Some hands on homeowners may decide to tackle home improvement projects on their own. You can go to your local home improvement store, purchase the materials, and work during the evenings or weekends. You may not have any experience laying shingles, but the 15 minute tutorial at The Home Depot seemed pretty helpful. You are confident in your abilities and think this can be a learning experience.
However, you quickly find that this “learning” experience has spiraled into a project that you do not have the experience, skills, or knowledge to complete on your own. As the materials sit in your driveway and yard, you make an alarming discovery. You have been working for weeks without any type of building permit.
The rules and regulations regarding permits vary from state to state and even from county to county. Different counties require you to obtain a permit for one type of project while another may not. Permits are generally displayed in your window or on your front door. A good contractor knows how to cover all of these bases.
Take for example Montgomery county located in Maryland. According to the Montgomery County, Maryland Government website, a building permit is required for all new construction, addition, alterations, including decks, sheds, retaining walls, and fences in Montgomery County and municipalities, with the exceptions of the City of Rockville and the City of Gaithersburg.
This means if you are attempting home improvement projects in a town like Bethesda, you need a permit. You may be confused as to how to obtain the permit. There are also different rules and guidelines you will need to follow. You may need to submit a building plan along with site plans, water drainage plans, right of way applications, construction drawings, energy worksheets, and so on.
If you decide to work without a permit, you may risk facing fines. You may end up paying more than the permit even cost or have to tear the structure down while paying demolition costs. This can be timely and expensive.
If you aren’t caught during the process, you may run into problems when you consider selling you home. Your house was appraised years ago before the addition. If there are no permits verifying the addition, it may not be factored into the value of the house. You may have to add a disclosure stating that there is an addition that was built without permits. This can be a red flag to buyers that may think the addition is unsafe.
The purpose of a building permit is to ensure safety for your family. An inspector will routinely check in during construction and afterward to be sure the construction was done properly and is safe for use. While some residents do feel permits are a waste of time and money, they are a necessary part of most home improvement projects. Rather than risk wasting time and money, obtain the permits.
Consider hiring a licensed, insured contractor that will obtain all of the permits needed before construction begins. In areas like Bethesda or Silver Springs, Maryland, D.R. Hartman Construction (click here for site) will provide construction and architectural plans to the local county codes. They have the experience necessary to obtain the proper permits. The home improvement project that was once over your head can be completed by a general contractor that will take every step necessary to build you a safe home that follows all of your county’s requirements.