Are you going to redesign your house? Have you decided to add a home addition? Are you going for a renovation project? or an improvement project? Aside from researching styles and interior ideas, you must not forget to prepare for the building permit application, which is an official document to ensure compliance with building code safety,

What is a building permit?

A building permit is a requirement for construction or remodeling projects. It is issued by the country or city to ensure if the homeowner is complying with the safety of the work, building, construction, and zoning codes. It is also issued to consent homeowners with their home improvement projects for their project plan did not go beyond the codes. If you got your building permit approved, it means you can proceed with your remodeling project on your residential properties.

Are building permits necessary?

Some changes do not require a permit, but for a major construction project, it is necessary. For instance, roofing projects require a permit. However, if you are going to do some renovation inside your house, like changing the wallpaper, updating your flooring, they don’t require a permit for installation.

Building permits include public health and safety that is why they are needed. Some plumbing or construction is done improperly which may result in damage, that is why going through the right building permit process is a must.

How to obtain a building permit

If you are confused about how to get a building permit for your project, here is a step-by-step guide you can follow.

Step 1: Planning and budgeting

Knowing if your project plan is within your preferred budget is a must, you don’t want to jump into taking actions without a detailed plan and budget. Your project plan should include your contact information, address or assessor’s parcel number, description of work, architect or engineer, your general contractor name, your renovation project timeline, and drawings. Make sure to comply and request a review from your city before submitting your permit application.

You will be an advantage if you have knowledge of permit requirements.

Step 2: Go for a preliminary review

Your local building department would look over your proposal to see if it does not violate or go against their guidelines, so consider visiting them before submitting it. You may also note that your project plan might need city approval, make sure you comply with that. Missing out on any documents for your building permit can be annoying, so taking time to review and clarify which documents you will be needing for your application should not be disregarded.

It is also needed to be aware of things like electrical codes, or plumbing codes.

Step 3: Move to submit your permit application

This step is pretty straightforward, you just have to fill out the form. Some cities provide downloadable forms including all application forms. Remember that if you are currently residing in a planned community, a letter from your homeowner’s association may come in handy for your project plan approval. 

Step 4: Review process

Upon receiving your application, the building department will now review your project plan with your application. The review process may take several weeks due to a long application queue. The department may ask for your plan to be revised, so you must be prepared.

Step 5: If you receive a rejection letter

You will still have a chance to comply even after your plan did not meet any building permit requirement. The building department will send you a letter that includes the review comments, instructions for resubmitting your application, and the resubmittal date. Pay attention to every detail written on the paper, and respond to them about how you are going to handle the issue. You will be given a couple of days to get your application approved.

Step 6: Application approved

The start of every project might excite you, but don’t forget about the inspections. Be prepared for the rough inspections. Going against the approved plan may lead to a failed inspection which results in wasted time and money. Having proper inspections is needed before moving on to the next step. And if you are going for the DIY route, make sure to befriend your building inspector to build a rapport and better communication.

Also, scheduling inspections are required for some projects like a major construction projects.

Frequently asked questions about getting building permits

If you are still anxious even after reading the steps above, here are some FAQs about getting building permits. Some answers are already written here, but you can still ask a professional for reassurance.

How much does a building permit cost?

The cost of building permits may rise to $1326, however, some homeowners get to spend at most $2329.  Actual permit costs depend on the type of project you are going to take. Please note that larger cities may require a higher fee.

Bathroom permit fees range from $175-$2000, for a basement permit, it runs from $50-$2000, a plumbing permit cost may rise to $500, the same goes for an electrical permit, roofing permit, and deck project permit, while a permit for fences cost around $20-60. Furthermore, prepare as much as $500 for your building inspection fees. Know your type of permit to anticipate how much you are going to spend.

How long does the process take?

For simple projects, the timeline might not take too long, however, large-scale building projects may take longer. Preparing your building permit paperwork ahead should save you some time.

What home improvements require a building permit?

Home additions and remodeling projects are the most common to require a building permit. But minor home improvement projects like fencing, window installation, electrical work, or plumbing work may also require a building permit in almost every region.

Nonetheless, projects like the removal or addition of walls, demolition, or altering your home’s piping systems may require a special building permit.

What happens if I don’t get a permit?

Getting a permit may sound exhausting because of all the processes you have to do, but negligence will result in huge problems in the future. You might be charged with other fees, and your project could be put to a stop. Unpermitted projects may also cause troubles or injuries due to skipped inspections. Your project or work could be destroyed in some cities because it might go against the restrictions on building permits.

What are the examples of projects that do not require permits?

Projects like painting, new cabinets, a whole-house fan, or repairing the driveway do not need permits. You may also repair your drywall, plaster, siding, or reroof without applying for a permit. Redesigning your flooring or installing new ones can be done without the permit. Homeowners are happy about these because they get to make their houses better-looking without spending on building permit fees.

Talk to a home addition contractor to know how to get a building permit for an addition to your home

When in doubt, erase your hesitation and call a friend. A friend you can find in a reliable home addition contractor. A reputable contractor will always guide you, whether with individual projects or any type of project you will take on that may require any type of permit.