3 Reasons You Need to Get a Permit

It all started with a shelf.

You just bought your home and, though it needed a little surface work, you were pretty proud of it. It was yours, to do with as you wanted. So the first thing you did was run out and bought some lumber to construct a custom, built-in shelf system in your living room.

Oh, man, that was a breeze, you thought to yourself as you sat watching television and admiring the shelving. That was when you realized how much your house would benefit from knocking the wall out between the kitchen and the living room. After all, if Vanilla Ice can do it, surely you can.

If you had to look back and pick the moment when everything went south for you, that would be it. Thanks, Vanilla Ice. Thank you.

Instead of getting a permit for this major structural modification to your home, you just started smashing. After all, they don’t get permits for this stuff on television, so why bother with it?

Now you know why. Oh, now you know.

Many DIY Jobs Require a Permit

Whether you’re a trained carpenter or a DIYer that binges HGTV, there are certain kinds of home remodeling that will always require a permit. This ensures that someone is looking over your shoulder to make sure that you’re doing the work correctly.

Advanced jobs in plumbing, electrical, HVAC and other specialty fields always require a permit to ensure that the home is and will remain safe for the occupants. Other jobs, like those that involve making structural changes, may or may not need a permit. That’s usually at the discretion of the permitting body.

You’ll want to speak to your municipal planning and zoning department to determine whether or not your job needs to be permitted. Typically, getting a permit requires that you describe the work you plan to do and pay a small fee that covers, in part, the cost of having expert inspectors ensure that your worksite is safe and your repairs are done correctly.

This is Why You Need a Permit

It can be a pain to go down to P&Z (or planning and development in some areas), but it’s really worth the effort in the long run. Despite the amount of documentation these can require, depending on the complexity of your project, you’ll find that going through the process properly will force you to really think about each step in your process.

Of course, that’s just one reason to get a permit, there are plenty more, like:

1. Avoiding serious legal ramifications. In any municipality that requires permits, there’s some kind of severe punishment for not getting one.

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