Do I really need a Building Permit? This is a question many people may ask themselves when planning alterations to their home. They are just rolling the dice if they don’t pull building permits. There are dangers of unpermitted improvements.
Dangers of Unpermitted Improvements
- Some homeowners are finding when they try to sell or refinance their home, prospective buyers or lending institutions want proof that alterations are in compliance with local codes. Without a permit and inspection on record, there is no proof. The homeowner must then apply for a permit with no guarantee that the remodel will meet the codes, and they face the possibility that the remodel must be redone or removed. This is costly and frustrating and could cause delays in refinancing or a lost sale of their home.
- If a fire or other calamity occurred to the house you sold as a result of faulty construction or wiring, the new owner’s home insurance company, most likely, would not cover the damage when they learned that no permits were pulled for the construction. The new homeowners would turn to you to pay for the damage.
- One of the dangers of unpermitted improvements is getting caught without a perm. It can result in much higher costs and substantial delays for any home improvement project. It can carry fines and cause delays much longer than allocating a few days for on-site inspections. The fees and time required to secure a permit is just a small price to pay compared to the consequences of not getting it.
- As a homeowner today, you could say, “It is my property. I’ll do what I want with it.” You shouldn’t have to pay for permits. But what happens when it’s time to sell your house? The next person should have some peace of mind that the work completed was done according to local building codes.
- And what about the bank or the mortgage provider that owns the house? If you have a mortgage, you most likely already signed somewhere in your mortgage documents that you are to obtain building permits for any work that requires them. Acquiring building permits is more than just your responsibility as a homeowner, but also your responsibility as a law-abiding citizen.
The building permit process is not meant to give you a headache for being a property owner. Building permits are a way for local governments to enforce their building codes, ensuring all buildings meet minimum safety and structural standards—all of which will help you, the homeowner, preserve the value of your home. These codes are being updated every few years, as new building methods and materials are introduced and applied. Municipalities invest a lot of money and time in continuing education for their inspectors. This is a service you should be taking advantage of as a homeowner as it’s in place to protect, not harm homeowners.
In summary, building permits are mainly about safety. By enforcing construction standards, they give you and the other occupants of the building the best chance to avoid fire, structural failure or something as simple as a child getting his head caught between stair posts. If you decide to move, the permit process also protects future owners.
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