If you have to ask when building permits are required for remodeling, then you should assume you need one for your project. A contractor can tell you more details but, in the meantime, figure transparency with your municipality is the most important type of construction safety.
If you need a building permit but don’t get one, the city could fine you, make you shut down your project, and even undo all the work you’ve done. Even if none of that happens, selling your house could easily expose the absence of a required permit, years later.
It is much better to get every little permit the government wants you to than to risk facing them without one.
When are Building Permits Required for Remodeling?
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry advises:
…a permit is generally required for remodeling projects that involve changes to the building’s existing footprint, electrical system or plumbing. Adding new windows to existing walls usually requires a permit. You are likely to need a permit for any project that goes beyond a simple repair or aesthetic upgrade such as:
- adding supporting walls or taking down load-bearing walls,
- an in-ground concrete pool or a porch/deck,
- replacing the roof,
- backyard shed, or
- concrete sidewalks, driveways and slabs.
What does a Building Permit Entail?
The short answer is that a building permit entails a contractor.
The process of how to get a permit can be confusing. This can easily lead to missing one (or more) that you need.
Also, if you DIY your building permits, then you’re taking on full legal responsibility for your project. On the other hand, if your contractor is the one who secures the permits, then they are the ones who will soak up the city’s wrath if there’s a problem.
When you’re shopping for a contractor, make sure to ask them when building permits are required for remodeling. If they sound unsure on the subject, that’s a glaring red flag.
How do you get a Permit?
Still, if you’d like to at least take a look at how to get a permit, start on your municipality’s website. See if you can navigate it to confidence in your permitting quest. For example, the city of Portland provides this permit-processing flow chart, complete with a table of contents.
Calling the city may help. Actually talking with enforcement officials and asking them when permits are required for remodeling can be highly educational. But at some point in the process, even they will probably suggest getting a contractor.
Partnering with a Trusted, Professional Company
If you aren’t a veteran of home remodels in the area you live in, get a contractor. The added expense of ensuring your legal safety (not to mention sound construction work) is well worth the benefit of avoiding having to personally deal with code enforcement.
All of us at Fitzpatrick Painting and construction are well versed in professional remodeling and we deal with the permitting process nearly every day. We can answer questions, or just get the permits we need for your project without bothering you about it. Give us a call to get started!