What Are Building Permits?

Thinking about building or making structural modifications to your building? Then you’ll need building permits. What are building permits? Think of them as your permission and approval by the local government, and this permit is needed before any work commences.

what are building permits

A permit generally remains open and pending until the work has been completed and approved by an inspector. It is important to note however that most permits do have an expiration or project completion date once granted.

Your building permit details the type of structure that is allowed and typically requires engineered plans that can be deemed safe. Also in consideration are things such as sanitation, water and water uses, fire and electrical services and even managing the impact on the environs. The overall determination is to ensure standardization, and that the building policies are followed.

When Do You Need A Building Permit?

There are several examples when a building permit will be needed, but it is always encouraged to consult your local contractor or local government to be certain. 

The permit is needed for:

  • Construction of a new building
  • Modification and add-on or extension of an existing building
  • Repurposing of an existing structure
  • Replacement and repairs being done to the building
  • Installation of new roof or other exteriors
  • Patio enclosures and structures

Simple repairs and replacements do not necessarily require a permit and you can clarify whether or not it’s required with your local building department. For example, most departments will not require a permit if the structure is under 10×10 feet.  Your contractor may even take the hassle of applying for this building permit as part of services rendered as well. This is important especially if there are certain types of work that will need a licensed professional.

Building inspectors will typically review your construction progress periodically to ensure everything is going according to the plans laid out in your permits. Their job is to ensure the details of the application are seen to have been met. 

Consequences Of Not Having A Building Permit

building problemsNot having a permit can cost you a significant amount in fines and damages. Many feel that these permits are simply a nuisance, but the point of them is to avoid problems such as structural issues, plumbing and even fire or similar risks that can arise. Should it be found that the work done on the building is the cause of not following the details of the building permit or not even having a building permit, then the liability may rest on the owner’s shoulders. The damages may not even be covered by any property insurance.

The valuation of the property may be affected as well. As such if the structure’s integrity is compromised during a construction process or any modification, when it comes time for property valuation, then this can negatively affect the valuation.

Work carried out without the required building permit can also hinder the sale of the building. Additionally the requirement may be that any work carried out be undone and then redone again after the acquisition of the building permit. 

Therefore it is just a bit simpler to follow the process and acquire your building permit. Save yourself some stress in the long run.