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Understanding Building Permits

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As you’re planning a home remodeling project, interviewing contractors and choosing materials will take center stage. But there’s another very important piece of this puzzle that should never be overlooked. Have you investigated the necessary building permits in your county or municipality? And does your contractor seem familiar with, and knowledgeable about, the different permits you will need?

Some of the common permit types are listed below. Keep in mind that you might need several of them for some more complicated projects.

Structural building permit. You will need a structural building permit if you’re planning an addition onto your home, and for some other projects. Seeking this permit will help to ensure that your building methods adhere to current safety codes.

Electrical permit. If your remodeling project involves running new wiring or changing existing electrical wiring, it is likely that you need a permit to perform this work. Check on this before getting started, so that you don’t end up with a beautiful new addition without lights or outlets!

Plumbing permit. For most kitchen and bathroom remodels, along with anything else that involves plumbing, you will need to seek a plumbing permit. Make sure your plumbing work is performed to current standards, or you could end up with a big mess on your hands later.

Gas permit. Working with gas lines can be dangerous, so most places require a permit for this type of remodeling.

Other special permits. Different areas impose different permit standards for certain types of work. Contact your local permit office regarding your plans before you start work, to make sure everything is in order. Otherwise, you risk being shut down right in the middle of a home remodel.

An experienced, licensed contractor will already anticipate the types of permits you will need, and many will handle this issue for you. During your initial interview, discuss the issue of permits to ensure that the contractor you choose will be performing the work safely and legally.