Do I Need a Building Permit?

A building permit basically ensures that your new construction is going through the proper channels in regards to building codes and construction guidelines.  This will normally require some sort of plan review by a city official, a building permit application, project description, permit fee’s and inspections by a building inspector.  I know that this  can all sound like a big headache, especially if you are doing even the smallest remodeling job, but trust me, it is worth it.  By obtaining a building permit, the city will make sure that your new construction project will meet minimum construction safety and building codes.  Imagine that you decide NOT to get a building permit and you are adding a laundry room to your house.   How are you going to know what kind of foundation the new laundry room will sit on and if it was designed properly.  Is is structurally sound?  How will you know that the new wiring will be done properly and up to building code?  Depending on where you live and what the laws and regulations are for your area, you could be severely fined or made to tear down your new construction if the local government deems it necessary.  If  a contractor tells you that a building permit is not required, I would use caution.  If you are updating counter tops or painting, you probably don’t need a building permit, but if you are knocking down walls, adding square footage or doing any kind of electrical or plumbing work, then you probably need a permit.  A simple call or visit to your local city government can answer this question for you. In the City of San Antonio, a building permit is required if you are building more than 100 sq ft or moving walls or doors. Homeowners can obtain a home repair permit, plumbing and mechanical permit to perform repairs or replace fixtures in a single family home. Electrical repairs must be performed by a licensed electrical contractor.

I have seen my share of problems in construction business and a lot of times, it happens when someone doesn’t get a building permit.  I get calls all the time from a homeowner that either got taken advantage of by  a contractor that did not pull a permit or the contractor did a terrible job and it needs to be done right.  If you hire someone that works out of the back of a pick up truck, you are going to get what you pay for.  Do they have insurance?  Are they licensed with the City of San Antonio? By getting a building permit, you will sleep better at night knowing that your home remodeling project is being handled in the most professional manner possible.  Anyone who pulls a building permit is required to be licensed with the City of San Antonio, with exception of a homeowner.  A homeowner call pull a permit themselves and then subcontract the work to the different trades.  Choosing the right contractor is the key to ensuring that your remodeling project is done right.”  Danny Garcia, owner of Rhino Design Build in San Antonio, Texas.

Why is getting a building permit important?

If you sell your house, you might be legally obligated to disclose that you have remodeled without a permit, and the buyer could demand that you bring work up to code.  Being able to show that you went through the proper channels  for your home remodel can be very important when it comes time to sell your home.  This is all the more reason to make sure that a building permit is issued for each remodeling project.


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