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Do I Really NEED that Permit?

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1-stone wall building permit-flickr-trevor.patt
Photo credit: trevor.patt / Flickr

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Now that Spring has finally sprung, it’s time to start on all those home renovation projects you’ve been planning all winter. You may have planned all sorts of construction projects, and you are all ready to start making those home improvements.

But, before you start any of them, the first thing you need to do is to check with the proper town and county officials to make sure you have the right permits to do so.

A Building Permit For A Deck? Really?

Somewhere in all the legalese your local government has come up with a statement similar to this:

“No person, firm or corporation shall erect, construct, enlarge, install, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert or demolish any building, structure or service system within the jurisdiction of (Your County Building Inspections Department) without first applying for and obtaining a permit for such.”

This basically means you can’t do anything to your home or property construction-wise without getting a permit first. Granted, you can do small things like painting, replacing your hot water heater, upgrading your appliances and other minor renovations, but anything that requires some type of structural change to your home requires a permit first.

What Does This Affect?

This affects any plans that involve the structure of your home or a structure you plan to add to your property, such as an outbuilding, car port or garage. It also means if you plan to convert your basement into a game room, add or expand a deck, put in a swimming pool or even replace your roof, siding or windows, you’ll have to have the proper permits.

When you hire a company to come in and do these things for you, they also have to have the proper permits from your local government.

Is A Permit Really Required?

While many construction projects may not be apparent unless someone is in your home, making changes to your deck or adding structures to your property definitely are. Not only will getting the proper permits ensure you’re adhering to the letter of the law, but your project will be inspected by a building inspector to ensure the modifications and changes are up to code.

After the building inspector approves of the work, you can rest assured that the law is satisfied and that your project is safe. This can be important if your project has necessitated running electrical wiring or plumbing.

While getting the proper permits is an added expense you may not have considered, and having your project inspected afterwards is a nuisance as well, having the right permits can save you money in the long run.

First, you won’t be fined by your town or county for making unauthorized improvements (they may even make you tear it out and start over!).

And secondly, making sure your project is up to code insures that it is safe and won’t cause damage to your home or property. Getting the right permits may be a hassle and an expense, but it is worth it when all is said and done.


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