3 Things Property Owners Need to Know About Building Permits

by Maryann Ross Levanti 12/12/2021

A great deal of misinformation about obtaining building permits exists that sometimes results in property owners not securing one. An inspector combing through your entire home looking for violations rarely happens in practice. Of course, if the house has been significantly altered over the years without pulling a permit, it’s not unreasonable for a building code enforcement officer to notice.

That being said, the benefits of applying and receiving a building permit outweigh avoiding the process. Homeowners who do not secure a permit can be subject to a fine and ordered to tear down any unapproved construction. If you are considering a home improvement or erecting an outbuilding, these are things to know about getting a building permit.

1: Know Whether You Need A Building Permit

It’s essential to understand that not every home improvement requires a formal permit and follow-up inspection. Minor projects such as new kitchen cabinets or flooring often do not. But as the size and scope increase, so does the likelihood of needing a permit. Depending on your municipality, the requirement could be triggered by how much the project costs, square footage or type of work. Contact your local building official’s office and get the facts.

2: How To Apply For A Building Permit

It’s generally a good idea to task contractors with securing permits because they are familiar with the people and process. If you are a DIYer, start by downloading or getting an application from the local government agency. Most cities and towns streamline the process and charge a fee for the approval process and inspection. Along with a completed and signed application, the following documents may be required:

  • Blueprints

  • High Wind Rating

  • Flood Zone Designation

  • Materials Estimate

People who live outside the city limits may have to clear a few hurdles that involve both city and county oversight. Local officials are usually helpful in shepherding residents through the process as long as the project meets building and zoning regulations.

3: Building Inspections Are Crucial For Safety

A portion of the fee property owners pay for a permit helps fund inspections. Although some inspection professionals are viewed as giving taxpayers a hard time, the truth is they keep households safe. When a project fails to meet minimum building standards, inspectors cite the issue and require changes. The goal is not to have homeowners spend more money than necessary. Subpar construction can collapse, shoddy wiring can spark a house fire, and other building code violations put people in harm’s way.

By enforcing minimum building safety codes, inspectors ensure construction missteps do not cause any injury or fatality. That’s largely why working through the building permit process results in a safe, secure outcome for homeowners and their loved ones.

About the Author
Author

Maryann Ross Levanti

I'm Maryann Ross Levanti, looking forward to meeting you and helping you find your new home and/or sell your current one. I've lived in Fairfield County the majority of my life - grew up in Westport, (Coleytown, Coleytown, Staples), undergrad at UPenn, masters from Edinburgh, Scotland. I'm ABR and GRI certified, and hold a broker's license in real estate, as well as a provisional appraiser license. Additionally, I am the exclusive agent for CCO Habitats - a HOBI award winning building company which regularly offers new construction homes as well as renovated homes to the market in Westport. In my 20 plus years of selling homes, I've learned many things - among them - the customer is not always right. Nor am I. However, if we work together we have a much better chance of being correct and either getting your home sold or finding the home that best suits your needs. Yes, I'm outspoken and opinionated. But anyone with a license can open a door - wouldn't you rather have doors opened by someone who actually tells you the truth and is willing to put her years of experience and knowledge into working 24/7 for you to help you understand what you're getting into? You may not always like what you hear, and there are no crystal balls in this business. But I believe an informed decision is always better. Hopefully you do too! As a yearly winner of the Connecticut Five Star Realtor award and frequently repeated recipient of customer service awards indicate; my priority is you, my client, and my clients appreciate it. Put my local knowledge, professional skills, ethics and dedication to work for you - give me a call 203.984.5157.