Do I Need a Building Permit?

Building Permit Requirement
Get a Building Permit for Your Projects

Get a Building Permit if you are planning a home improvement project such as finishing your basement or rearranging your bathroom or kitchen. The jargon in the construction world is to “pull a permit.” Weird, but that’s the jargon.

Often, folks decide to not get a permit for home improvements because they worry this will alert the authorities to the fact that their house will be worth more due to the improvement, especially if the finished living space is being enlarged. They are afraid their appraised value will go up and the tax office will raise their property taxes. That is probably true.

But is it Worth the Risk?

What’s the risk of not getting a building permit? You might think I mean the risk of getting caught. No. That’s a risk, but it is not the BIG risk. What you should really worry about is the risk that your home improvement project might cause damage to your house, primarily in the form of flood or fire. If your uninspected wiring job happened to cause a fire and burn your house to the ground, your insurance company would have a perfectly valid reason to deny you compensation.

Would you like to pay for rebuilding your home after a fire? of course not. Getting permits and the proper inspections will keep your homeowner’s insurance intact. Your insurance, or your contractor’s insurance, would cover the cost.

A Bigger Risk without a Building Permit

I would guess this isn’t on your radar, but someone could get injured or killed if there is a construction accident. Building permits, and the associated inspections, give you an assurance that everything has been done correctly and safely.

Personally, I don’t think skipping the Building Permit is worth the risk. And professionally, I say you should always get a permit for any work that requires a permit. Avoiding it is just plain dumb.

So please get the proper permits and have the work properly inspected. If you are hiring a contractor to do the work and he tells you he won’t get a permit, take that as a warning that he is probably not licensed. Get rid of him and find a licensed contractor.

Get a building permit for your project. Don’t turn your “How to Remodel Your Bathroom” project into a “How to Burn Down Your House” project. Getting the proper inspections will make your house, and you, safer.

I hope this information is helpful to you. You might want to get yourself a copy of my best-seller, Designing Your Perfect House. It is chockfull of valuable tips and advice that will save you many times the cost of the book on your house building or remodeling project. You might also like The Well-Centered Home: Simple Steps to Increase Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, and Happiness Where You Live. It will show you how to make your home a happy place.

Bill Hirsch | Architect

Bill Hirsch

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