We’ve all heard horror stories about the remodeling project that needs to be torn down or redone because it didn’t live up to code. While many believe that investigating building codes is too confusing, time consuming and costly, the consequences of not getting the necessary permits before starting a construction project are both upsetting and expensive.
Securing a building permit before you start planning a renovation can also prove critical should you sell your home in the near or distant future. Potential buyers could request proof of permit for that room above the garage you added. Not having one is a risk most buyers wouldn’t want to absorb.
Building codes were designed to set public-safety standards for things like construction, maintenance, use and occupancy. Codes address all aspects of construction, including structural integrity, fire resistance, safe exits, lighting, electrical, energy conservation, plumbing, ventilation, and correct use of construction materials.
In order to make a change to your property, you need a permit that states your renovations coincide with all applicable building codes. Permits may be needed to cover projects such as the installation of foundations and sprinkler systems, the addition of a porch or deck, changes to driveways and room additions. These codes are modified often, and established and enforced by government officials or politicians. Enforcement tactics can include denying permits, occupancy certificates, or imposing fines.
Codes vary with location—each state, county, city and town can have their own specialized codes for things like electricity, plumbing, construction and fire. Typically, each code or permit requires separate inspections and inspectors. Inquire with your city hall to find out the correct department and process for securing permits.
Some homeowners avoid securing a building permit to avoid a potential increase in property taxes should the renovation result in an increase in the assessed value of the property. However, the extra precautionary step is vital and ensures you won’t suffer from repercussions such as hefty fines, or having to tear down your new deck due to improper construction or zoning. Taking the time to check on your local building codes and obtaining a permit will help ensure your renovation project goes smoothly.
As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.