Building Codes and Building Permits
Don’t Build Without a Building
Nearly every town has building
codes and building permit requirements for home
building and home remodeling. Building permits are
required for any remodeling project that involves
major changes, addition or major remodeling to your
home. Building permits are issued to ensure that
your remodeling project meets national and local
building codes which establish material standards
and structural requirements for your project.
In short, code and
permit requirements ensure that you as a DIY
homeowner or your contractor’s work is done
Building permits are required
by law and getting caught without them can result
in fines from the town, city or county where you
live. In addition, home construction and remodeling
work done without permits can cause problems if you
try to sell your house.
Most local building codes
follow the national codes, such as the National
Electrical Code, but are adapted to meet the
requirements of local conditions and state or town
legislation. Keep in mind that local codes always
supersede national codes. Always check with your
local building inspector (code officer) before
finalizing your plans.
Before issuing permits, your
local building department will require detailed
plans and your overall cost estimates for the
project. After the plan has been approved you will
be required to pay a small permit fee which is
based on the cost of the project. You’ll also learn
what inspections are required and when you should
call for inspections.
Once issued, a building permit
typically is good for 180 to 360 days, depending on
your location an extension can be obtained by
submitting a written request showing justifiable
cause for the delay in the project.
Here are some tips to help you
prepare for filing for a permit:
To obtain a permit
you must fill out an application form from your
local building inspector office that includes a
description of the project, the location address,
lot legal location, an estimate of the project cost
and completion date.
department will require construction plans or
drawings of your project that include floor and
inspector will examine the construction plans, and
stamp or send written notification of approval and
A set of the
approved documents is kept by the building
inspector and the authorization permit must be
posted on the property.
In most location,
separate permits are required for the electrical
and plumbing work. These permits are filed for by
the electrician and plumber.
All work will be
inspected by the building inspector to ensure
compliance with code requirements.
The project is
complete only after the local building inspector
makes a final inspection and gives approval of
See related DIY Building
Projects and Ideas