How to Get a Building Permit


We have discussed how to obtain zoning permits, but what's the next step? Before construction can begin, a building permit is needed, as well as a number of inspections of the work site.

Luckily, contractors can be a big help in obtaining and holding onto these types of permits, but it is still beneficial for the owner of the property to know what these permits are and what they do.

What is a Building Permit?

A building permit is a permit issued by the city that allows you to build homes and businesses (Although renovations sometimes require building permits as well). Building permits ensure that the structure will be safe and up to code; disregarding building permits can result in fines and legal lawsuits. They are complex documents and require thorough research before further development. As every city and municipality has specific rules on the matter, contractors and owners alike should be educated on such rules before going any further in the project.

Who owns the building permit--contractor or owner?

Sometimes a contractor will apply for the building permit, or maybe they will leave it to the owner. It is typically the owner’s choice on who wants to handle and maintain it, though keep in mind that if there is ever a legal dispute between owner and contractor, it may be rewarding to have the building permit under the owner’s name, paid for with the owner’s money.

How to get a building permit?

A simple search or inquiry on your city website will reveal the specific procedures required for building permits. Most cities will require the building plans as apart of approval for a building permit for the property so they can be inspected and approved for modern building codes and safety. Some cities or counties allow electronic submission of these documents and building plans, while some require a paper or walk-in submission. Be open and prepared for whatever the city requires.

Why should you get a building permit?

As said before, approval for such permits will require that the plans for the building are approved for safety and updated building codes. After the plans are approved (and sometimes before), an inspector from the city will go to the  property site to check various things throughout the building of the structure. Inspections can be focused on everything from the foundation, to the supports, to the drywall. If the safety of the home or business does not entirely convince you as the owner to apply for one, remember that building without a permit is illegal, and can result in legal trouble. In addition, it can make selling property that much harder.

Source: Neighborhood Link - Sabrina Robinson
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