Do I Need a Construction Permit?

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.

What Is a Building Permit?

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.

Which Projects Require a Permit?

While the need for a construction permit varies based on where you live, you'll typically need one for the following project types:

  • Installing a new roof
  • Tearing down or constructing walls
  • Changing a room's use (converting a garage into a home office or spare bedroom, for example)
  • Building a deck or patio
  • Installing an above-ground or in-ground swimming pool
  • Moving plumbing pipes
  • Working with electrical wiring
  • Finishing an unfinished basement or attic
  • Constructing an outbuilding or shed
  • Building a fence that surrounds your property

In contrast, the following are examples of projects that generally do not require a permit:

  • Painting the interior or exterior of your home
  • Replacing windows (unless you're altering the size or configuration of the opening)
  • Installing flooring or carpeting
  • Adding kitchen cabinets
  • Repaving or blacktopping your driveway
  • Performing basic household repairs
  • Landscaping work that does not involve constructing walls or hardscaping

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.

How to Obtain a Building Permit

Each municipality has a specific process for acquiring permits, but the general steps are:

  • Completing an application
  • Preparing and submitting a site plan
  • Scheduling an appointment with your local building/permit office to receive approval
  • Receiving the permit

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.

What Happens if You Don't Get the Necessary Permits?

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.

Contact The Cat® Rental Store for Your Equipment Needs

Some home improvement projects may require heavy equipment. The Cat® Rental Store in your area has the right machine for the job at a competitive rate. Give us a call at 1-800-RENT-CAT or contact us online to request a fast quote today.

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