment. If your construction project does not comply with the codes adopted by your community, the value of your investment could be reduced. Additionally, 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 do costly repairs.
It is wise for property owners to be able to show that code requirements were strictly and consistently met as demonstrated by a building official's carefully maintained records. This gives you a strong backing 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, your completed project will meet the minimum standards of safety and be less likely to cause injury to you, your family and friends, or future owners.