If you decide to do a home improvement project, you are likely to think about colors and design options if the project will improve your projects Property value, or when you need to hire someone to help you with your work. But there is one other very important consideration to make – whether or not you need planning permission for your project.
It is important for homeowners to understand which projects need approval and what the consequences of these projects are if they are approved without them. Before you start tinkering with electrical cables or knocking down walls, make sure you understand the pros and cons of building permits and when they are required.
What is a building permit?
A building permit is a legal document issued by the local government that allows you to proceed with the construction of a project. Building permits ensure your home improvement or remodeling project meets critical requirements that minimize potential health and safety hazards such as collapse, fire and electric shock. While getting a building permit can be bothersome, it’s important to remember that the process was put in place to keep you and your family safe, and to protect your investment
Do-it-yourself work that requires planning permission
Although requirements vary from city to city, the rule of thumb is that structural, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work requires a residential permit. Here is a breakdown of the most common home improvement projects that require planning permission:
- Installation or repair of fences: When installing or repairing a fence, it is important to check with your city to see if there is a height restriction. Let a fence builder check with you about such restrictions to avoid having to cut or dismantle the fence after installation.
- Window installations: If you are installing new windows that are larger than your old windows, a permit will be required to cut holes for them. This also includes cutting holes for skylights and new doors with windows. Be sure to contact a professional window installer who can obtain these permits.
- Plumbing and electrical work: If you are installing or replacing piping, you will likely need to apply for a permit. The same rule applies to installing or replacing electrical cables, whether it’s an electrical outlet, switch, ceiling fan, or ceiling light. The cases where you don’t need a permit or inspection include smaller projects like repairs and installation of lights.
- Structural changes: If you make any structural changes to your property, the contractor must obtain approval. This can include changes to load-bearing walls, balconies, decks, porches, roofs, or foundation floors.
- Heating maintenance: If you replace the water heater, the heating specialist commissioned by you must obtain approval. Changes to the ventilation system, gas and wood chimneys and ducts also require approval. This does not include filter changes, engine lubrication or equipment cleaning.
- Additions and modifications: Approval is required for additions, new builds, conversions, repairs, replacements, and upgrades valued at $ 5,000 or more. This includes free-standing structures such as garages, sheds, and platforms. The exceptions to this rule are structures less than 200 square feet, paintwork, carpeting, and wallpaper.
Home improvement projects that do not require a permit
There will be some Home improvement projects This doesn’t require a permit like small plumbing and electrical projects. Other projects you can do without permission include:
- Painting and wallpapering
- Laying floors such as hardwood, carpeting, linoleum or vinyl tiles
- Minor electrical repairs
- Install new countertops
- Install or replace the tap
As mentioned earlier, the rules vary from region to region. Just because someone you know doesn’t need permission doesn’t mean you won’t. If you are not sure, contact your local construction office and ask. It is better to check beforehand as the call can save you a lot of time, money and stress.
Who will get the building permit?
When you hire a contractor to complete the project, they usually get approval. This is because, in general, the person or company who gets approval is also the person who is responsible for making the project compliant with the code. If you pull the permit yourself, you will be considered a contractor (in the eyes of your local government) and so will be liable if there is a construction problem.
What if you don’t get a building permit?
Unfortunately, homeowners often choose not to get a building permit to save time and money. However, if you do any work on your home without the necessary permits, you could be in direct breach of city codes and regulations. Something possible consequences In order not to get approval, include:
- If the enforcement authorities become aware of your violation, fines and penalties well in excess of the cost of the initial approval can be imposed. Additionally, government officials can require homeowners or contractors to demolish and revise work.
- If you are trying to sell your home in the future, a Home inspection will likely be carried out. The inspection can reveal any home improvement projects done without proper permits. This can delay a home sale and you may even have to undo previous work and start over.
- In the unfortunate event of a major plumbing problem, fire, or structural breakdown, your homeowner’s insurance may not be able to cover the damage if it is determined that the problem was due to work carried out without a building permit.
Building permits can sometimes seem like a hassle. In many cases, however, getting a permit can mean giving up less than an hour of your time and spending a few hundred dollars. With all the possible consequences, you are safer than sorry. So if you need planning permission for your home improvement project, do yourself a favor and get yourself one.