Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Home Projects that Require Permits

A lot of homeowners are in the dark as to what kind of projects actually require permits.  For the weekend warrior, do it yourself kind of homeowner, permits might be neglected all together.  Sure there are plenty of small little fixes and upgrades around that house that you can easily do, but are you sure those fixes are safe?  The entire reason for a permit is to record that your home was safely updated to the current codes.  On top of that, having recorded permits verifies with any future buyer that they are receiving a good, well built product.  There is always the chance in any property transfer that un-permitted work could muck up an entire deal.  It can also be an expensive fix to go back and get the work permitted. 

Permitting your work is the safe way to do things.  Permitting works differently from city to city as different cities have a unique process or building code to use.  Contractors should know what kind of work needs permitting, but just with any other trade, there are good contractors who know what they're doing, and there are some that might not be caught up on current procedures.  Before you start any work, make sure that you understand what projects will need to be permitted by checking with your municipal building department. 

The following are projects that will most likely need permits in your area:

1)  Electrical:  Electrical work is a very particular skill.  Un-permitted work is downright dangerous and can cause serious harm to your home and family.  Most electrical changes require permits and inspection, even if it's just moving an outlet.

2)  Plumbing:  Plumbing is more of a building safety issue than a life safety issue.  Bad plumbing can ruin your home, leave sewage backed up, or cause mold damage.  Typically, removing existing plumbing or installing new plumbing requires a permit.

3)  Structural:  Changing a major load bearing system requires permitting because it changes structural load path and load distribution.  If you're opening up a new room by installing a load bearing beam on columns, have your contractor build per residential building codes and get it permitted and inspected.  This also goes for cutting holes for new windows on exterior walls.  If it's a structural change, get it permitted.

4)  Additions:  If you're changing the configuration by extending out from the current footprint, you'll need a permit.  Along with the permit, you'll most likely need architect and engineered drawings for the addition.  Additions are expensive because of all the permitting required.  Make sure you use a skilled and knowlegable contractor who can help you navigate the bureaucratic systems to get permitted for such a big project.

5)  Exterior Changes:  Most landscaping, sheds or fences don't require a permit if they are within size limitations per city codes.  Sheds typically have a square footage or height threshold before they need to be permitted and the same goes for fences.  If you have plans to create a large outbuilding or a shop, it'll most likely need permits.

Although permits are time consuming, sometimes expensive and laborious, they are the only way to go to protect your well being and your investment in your home.

Jared Reimer is a real estate broker with Prudential Rocky Mountain Realtors in Northern Colorado.  Real estate is his passion and he always wants to connect with like-minded and savvy real estate fans.  For more information or to get in touch with Jared, please visit his website at www.ReimerRE.com or email him at JaredReimer@ReimerRE.com

1 comment:

  1. If you're changing the configuration by extending out from the current footprint, you'll need a permit. Along with the permit, you'll most likely need architect and engineered drawings for the addition.
    Plumber Alabaster, Al