Make Sure You Have the Necessary Permits When You Renovate- By: Ravisankar Poduval
Renovation is quite a simple process while planning but complicated when it comes to execution. Of all the necessary details that are required for renovation work, one of the most important is the permit that allows you to carry out the work. Permits are normally a very important facet of the construction process and the same holds true for renovation as well. These permits are documents that allow the owner or the licensed contractor to carry the work of renovation. It also confirms the fact that the building has been built according to certain norms and that the building is safe for occupation. Such permits are required for any type of construction activity like demolition or construction, and renovation is no different. Most homeowners may not be familiar with building permits or even aware that they might need one for your renovation project.
Renovations are expected to meet certain basic requirements for health, safety and structural soundness as set out by the Building Code. This is because these codes are designed so as to ensure that all municipal requirements, such as zoning regulations and heritage building designations are met. In most cases, for small works, permits are not required. However, for making changes to the structure or systems of your home, including new additions, reconfiguration of space by moving or removing walls, new window and door openings and installation of fireplaces, these permits are certainly a must. Sometimes, electrical and plumbing permits have to be obtained separately.
There are lots of minor works which do not require permits. These include re-roofing, painting, re-siding, flooring and cabinet installation, and replacement of windows and doors, provided that the main structure is not altered. As a precaution make sure that you are in regular touch with your contractor or municipal office that issues permits, to ensure that you are thoroughly briefed about the actual requirement.
Most states have more or less the same procedure when it comes to applying for permits. The actual requirements depend on your municipality of residence and the type of work you are planning to do. For simple interior projects, a scale floor plan will often be adequate. For larger and more extensive projects involving additions, decks or major structural renovations, a full set of working drawings and a site survey may certainly be needed. Your municipality or permit office is the best judge to tell you what exactly you need. Even though as the homeowner, you are legally responsible for obtaining any building permit, your renovator can also look after this on your behalf. Your contract regards the work should clearly specify which permits are required and who will get them. You will also need to provide a letter of authorization before your renovator can apply for a permit on your behalf.
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