You are anxious to get your new bathroom remodel started. Your contractor says he can begin next week – but wait! You don’t have any building permits yet. Is it okay to launch the project without them? Absolutely not! It is vital that your contractor pulls the proper permits before starting any work.
Why You Need Building Permits
Homeowners hate the idea of obtaining building permits for any size remodeling job, especially smaller ones. They falsely believe that it will slow down the work, cost them more money, and raise the taxes on their home. When dealing with the average home remodeling project, none of these things happen.
Local municipalities require construction permits for several reasons:
- To ensure that all work is completed to code: this makes sure your home is safe
- To ensure that your contractor is licensed
- To ensure that your project is legal
- To ensure that every project is properly inspected through all phases of the work
When You Need a Permit
Not every remodeling job requires a building permit. In most cases, they are only required when upgrades and changes are made to the structure of the home, mechanical changes occur, or electrical changes are completed. What does this mean? If you are going to be adding to the load of the house (like an extra room or even a closet), revamping your plumbing or electrical systems, or cutting into the structure (by opening a doorway, taking down a wall, or adding windows), then you will need a permit. Simply replacing existing windows can usually be done without a permit, but cutting out a larger window or adding one to the house will require one.
The Dangers of Preceding Those Permits
Homeowners sneak in work all of the time without obtaining the proper permits. Sometimes, their contractor even suggest it, but it is not a good idea for several reasons:
- If you get caught, you could be issued a fine, or worse, be required to tear out the work completed, and this could cost you thousands of dollars.
- Your insurance company could reject any claims on your policy due to illegal renovations
- You could lose the sale of your house if prospective buyers discover that the remodel was completed illegally
- The new homeowners could sue you after the sale of your home
- People (or your property) could be hurt
Most people do not understand the degree of trouble that completing unpermitted work can cause. Even if you think you have gotten away with doing unpermitted work, you could eventually be left liable for damages. Any time you list your home for sale, realtors and mortgage companies search deed and assessment records looking for red flags. Listing your home as a three bedroom, two bath house when your assessment review shows only one bathroom could cause trouble. If they notify your local municipality about the discrepancy, the authorities can make you rip out that second bathroom.
How Do I Find Out If My Project Requires Permits?
Any reputable contractor should know which permits are required for each job they submit a bid for. Still, it is always a good idea to contact your local Department of Building and Planning, Code Enforcement, or Zoning Office to determine if permits are required for your specific remodeling job.
Who Is Responsible for Pulling Permits?
While a homeowner can pull the permits themselves, it is always best for the contractor to do it. First, they can better explain the total scope of the project to the code enforcement officer and plus the contractor also knows what secondary permits may be required for subcontractors and their work. Any contractor who refuses to obtain the proper permits, including the price in their work bid, should be considered suspect.
To avoid hiring a contractor that could cost you thousands by failing to pull the proper permits, look to the qualified professional team at Owens Construction. Serving the local community for more than 30 years, Owens Construction offers free estimates, which include the cost and work of obtaining the proper building permits. Call today for your free estimate.