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When Do You Need a Building Permit

July 10th, 2010 · No Comments

So you are thinking about finishing that basement and actually using some of that exercise equipment that is doubling as a laundry line right now. Maybe you want to have a billiard room instead of a Christmas ornament depot. Maybe it isn’t the basement your thinking of finishing maybe it is that garage carport thing you want to turn into another bedroom. Hey it’s only storing a motorcycle you haven’t ridden in three years anyway. Whatever the reason you are thinking about finishing an unfinished area of your house the question always becomes do I need a building permit for that? Usually the answer that question is usually yes with a capital Y. Let me see if I can explain.
As a home inspector in Charlotte NC for over 15 year I have seen my share of unpermitted additions and rooms being finished. The dead giveaway that it wasn’t permitted is that the space has been added but the HVAC is still the same size as before. Sadly I have seen people try to get these permitted later only to find the code inspector had them strip of the drywall so he could see the plumbing and the electrical wiring. This is sad position to be in.
You might say well why even bother with a permit. First of all if there is a leak or fire insurance might well deny your claim if there is an unpermitted addition. Also you might have trouble selling your house with an unpermitted addition. It is the law. It is also possible that the county could file a lien on you for back property taxes for under reporting square footage. So when is a permit needed.
1. Any work on your house over $5000
2. The addition, replacement or repair of load bearing members or structures.
3. The extension, alteration, or installation of any plumbing system.
4. The alteration, extension, or installation of any heating or cooling system.
5. The use of material not included in the code
6. The addition of roofing, excluding replacement of like grade of fire resistant roofing.
No you may get a contractor who tells you don’t need a permit. He may say you will only wind up paying higher property taxes. The reality is that he might not even be licensed, bonded, or insured. He doesn’t want somebody checking up on him and he maybe planning to take some shortcuts. If you have a contractor spewing some garbage like that, don’t walk, run away from him. Remember that you as the property owner will be ultimately responsible for these repairs and the contractor will have been paid and long gone.
So go ahead get that solo flex dusted off and finish that basement or garage but remember to get a permit. If you use a contractor make sure he is licensed, ensured and bonded. Make sure he pulls and closes all necessary permits. Many property permits can be checked online these days. If you have any permit or home inspection questions please visit our website at Charlotte NC Home Inspector and Ask the Charlotte Inspector.

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Tags: Home Improvement · Home Maintenance · New Construction Inspection · Pre-Marketing Inspection · Preparing Your Home for the Inspection

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