Ah the excitement – a new building project or renovation is just about ready to start and you can already picture the beautiful results. You’ve checked and re-checked the plans and you’re ready, right? So what about a building permit?
By law, most renovations require a building permit, especially if your plans include major changes to an existing structure or the construction of a new one. While many homeowners and contractors down-play the importance of acquiring the proper building permits, you can be ordered to stop work or remove finished work if your project is unexpectedly inspected.
The simple solution to avoid headaches, delays and possibly fines: get a building permit before you start.
Why Bother With a Permit?
It may seem like a daunting prospect to get a permit, after all there are forms to fill out, drawings to be done and a fee to be paid. But the permit process can also help you avoid design errors and ensure that any work done by the contractor is up to code. Many disreputable contractors will try to skip the permit process under the guise of saving the homeowner some money. By doing so, they’re also avoiding inspection of their work which can leave you with an expensive mess.
Many homeowners assume that the contractor will get a permit if it’s required; after all, they’re the “experts”. As the owner of the property, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the project is adequately permitted. Most municipalities have information about building permits right on their website, so even if the contractor offers to obtain permits as part of their services, it’s best to check for yourself to see what might be required.
Permits are more than just paperwork; they protect homeowners. How? Firstly, permits ensure that any work that has been planned meets the applicable building codes and is structurally sound. Secondly, permits ensure that any municipal by-laws have been respected. Additionally, the resulting work is more likely to be insured and finally, when the property is sold, many buyers are reassured knowing that work completed was done by a reputable contractor and meets all code requirements.