Building projects of all different scopes, budgets and designs are subject to local standards. Virginia additions fit into that category, and those planning a home addition in Virginia will need to apply for and obtain a valid building permit from their local county office.
Why Building Permits Are Necessary
Although they may seem like just a paper trail or another expense to budget for, building permits play an important role in home renovations. The process and requirements are specific to your county, but the purpose behind permits is the same.
Simply put, building permits ensure that your home addition (and any other structural project) is built to code. The federally regulated building codes are formulated and put into practice in order to ensure safety and durability. Violating the building codes could quickly lead to injuries, and even fatalities.
This process is especially important for large-scale projects like Virginia additions, where several stages of construction include structural framing, electrical, plumbing and roofing – all presenting potential dangers to both homeowners and contractors.
Steps to the Building Permit Process
The Inspection Service division at your county office will review your project plans, looking at details such as floor joists, framing, plumbing and electrical design, materials specifications and loads. If all of those elements follow code, the drawings will be approved and a permit will be issued. Some counties issue temporary building permits for the duration of the project.
Inspections occur throughout the home renovation, at various intervals and covering different elements of the project. Electrical and plumbing inspections are important, as are structural inspections. All deficiencies recorded by the certified, professional inspectors must be addressed before the process can continue.
A final inspection is often scheduled, and all relevant paperwork is handed over to the homeowner. Most Virginia counties will deal with homeowners or contractors, and many place time limits on the permit application. Typically, work must start within six months of the application date and any breaks in the work must not stretch beyond a six-month period.
Obscure or Unusual Permits
Home additions require a standard building permit and, depending on the county, may also require a separate electrical permit. The location of your property, as well as the location and scope of your new addition, could require additional, more obscure permits.
Homes within the local flood plain or located in a buffer zone are subject to specific guidelines and building limitations. Also, if any element of your home addition involves the county’s right-of-way, an additional permit is required. Your contractor is familiar with these special circumstances and will likely take care of the additional applications. As the homeowner, you are responsible for the additional fees.
Building permits provide assurance and proof that your home improvement project meets federal building codes, as well as local standards. Professional contractors deal with permit applications on a regular basis and know the ropes when it comes to Virginia additions. Trust their knowledge, and trust in the county building permit system in place to ensure safety for all.