Building Permits 101: The Basics

Obtaining a building permit

When you’re about to begin a residential renovation project of any kind, there are a lot of issues to take into consideration. Even if you’re just remodeling one room, you have to decide which local contractor you want to oversee the job, determine exactly what changes you are going to make to the space, and create a budget that won’t bankrupt your household. Then, if you find out building permits are going to be necessary, things can become even more complicated.

Fortunately, building permits don’t have to be scary and overwhelming. If you understand what they are and why they exist, they become significantly more manageable. As you read this guide, you will learn the basics of building permits. By the time you reach the end, you should be better able to navigate getting the permits you need to make the renovations you’re interested in.

When do homeowners need permits?

As a general rule, building permits are required for projects that will add square footage to your home, change your home structurally, such as adding a deck or dramatically alter the layout of your home, like removing numerous walls and putting in headers. To paint rooms or make other cosmetic changes, you shouldn’t need a building permit. If you have any questions, however, don’t hesitate to contact your City Hall, as different municipalities in North Carolina and South Carolina have various regulations regarding residential construction projects.

How do I file for a permit?

When the time comes to submit the application for your permit, the first thing you need to do is make sure you and your contractor very specifically outline everything you will be doing. This way, you won’t run the risk of being cited later. Once your paperwork is complete, and any supporting documentation has been obtained, you will submit everything to your local building department. It bears noting that in the event, your neighborhood has a homeowners’ association, you will probably also have to get approval from its governing body.

Where do building code requirements come from?

This is a great question, and the answer can differ from one Carolina municipality to another. However, as a general rule, any construction you do on your home must meet the standards set forth in the International Building Code, or IBC, which is used as a baseline nationwide in the United States.

Any reputable contractor or architect should be knowledgeable about the IBC, which means your plans out to pass muster with your local building department with no trouble. If, though, any issues do arise, you will simply have to make alterations to your construction blueprints to make sure all of the necessary permits can be granted.

Furthermore, in some communities throughout the Carolinas and the rest of the country, green building codes are being instated. These dictate that any new additions or new homes meet certain energy efficiency and carbon footprint requirements. Your town may or may not have green building codes yet, but it’s something you need to look into.

Will there be an inspection?

The short answer to this question is, “Yes.” A representative of your local building department will come to assess your project once it is completed. If any issues are noted, your contractor may have to make changes to ensure all necessary codes are met. If, however, you are working with a trustworthy professional, the odds of there being any problems are slim to none.

If you’re planning to do construction on your house in the near future, the team at Hatch Homes looks forward to hearing from you. Our skilled crew will make sure you don’t have to worry about whether or not your project meets building codes; we assure you it will. We take pride in impressing our clients with our professionalism and work ethic and hope to meet you soon!

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