Building Permits - Explained
What is a Building Permit?
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What is a Building Permit?
Building permits refer to a legal authorization for construction of a building which the government or regulatory bodies grants. It generally means that no one should start any construction before getting approval from necessary construction bodies. Investors and economists take a keen interest in monthly reports on building permits. Construction brings about economic activities like employment. So, when investors look at the report, they will have a hint of the country's financial state in the future.
How Does a Building Permit Work?
The different types of building permits are indicators of either growth or stagnation in the economy. An increase in business building permits, for example, shows that the economy is going to grow. Also, an increase in warehouse building permits indicates the growth of businesses in the future years. The prices for obtaining business permits are not constant. Different cities have different pricing for obtaining a permit. The type of project you employ will also determine the price of your building permit. For instance, the cost of reconstructing an entire wall will not be the same as the cost of building the entire house.
The process of obtaining a building permit
Different states and countries have varying regulatory codes for constructions. However, all are set to ensure the buildings are safe for use by the public. The process of getting the permit involves the following steps:
- Step one: Completing a manual or online application for the permit.
- Step two: Preparing architectural and landscape drawings for the project. If the project is too big, you can go ahead and hire professional help to assist with the drawings. It will ensure that the building meets the construction codes.
- Step three: Setting up an appointment for the plan approval. The approval period is not specified, as it may be days, weeks or months, depending on the type of project. If the project plan requires making corrections and revisions, then it may take a longer time to be approved.
- Step four: Obtaining the permit after the government approves the plan.
- Step five: Scheduling inspections with regulatory bodies to ensure your construction is in line with the project plan. The inspection process is not a one-time thing. It is done throughout the construction process.
- Step six: Completing the entire construction and obtaining an overall approval from the government.
The projects that need a building permit
Generally, not all constructions require a building permit. Each city has its permit requirements. Your project will need a permit depending on the building regulations of your country. Take an example of Florida, where the construction permits focus on safety due to the heat, and humidity in the region. In regions that often get consumed by forest fires, the construction code may require the use of fireproof building materials. Areas that experience earthquakes require the use of materials that can withstand tectonic activities. Most projects requiring building permits are those that alter the overall structure of a building. You are likely in need of a permit in the following cases:
- Removal or addition of walls
- Changing of the piping system of the building
- Re-roofing of the building
- Converting the purpose of a room. For example, changing your garage into a living room, or
- When you want to demolish a part of the building
Some of the projects that don't need a building permit include:
- Addition of cabinets in the house
- Re-painting the building
- Building a pavement on your driveway
- Flooring the house
- Building a fence around your house
The person who arranges the acquisition of the permit
The construction of commercial or business buildings is a huge project that may require the hiring of a contractor. If that is the case, the contractor is required to obtain the building permit. In case of any problems in the future, the permit applicant will be the responsible party. Since the contractors are familiar with the inspectors, this may work in your favor. If the contractor is expensive and charges on an hourly basis, it will be safer for you to fill in the paperwork and submit it. The complexity of your construction should help you determine the best way to obtain a building permit.
The validity period of a building permit
All the building regulatory bodies have a time frame for the commencement of the construction after issuance of the permit. Nevertheless, it is common that the permit expires if the construction work does not start within 6 months. If the building is not complete one year after the issuance date, the permit will also expire. Expired permits can undergo the renewal process. However, the owners should acquire the permit close to the construction's starting time.
Consequences of not obtaining a permit
To truly know whether your project requires a building permit, it is safer to consult your government permit office. They will advise you accordingly. The process is usually overwhelming, but it is important to get it done. Doing this will help prevent future demolitions, or shutdowns in case your building does not meet the standards. In other cases, the government will charge you triple the number of permit fees if you fail to comply with the first time.
People do not often obtain building permits, and then go-ahead to construct their houses. The houses turn out alright without any arising problems. However, it is good to always obtain a permit before beginning any construction. It will help you build quality houses that meet the governments standards, meet the health and safety codes and help value your property accordingly. The buildings that do not meet the code of the city can be dangerous to both the owner and the occupants in case anything goes wrong.
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