House Renovation Plans And Permits

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Home Renovation Permits

Home renovation permits may seem like bureaucratic busywork and an excuse to charge homeowners application fees, but municipalities have valid reasons for insisting on permits. Home renovation permits ensure that construction and safety codes are met, preventing dangerous work that could threaten the health and safety of homeowners.

House Renovation Plans that Require Permits

How do you know if your house renovation plans require a permit? Contacting your local permit office and asking is the safest policy. If you do require a permit, the office can guide you through the application process, schedule necessary inspections and explain which safety codes need observing.

House renovation plans that almost always require permits include:

  • Adding a new door or window
  • Adding an addition or extra story to a building
  • Any project requiring structural changes to a building
  • Building an elevated deck
  • Changing the roofline
  • Demolishing or modifying support walls
  • Installing new electric wiring
  • Major plumbing renovations.

You may not need renovation permits for minor electrical work, such as changing a light socket. Replacing flooring, adding siding, fixing existing fences and replacing old windows or doors may not require permits. If you have any doubts, however, ask. Failure to secure the right permits can result in heavy fines.

Submitting House Renovation Plans

Home renovation permits must be displayed in your front window during the project. At certain points during the project the permit office sends inspectors to ensure that your house renovation plans are up to code and meet safety requirements. A final inspection occurs at the end of the project. Both homeowners and contractors should be present for permit inspections.

Who Applies for Home Renovation Permits?

Some municipalities allow homeowners to apply for home renovation permits themselves. Others insist that a licensed contractor submit permit applications. If you hire a contractor, it's almost always preferable to have the professional apply for renovation permits. Contractors understand the application process much better than homeowners.

Permit offices may ask you to submit house renovation plans and blueprints for large projects that substantially change a home's structure. In such cases house renovation plans must be submitted by a licensed architect or contractor.

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