Are you ready to start that long-awaited home addition or improvement project? You're likely thinking about things like the cost, what materials you'll need and which contractor to hire, unless you intend to do the work yourself. Another essential planning aspect you must consider is the acquisition of any required building permits.
A building permit is a written authorization issued by a municipality that you need to obtain before beginning many types of construction projects. Its purpose is to ensure the work complies with all applicable construction and zoning codes and safety standards. In most cases, the contractor will handle the permit acquisition process for you. If you don't hire a contractor, you'll need to complete the process yourself.
While the need for a construction permit varies based on where you live, you'll typically need one for the following project types:
In contrast, the following are examples of projects that generally do not require a permit:
The first step is to contact your municipality's building and permit office. In some instances, you may need additional permits for electrical, plumbing or mechanical work. The permit acquisition cost varies from one jurisdiction to the next.
Each municipality has a specific process for acquiring permits, but the general steps are:
You'll need to arrange for periodic inspections during the construction process. You'll also have to get final approval from the municipality upon finishing the project.
The consequences of not obtaining permits can be severe. The municipality could raise the fees, which can significantly increase your job's costs. It could also stop the project and make you tear down the work you've already completed, especially if that work does not comply with the local building codes.
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