That you are to build a home or make major changes to one, there’s a good chance you will need a building permit. The cost of a building permit varies depending on a number of factors and can significantly increase the overall cost of a project. Here is what you need to know.
How much does a building permit cost?
On average, building permits can range from $ 50 for small improvements to $ 2,000 or more for construction or major renovations. The cost depends on the location of the project and the project itself, so it can vary widely.
“Costs are everywhere,” says Mindy Jensen, real estate agent at Equity Colorado Real Estate, a seasoned pinball machine and community manager for BiggerPockets, a real estate investment website.
“I recently bought a permit to upgrade [an] 60 amp to 200 amp electrical circuit. It cost $ 700, ”Jensen recalls. “If I had just upgraded to 100 amps it would have cost $ 100.”
For exact costs, Jensen recommends contacting your city’s construction department in advance and asking what the requirements are. If you are making an addition to the second floor, for example, you may need to show the plans to the building department and have them approved by a structural engineer.
“Every city is different, even within counties within a state,” Jensen explains.
Why are building permits necessary?
Don’t do it renovation error forgetting a building permit. Anytime you’re building a new home or making substantial alterations to it, the jurisdiction in which the property is located will likely require a permit. Permits allow your local authority to monitor changes to properties and provide some degree of consistency in new construction or upgrades so that homes meet a standard or similar code.
However, different jurisdictions have different requirements. Some won’t need a permit for projects like replacing kitchen cabinets, but if you need to open walls, there’s a good chance you will need a permit. It’s always best to check with your local permitting office before embarking on a project that requires major work, Jensen says.
Common types of permits
In general, the most common types of building permits are those related to opening a wall or building a new type of structure. According to Jensen, you will likely need a permit to:
- Some isolated structures (large discounts, guest rooms)
- Certain ancillary structures (bridges)
You usually don’t need to get a drywall permit, but it will be part of the process in many cases, Jensen points out.
For example, “you will need to install new drywall when you are done with the plumbing or electrical work,” Jensen explains. “You can also check with your city’s permit department to see if they have any general permits, like a basement finishing permit, which covers all the things you might need to do throughout the process. . “
How long does it take to get a permit?
Just like the cost, the length of time to obtain a building permit depends on the location and the project. For small projects, you can walk in and out of the permit office on the same day, Jensen says. For larger and more complex projects, it can take up to six months.
Additional approvals can also cause delays. If you’re planning to add a second story to your home or build an annex, for example, you might need an environmental scan or submit plans made by an architect.
Just having a license isn’t the end of the process either. You will also be subject to inspection at various points. Using the drywall example, you will need an inspector to examine the plumbing or electrical work behind the wall before installing the drywall. The inspector will return once the project is complete and the permit will be closed once the final inspection is complete.
“You need final approval to close the permit. Leaving it open means you haven’t met the requirements, ”Jensen says, adding“ it’s not just about getting permission to make big changes; it’s about making sure the job won’t endanger the next person to buy the house.
Do I have to hire someone to withdraw a license?
It may be a good idea to hire someone else to get a building permit, although Jensen has never done so personally.
“There are cities where it’s difficult to get a permit and there are a lot of complicated steps,” Jensen explains. “Start by seeing how complicated the process is. Hiring someone who knows the system can help you get over this, and maybe even get your license faster. “
In general, you can expect to pay a permit shipper around $ 60 per hour, but there may be other fees or minimums to be met on top of that.
If you have a general contractor working with you on a large construction or renovation project, you may be able to factor the cost of your building permits into the overall cost of the project, with the contractor making sure that all permits appropriate are obtained.
What if the job is done without a permit?
There are usually no immediate consequences when you complete work without a building permit. The real problems tend to come later.
“If you don’t get a permit and something happens, your insurance might not cover the damage,” Jensen explains. “[Say] you are doing plumbing work, there is water leakage and damage. The insurance company checks to see if your upgrade has been approved. If not, they can reject the request.
Not having a permit for renovations you’ve done in the past can also affect the selling price of your home in the future, or even your possibility of selling it.
Remember, getting the permit is not enough; you must also have the final inspection to close it.
“If you don’t close the permits, you might have to do a lot of work to code them later,” Jensen explains. “A home inspector for sale may require you to spend a lot of money doing work that should have been done differently. “
In the end, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
“If you have to ask yourself whether you need a building permit, the answer is probably yes,” Jensen says. “Your construction department can tell you exactly what you need. “