Completing home remodeling projects is no easy task. It requires a team of people, each working together to execute.
One of the first steps needed? Pull a permit.
Most larger remodeling projects require you to get the project permitted by the city. Failing to do so could lead to penalties, so it’s always best to stay on the safe side.
But who pulls the permit? Is it the architect who draws up the plans since they understand the project?
And what is required for pulling a permit? That’s exactly what we cover below. Keep reading to understand the process for your next remodel.
Why Do You Need to Pull a Permit?
Yes, even though you might own the house, you still have to get large projects approved by the city’s planning department. Why?
The main reseason is to ensure safety for you, as the occupants, and for whoever may live in your house later on after you move.
As time has passed, technology and understanding have improved. Building safety codes have become much more specific and strict. This is because new practices and standards ensure the most safety.
What was considered safe 20 or 30 years ago may be considered outdated now. Plus, the permit process helps prevent low-quality work where ignorant homeowners or lazy builders may try to cut corners to save money.
But if walls aren’t constructed properly or electrical wiring isn’t installed up to code, it could be dangerous for families living in the home.
On top of that, there may be different requirements in different parts of the country. For example, hurricane-prone Florida may have different safety requirements than homes in the fire-risk areas of California.
Your city’s department will ensure your home is up to code to handle your local weather and conditions.
Another reason for the permitting process is energy efficiency. Municipalities are strained when it comes to energy use. Local governments across the country incentivize residents and businesses to upgrade their homes to be more energy-efficient.
Why? Because when everyone is consuming too much energy at the same time (like using the AC in the peak summer heat), it can cause the whole system to go down, which leads to power outages.
With that in mind, building codes and permit approvals will ensure that your remodel implements best practices to conserve energy. This ultimately helps you, as the homeowner, and helps the city move to a more sustainable future.
Are There Penalties for Not Pulling a Permit?
So is there a penalty for not pulling a permit? Actually, there can be quite a few penalties for skipping the permit and completing projects on your own.
If you skip the permit and the city finds out about your project, they may come in and require you to get the permit anyway and may charge double or triple the fee. Or you may be subject to other fines.
The penalty for not pulling a permit in Florida specifically is paying double the normal permit fee. Contractors who have received multiple fines may be required to pay triple or quadruple the normal fee. And your insurance company may not cover accidents that were caused by unpermitted work.
The city may force construction to cease, regardless of if the project is complete or not. They may also have work torn down or reversed to see if work is being done up to code. You will be responsible for all of these costs.
On top of that, it may complicate matters when you o to sell the home. During inspections and appraisals, if it’s discovered that work was completed without proper permits, it could drastically slow down or even cancel the escrow process with buyers.
Simply put, don’t complete a project without a permit and city approval.
Can an Architect Pull a Permit?
To apply for a building permit, you’ll first need a set of designs. On most occasions, you can’t walk into the city planning department and tell them what you’re going to do.
You’ll need to hire an architect or some other type of specialized designer to craft a set of plans that map out exactly what the project entails. The city will then be able to effectively examine the project’s scope and provide any feedback or changes necessary to obtain approval.
Getting these plans will be one of the first steps of your project. So can an architect pull the permit since they are designing the project?
No, only homeowners and licensed contractors can pull permits for building projects. As the homeowner, if you understand the process of getting approval and plan to manage the remodel yourself, you can pull your own permit.
It’s highly recommended that you hire an experienced contractor to manage the remodel. Pulling a permit is much easier when a contractor, who has done this many times, is responsible for obtaining approval.
How to Get a Permit and Complete a Project
Wondering how to pull a permit and get started with your project? It’s quite a process and will require a lot of time. Make sure to plan well in advance. The process also may vary by state and city.
In general, you’ll start by completing a permit application. After that, you’ll have your project designed by an architect or a qualified designer.
Once you have the plans, you can schedule a plan approval meeting with the city planner. Less extensive projects are often approved over-the-counter.
Once approved, you’ll receive the building permit, which you’ll affix to your home, usually in a front-facing window. During the project, the city may want to complete various inspections to ensure work is done properly.
For example, if constructing new walls, they may want to inspect the electrical inside the new wall before you finish it. Once the project is complete, you’ll get the final approval.
Save Time and Work With a Contractor
Whether or not you hire a contractor to manage the project for you, the project will likely take much longer than you hope for. It’s simply the cost of construction in a highly regulated society.
But if you do hire a contractor, you can save a lot of time and frustration when it’s time to pull a permit, get approval, and of course, complete the project.
Unless you are an experienced builder yourself, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. And if you are looking for further home advice, be sure to read more on our blog today.