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Do I Really Need A Building Permit?

Granted, obtaining a building permit takes time, money, and frequently patience and persistence. Nonetheless, before you decide one way or the other regarding whether to obtain a permit, it makes sense to know the reasoning behind the permitting process and what's at risk.

The building permitting process ensures that structures adhere to approved minimum standards or codes of construction. This process protects residents, guests, and future property owners from unsafe building practices. Your deck-building project may not seem complex enough to you to require a permit, especially if you live in an area that requires getting "bonded", submitting numerous plans, and paying a fee. Nevertheless, do not try to circumvent the permitting process. Save yourself from potential future trouble by obtaining a building permit before you begin work.

In some areas, the penalties for building without a permit can be quite steep. You may be required to tear apart the entire structure and pay a fine. At a minimum, if youíre caught without a permit, youíll be required to stop work until a permit is obtained. If itís a busy time of year, this may take weeks or months.

Also, donít assume that just because your project wonít be visible from the road that youíre in the clear. All it takes is one unhappy neighbor placing an anonymous phone call to bring trouble your way. Likewise, the salesperson at the lumberyard or the delivery guy may have a deal worked out with someone at the city or town hall.

Check Point Check Point - Obtaining a building permit can be a bit of a challenge to the do-it-yourself builder. If you'd like to learn more about the permitting process and the paperwork involved, hear tips from an expert on how to get along with your Building Inspector, and read about Building Codes and the types of building site considerations that will help to prevent a lot of extra work, consider purchasing a password. For a very small fee, you can get a password today and have immediate access to a truck load of comprehensive, money-saving information.

Even if you construct the deck or gazebo without incident, you still may get caught. If your house happens to be visited by an evaluator for tax assessment purposes, he/she may be able to see from their notes that a structure has been added or enlarged. If this happens, word may still get back to the building officials.

Furthermore, when it comes time to sell your house, it's not uncommon for future buyers to ask for building permits on all major additions and renovations. Not being able to provide the necessary paperwork will at the very least put you in the uncomfortable position of having to apply for a permit after-the-fact and most likely paying penalties. Worse yet, it could scare the buyers away.

Finally, some homeownerís insurance policies have exclusions on major work done without a permit. If someone has an accident, your claim may be denied. The bottom line is that probably none of this will ever happen but itís just not worth the risk. Plan ahead and make inquires with your local Building Inspector well before you intend on starting work.

The content under the "How-To" menu is a small sampling of all the material covered on BestDeckSite. For immediate access to in-depth information on obtaining a permit, the permitting process, a Building Code checklist, as well as, comprehensive coverage of all aspects of gazebo and deck building, get a password and log-in now.

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