Do I Need a Building Permit?

Building Permit Requirement
Get a Building Permit for Your Projects

If you are planning a home improvement project such as finishing your basement or rearranging your bathroom or kitchen, you might be wondering if you need a building permit. The jargon in the construction world is to “pull a permit.” I’m not sure where you pull it from, but that’s a discussion for another blog post.

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. 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?

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 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. Getting permits and the proper inspections will keep your homeowner’s insurance intact.

Personally, I don’t think skipping the 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, you should 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.

Bill Hirsch | Architect

Bill Hirsch

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