Good on Paper

There’s so much to consider when doing construction or renovating your home, from picking the right contractor and the best materials to managing costs and making design decisions. But don’t forget one very important detail: building permits.

Whether you need to obtain one depends on your locality and the type of work you you’d like to do to your home, but in many cases, you risks fines, penalties or additional construction costs if you don’t get one. Selling your home might also be more difficult if a building official determines you remodeled without a permit and demands you bring it up to code.

How do you know if you need a permit for your project? Before beginning a project, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will my remodeling change the footprint of the house?
  • Will I have to move a load-bearing wall?
  • Will the roofline be altered?
  • Will any new doors or windows be constructed?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, a building permit will likely be required. Other aesthetic projects, such as installing new flooring, replacing sink hardware or countertops, or replacing windows, but not altering the structure, don’t generally require one. If you are uncertain or require more information, call your local permit office; someone there should be able to help you assess your project and determine if you’ll need a permit.

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