You Don’t Need Building Permits
“I don’t need permits. They’re just another way the city lines its coffers…it’s an unnecessary expense.”
Is this true? Permits are required by law. They regulate construction to insure work is compliant with state and local safety and building codes so homeowners are protected. It’s your contractor’s responsibility to know what permits are needed for your project. To get them, contractors provide their license, proof of insurance, a description of the work to be done at your home and building plans.
With permits come inspections intended to confirm safety. If your plumbing, electrical, mechanical or structural work is not done correctly, you and your family are at risk. Any homeowner who has ever lived through fire, water, earthquake or other damage to their home, understands the importance of safe building practices.
“I can just as easily stand at the Planning Department counter and pay for my own permits and save the dollars he would have charged me to get them.”
Who is the best person to get the permit and why?
The person whose name is registered on the permit is the person responsible for poor workmanship and failure to finish the job. That person also assumes financial risk for any worker injuries that occur on the project. They are ultimately responsible for the job, including mandated “re-dos” (resulting from code non-compliance.) Unless you are doing the job entirely by yourself, it is best to have your contractor(s) apply for the permits.
Your contractor should never suggest registering the permit in your name as an Owner Builder if they will be supervising the work and bringing their employees or sub-contractors to your work site.
The Contractors State License Board warns, “sometimes the consultant or contractor is someone who has had his or her license suspended or revoked, is not qualified to get a license, or couldn’t pass the criminal background check needed to get a license.”
What are the risks of not getting proper permits?
Small violations may go unnoticed by busy building departments. For other construction, remodels and improvements, the consequences of not getting proper permits can be financially devastating.
Local building officials have the legal authority to require permits and impose penalties on the property owner and contractor for non-compliant construction, remodeling and home improvement projects. Fines can be imposed and depending on the current codes, may require the existing structure or work to be torn down and rebuilt, which could result in huge costs to the homeowner.
To learn if your project requires a permit, simply call your local building and safety or planning department.