To permit or not to permit?

I regularly get approached to perform work on houses where the owner requests that the work not be permitted. I have heard things like, "it doesn't matter", or "I don't care about permitting", or "I don't want to pay the extra money for permits", or "it's just a deck". The appeal to not permitting a project is that it theoretically costs less and it is less hassle. A permit can take time and money, and a permitted job even adds to your property tax in most cases. The other side of the story is that not permitting a project that requires a permit is illegal. As a contractor I am obliged to permit jobs that require permitting and by not following guidelines I am vulnerable to fines and sanctions. More importantly non permitted work does not add value to your home; in some cases it actually devalues the home. You have essentially wasted the money you have invested in the property. Also, if you want to sell the house you may have to "bring it up to code" and this could cost significant time and money. Inspectors have been known to require that the previous unpermitted work be removed, not just wasting the original investment but costing additional money to absolutely no result. The reality is that many home owners are faced with this dilemma. Some of them have pushy "contractors" insisting that the work be done without a permit, usually because they are unlicensed. My advice is always get a permit when necessary. A permit guarantees that at the very least your work will be done to the minimum standards required by your jurisdiction. It also guarantees that your contractor is at least licensed to work in your area. If you are in doubt call your local building inspectors. They are knowledgeable and helpful and they will be able to answer your permitting questions. Further, do a little homework, you can usually find on the internet the information regarding what needs to be permitted and what does not.
This entry was posted in Best practice, Contractor Tips, Project Tips.

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