Building Permits 101: Everything You Need to Know

March 16, 2017 (Published by )

permit helpIf you’re planning on building a home or doing a renovation on your property, you’re going to need permit help. After all, more than 98% of all privately-owned residential buildings are built in permit-issuing locations. But even though they’re a necessity, residential building permits are anything but straight-forward. Because these permits can be so complicated, many homeowners will choose to hire permit expediters to make sure everything is in order and that the process goes quickly and smoothly.

Before you decide whether you need permit help from an expediter, we’ll go over some frequently asked questions regarding building permits. When you have a better idea about what the process entails, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about your permitting needs.

What does getting a permit involve?

There are two main components of obtaining a permit. The first involves the plans for your renovation or build. In this part, you’ll need to apply for the permit, have your plans reviews and approved, and purchase the actual permit. The second part comes in during and/or after construction, when everything gets inspected. Depending on how expansive your project is, you may require inspections throughout the process (which will need to be completed before moving on). Once your permit gets its final inspection approval at the end of the project, the process is complete.

Why do I need a permit?

The short answer: because the law requires you to do so. But if that isn’t enough incentive, you should know that a permit will make sure your family and home are safe. In order to pass inspection, work needs to meet certain requirements (or codes). If you don’t get a permit and inspections, the work done on your home could result in structural damage or devastating conditions like fires and floods. Plus, if the work isn’t done correctly the first time, you’re just going to end up spending more later to fix it and do it the right way. When it comes down to it, getting a permit is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your investment.

How much do permits cost?

The cost of a permit will depend on the project itself. Essentially, permit cost is determined by the fair market value of what a licensed contractor would charge to complete it. Choosing to DIY won’t lower the cost of your permit, either. There are fee estimators that you can use to predict how much your permit might cost, but your expediter can also give you a good idea of how much it’ll be.

How long does getting a permit take?

Again, it does depend on the project, as well as the zoning. Some permits may be issued when you drop them off, but many will require further examination. This process can be tedious and requires organization and patience, which is why so many people choose to get permit help from an expediter.

For how long will the permit be valid?

This likely depends on your location, but in many cases, there’s a 180-day window for you to apply for a permit or for you to build. If that time passes without any application activity or without getting an inspection, the application or permit may expire. However, you can usually request an extension in both cases.

If you’re taking on a project and don’t know where to start with your residential building permits, Scout Services can provide you with the permit help you need. For more information, get in touch with us today!