JACKSONVILLE, Fla – What could possibly go wrong with work not done to code? Sometimes, nothing. But sometimes homeowners may encounter several issues when work isn't properly permitted such as leaks, electrical shorts that become fire hazards and windows too small to crawl through in the event of a blaze.
Why is a permit important?
Performing home improvements without acquiring a building permit can have serious consequences that can cost you a lot of time and money.
Contractors failing to pull permits to meet residential code requirements could lead to violations.
The pitfalls of not pulling a permit:
- Fines & penalties: In the off chance that code enforcement authorities flag these violations, homeowners can face fines and penalties that far exceed the cost of permits not pulled, and the city may require contractors or DIYers to tear out work, such as drywall, and do it over.
- Will you be covered? Not all code violations come back to bite the homeowner in the form of shoddy work that needs repair or city fines. But experts say if, for example, a homeowner does electrical work without proper permitting and problems down the road spark a fire, a homeowner's policy may not pay for damages.
Angie's List Tips: Permits
- What projects require a permit? Although the requirement for a permit varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, most laws require that you not build, move, significantly alter or add to a building without receiving a permit issued by local code enforcement officials. If you're doing the work yourself or not sure whether contract work has been inspected, experts advise calling your municipality's code enforcement authority to schedule a follow-up inspection.
- Where to look: Not sure if that job you're DIYing requires a permit, or want to double-check for a contracted job? To check local permitting requirements, contact your city's code enforcement department or your county if you live in a rural area. You can also typically check online, such as at your city's code enforcement Web page, for a list of project types that require a permit in your area.
- How much is a permit? For a small project, such as installing a new toilet, a plumbing permit may run in the $100 range or less, while for an addition, such as adding a bedroom onto a home, a building permit may run more than $1,000. Some municipalities offer fee calculators online. Ask the contractor if that cost is included in the contract?
- Red flags: In many cases, a remodeling contractor must first be properly licensed with a municipality before they can obtain a building permit, which adds an extra layer of consumer protection to your next home remodeling project. If they ask you to pull your own permits, that could be a red flag the contractor isn't insured or doesn't have the required license to do the work. Don't take a contractors word on it. Do your own research. Question any contractor who remodels without pulling a permit.
- Can I get a copy? Request copies of all permits issued for your project. A contractor that doesn't possess the proper licenses, bonds, and permits might be unqualified to work on your home.
- Buying a new home: If you're buying or building a home, insist on a thorough inspection before finalizing the purchase or moving in, and secure paperwork on previous renovations. The seller must provide full disclosure when selling a home. Ask what remodeling has been done and the permits that were pulled.
Florida building permit information where you live:
- Alachua County
- Baker County
- Bradford County
- Clay County
- Columbia County
- Duval County
- Flagler County
- Putnam County
- Nassau County
- St. Johns County
Georgia building permit information where you live: