Do I Need a Building Permit? - Architect's Digital Workshop
Is it really worth the risk of not getting a building permit for your custom home or remodel? You know the answer to that question. But check out my latest blog post where I explore this topic a little further.
building permit, architect, contractor
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Helping Homeowners Design and Build Their Dream Home

24 Aug Do I Need a Building Permit?

Building Permit

 Do I Need a Building Permit for My Small Addition?

That is probably the question I get asked the most.  It is such a loaded question.  But you already know the answer -just like the homeowners who ask me. NO!  But why?  Why should you get a building permit.

It Will Cost You

Building without a permit will cost you.  I am not talking about getting caught – though you most likely will get caught.  It will cost you when you sell your home.  When you sell your house, your realtor will do a building permit search.  They are looking for unpermitted work.  They do not want to get caught by another realtor describing a property that is not legal.  If the assessor’s office and building department says you have a 3 bedroom/2 bath house you better have a 3 bedroom / 2 bath house.  Any rooms not listed on the building department records will be deemed unpermitted and illegal.  Your sales price will be less.

You Will Get Caught

The odds are not in your favor with unpermitted work.  It is not building officials that will most likely catch you – its your neighbors.  Yes your nosy neighbor who knows everything that is going on in the neighborhood.  When the 1st load of wood drops in your driveway, they will be on the phone asking about your permit.  When they hear you don’t have one, they will let the building department know you are working without a permit.  Busted!  In my neck of the woods, the fine for working without a permit is submit plans for permit and pay 10x the normal permit fees.

Substandard Work

Why is your neighbor turning you in?  Maybe for that practical joke you pulled on them last year; but it also could be that they have seen other unpermitted work done in the neighborhood and the results hurt everyones property value.  I have heard potential clients try to tell me that they can save time and money by not getting a permit.  That may be, but I won’t work like that and most architect’s won’t.  So the potential client hires someone who may not be licensed or experienced.  No license means no liability for them and more on you Mr. Homeowner and no experience means potential danger or missed design opportunities.

The substandard architect or designer leads to a less experienced contractor.  Because I don’t know very many contractors that would work on a project that is not permitted.  It exposes them to more liability than normal.  So the potential client hires a substandard contractor who is not licensed because they “…can save the homeowner money.”  Now you have an unlicensed architect and unlicensed contractor.  That is double barrel trouble.  The outcome is less then stellar work, if finished at all, which will bring down property values for everyone in the neighbor hood.

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