by Tom Reilly, Principal/CEO, RENOVATIONS
“I just want to move the sink. Why do I need to pay for a permit to do that?”
Well, the short answer is, maybe you do, and maybe you don’t. If your project requires the reinstallation of plumbing piping, electrical wiring, window replacement or any structural work of any kind, you need a permit.
If you are doing a simple remove and replace of anything except your roof, you may not have to obtain a permit.
Local building departments were established as a means of protecting the consumer from shoddy workmanship, inferior materials and incomplete scopes of work that can negatively affect the “health, safety and welfare” of the consuming public.
Too often, we hear remodeling horror stories where an unsuspecting consumer is left with shoddy workmanship. Instead of a happy ending, heartbreak is the closing emotion. Often the customer truly “just didn’t know.”
Your contractor is the one who typically obtains a construction permit. He or she also organizes the many inspections required by the building department.
Obtaining a permit typically requires a drawing depicting the work, materials to be used, locations in the home where the work will occur and sufficient supporting documentation about the existing conditions.
Building departments will also want to see an accurate plot plan depicting the existing utilities, general drainage, access, existing building and its relationship to the property lines and setbacks, as well as the location on the property where the new work will be done.
Often, if the footprint of the building is not changing, this information can be obtained without a survey. If you have existing drawings of your residence, that is immensely helpful.
The permit is to protect you. Again, if you move it, open it, add to it or even close it up, you probably need a permit.
You can always call your local building department and ask. They really don’t bite.