Building a new house or adding an addition to a current home requires permits. These permits ensure that the construction being completed is done in an approved and safe way. To properly evaluate the proposed plan, the city may take many months to issue a permit. This lengthy approval time can severely harm the progress on a renovation or complete build project. Fortunately, there are ways to speed up the building permits process.
Use a licensed contractor to apply for the permit
Generally speaking, when the person applying for the permit is a licensed contractor who has pulled previous permits, the process is quicker. Licenses contractors also tend to have permit expediters, or connections within the city. These permit expediters can make it so your permit application is pushed ahead of the line. In many cases, there are just too many permit applications to keep up and yours may get skipped over or missed altogether.
Have your payment method ready
A permit can cost less than $100 and up to $1,000 or more, depending on the locality and the size, scope, value, and type of work to be completed. However, not knowing what your permit will cost or having the payment ready can slow down the permit process. It is best to send a blank check with the contractor to pull the permit or have the contractor cover the fee and then later pass on the costs to you. If building permit expediting is important to you, it is necessary to have your payment ready.
Understand the rules and regulations of the construction project
The more legitimate that the project is, meaning how closely it follows the states rules and guidelines can also speed up the permit process. Residential building permits are usually based on the specific type of job and the details of that job. Each project is regulated with a set of guideline codes. I Codes (International Codes) and the International Code Council (ICC) was founded in 1994 by the three regionally based model code organizations, the Building Officials and Code Administrators International (BOCA), the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) and the Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. (SBCCI). Follow these specific boards and the regulations that they have set for each type of residential project.
Know state and city specific regulations
In addition to the rules and regulations set by the different boards, there are specific state and city regulations as well. For example, in Chicago, if an existing residential building contains three or fewer dwelling units, and does not exceed three stores in height, and is not a mixed occupancy building, a permit shall not be required for any work involving minor repairs. However, if you are not sure if a permit is required or not, it is usually best to apply for one anyways.
The implications of skipping a permit
Some contractors or DIY homeowners may choose to skip the permit altogether. This can be a very costly mistake. Skipping a permit could result in you having to tear down the entire project. When it comes time to sell the house, the added part of the house may not be allowed to be counted in your homes assets. It is usually best to wait for the permit to be approved or to use permit expediters before beginning any construction project. Permit expediters can allow you to legally start your project earlier.
Many homeowners are not aware that permits are needed for a variety of home remodeling jobs. This is especially true if you are building a home or addition from scratch. You can speed up the lengthy permit application process by having your contractor apply for it, following all state, city, and board requirements, and having your payment method ready. Never skip the permit, as it could make the entire job worthless.