Building Permits For Home Additions
It seems at times that building on to your house or simply remodeling a room is only a matter of labor and cleanup. I’m sure many homeowners wish it were that simple. But the truth is that regardless of what you are building, your local building department must be taken into account because there will be building permits to obtain. Failure to do so can result in much wasted money and energy.
The local building department must put their two senses in before you can proceed with your plans. For this reason it is crucial that you add to your schedule the necessary time needed for approvals, processing, re-drawing of plans and re-working the changes required to meet code. There are building codes for each step of construction. This includes electrical work, faming, plumbing and much more. Furthermore, the codes vary from city to county and individual inspectors within single departments also share differing interpretations of codes.
It is extremely important to understand the time and steps required to take a project from plans through approval. This knowledge can help you decide how best to proceed with your project. You will need to know how to get a building permit and what questions to ask the building permit department. Below are some helpful tips to help you along the way.
Getting a Building Permit: There are two ways to go about doing this. First of all, you can hire a general contractor who is familiar with the process and have him/her do the dirty work. Or, if you feel more comfortable taking care of it yourself then you can visit the building department and discuss your project alone. You will need to ask which approvals will be needed and also come prepared with a list of questions to ask about your project. Having a check list of important questions reviewed before you draw your plans will save you money in the long run.
Important Questions: By far the most important question to ask is, “Which other departments must approve my project before the building department will look at it?” Failure to ask this question can result in major delays. You have to take into account all of the other departments, such as Redevelopment Agencies, Environmental Planning, Fire Districts, Transportation, and Water and Sewer. These departments may or may not need to review your project and it will take a great deal of time to have your plans pass through all of them.
Another important question involves building fees. Make sure to ask questions about the city or county fees required. School districts often get forgotten at this point, but it should be researched early on in the process. Also, be sure to pay it separately before a building permit is issued. Lastly, keep in mind that sizing breaks in the fee schedules can dramatically increase the cost of building fees.
The most important thing to remember during the planning process is that the time you put into the planning process will determine each succeeding step of the entire project. When you take the time to do a good job from the start, you end up saving yourself time and money and ultimately end up getting what you want.
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