Often, homeowners are under the assumption permits are only required for major remodeling projects. That assumption is not necessarily correct. Generally, you can replace existing elements of a home one-on-one without a permit.
Things that represent a real estate improvement or change in the structure of a home require permits. You can replace a leaky faucet or broken light switch, but a room addition or adding a deck calls for a permit.
Many seemingly small projects need permits from the city or county. Building permits are an approval issued by local governmental agencies that certify work is done to a set of standards. They must be obtained before work begins.
Building permits have a time frame for the completion of the work. Work typically needs to start within six months to a year and be completed within a year to 18 months. After work is completed to the satisfaction of inspectors, the permit is closed out successfully.
Any major remodel project requires a building permit, like moving a wall or adding square footage. Because a permit requires filling out the correct paperwork, submitting a design plan, and CAD details, it is best to let contractors like Morgan Remodel do the work for you.
Why a Remodeling Permit Is Needed
The city or county issues a building permit that authorizes the completion of a specific renovation or construction project. A permit ensures the work is safely completed and complies with zoning, construction, and building codes.
Failure to obtain a building permit can have stiff consequences. Among them are
- Fines and penalties issued by the city or county
- Having to redo work that does not meet the code
- Completed work not to code could be unsafe
- Lenders may refuse mortgages for unpermitted work
- Harder to sell property with unpermitted work
- Home insurance may not cover unpermitted work
- Unpermitted work may not be included in an appraisal
When a Remodeling Permit Is Needed
The need for a building permit depends a little on where you live. The same project may require a permit in one city, not a neighboring city. These projects usually require a building permit.
- Adding or removing walls (bearing and unbearing)
- Adding square footage
- Changing the use of a room
- Demolishing a portion of a home
- Installing or remodeling a swimming pool
- Replacing your windows (where required)
- Installing or remodeling a deck
- Modifying electrical wiring
- Changing the plumbing configuration in a house
Typically, a permit is not needed when
- Replacing, refacing or painting kitchen cabinets
- Installing flooring
- Planting flowers, shrubs, and trees
- Repainting the exterior of a home
- Re-Roofing your home (varies by municipalities)
- Repaving a driveway
This list is not complete and may vary based on local building codes. The regional planning and zoning department can answer any questions you have. If you have a question if a permit is required, call your local planning and zoning department.
Who Obtains the Remodeling Permit
Unless you plan to do the remodeling on your own or act as the General Contractor, the contractor doing the work gets the permit. The person who obtains the permit is responsible for meeting the applicable codes. DIY’ers who choose to do the work themselves are considered contractors for projects.
They are responsible for following the code. An individual can apply for a permit themselves, even when hiring a contractor. They may feel it will save money by handling that detail on their own. Such a person needs to know that the more complicated a project is, the more complex and detailed the permit requirements.
An experienced contractor like Morgan Remodel knows how to provide the needed information and can obtain a permit in a timely manner.
Steps to Getting a Remodeling Permit
The process may vary a bit from one county or municipality to another, but the steps include
- Obtaining and completing the permit application
- Preparing a site plan
- Preparing the design
- CAD details
- Scheduling an appointment for the approval of the plan
- Responding to questions and requests for additional information
- Scheduling inspections
- Completing the project and closing the permit out
The steps are relatively straightforward but applying for permits when completing significant remodeling projects can be complicated and time consuming. A person who plans to do the work themselves may need the help of an architect and/or structural engineer to prepare the site plan and structural details where appropriate.
Getting a permit when replacing windows (where required) is much simpler than when a garage is converted to a living space. The plans are more detailed; there may be more requests for information, and you will have more inspections.
How Long It Takes to Get a Permit
Some building and planning departments issue over-the-counter permits for simple projects. More complicated renovations may take three weeks or longer, depending on the backlog and whether additional information must be submitted or corrections to plans made. Anyone in a hurry benefits from hiring a contractor like Morgan Remodel. They know the process and the information required to get the permit.
The Cost of Remodeling Permits
There is no set building permit fee. Nationally, the average building permit cost in 2021 was approximately $1281. The typical range was roughly $482 to $2211. That average included pricy permits for the construction of entire houses. Many permits cost a hundred dollars or less.
The cost of a permit depends on the work it entails and where you live. Your local planning and building department typically have a fee schedule posted online. Usually, the fees are based on a percentage of the renovation’s estimated value.
In Greenwood, IN, the fee for an addition is a base fee of $100 plus $0.05 per square foot. A remodel that involves one trade, such as Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, or Structural. A combination of trades requires a $150 permit. When you hire a contractor, the cost of permits and the information required is typically included in the bid.
Consequences of Not Having a Permit
Without a permit, the city or county may issue a stop-work order. You will be required to stop construction. To continue makes you subject to legal action and fines. It is always recommended to check whether a permit is needed. Call your local planning and zoning department to find out if you need a permit or not.
Inspectors who find a project does not have a permit may require removing drywall to inspect newly installed plumbing or wiring. You may then be required to obtain a permit that includes a fine.
Feel free to call us at 317-859-8269 if you have any questions about the permitting process
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