Do I really Need a Building Permit?

Do I really Need a Building Permit

Most people who begin a remodeling or construction project on their property don’t like to think about building permits. Many people believe that obtaining a permit will trigger a new tax assessment of their property which could lead to higher property taxes. Others believe that the project is just too small to warrant the cost of a permit. The fact is, whether or not you need a permit depends on where your property is located and what the ordinances are in that area.

Building Permit Requirements

To determine if a permit is required in your area, the first step is to call the local building department or zoning office. Most cities and counties have planning and zoning departments who can answer questions about your project and advise you whether a project requires a permit. In most cases, changes to the electrical, plumbing or structure of your home will require a permit. This could include outdoor decks, large sheds or screened porches, even if they will not contain electric or water. Even some indoor projects may require a permit, especially if you are moving walls that could be load-bearing.

Why They Are Important

Too often, people believe that a building permit is simply a way for the local municipality to make money. In reality, permits are designed to protect the homeowner. A permit triggers inspections as the project progresses. A building inspector will confirm that all codes are met and that the structure is safe for use. For example, in areas where hurricanes are common, building codes often include special material requirements that have been designated as hurricane proof. In areas where snow and ice are common, structures may be required to hold greater weights than in areas that do not see as much inclement weather.

Stand Alone vs. Attached

Most codes make a distinction between whether an added structure will be attached to the home or will be a stand-alone structure. In some areas, stand-alone structures, such as playhouses or storage sheds, do not require a permit. However, in most areas of the country, any structure that will be attached to your home, such as a garage, will require a permit as the new structure will require the framework of your home for support. This could mean the new structure may jeopardize the integrity of your home if it is not properly constructed. A permit will insure that the addition is properly constructed and attached for your own safety.

If you are considering an addition to your home, contact Tri-County Exteriors today to learn how they can help you with your project. They can answer any of your permit questions and will work with you to create the addition to your home that meets your needs.