Building Permits: Do I Need One?

Even if I am building a new deck, do we really need to get a permit and isn’t getting one a nuisance that costs more money, adding more time to the project?

If you own or have owned real estate, you may have asked these questions. Most likely, the answer is: Yes, you need a building permit and no, it doesn’t have to be a nuisance if you give yourself enough time and ask the proper questions.

Getting caught without a permit can result to much higher costs and substantial delays for any home improvement project. It can carry fines and deliver delays much longer than allocating a few days for on-site inspections. The fees and time required to secure a permit is just a small price to pay compared to the consequences of not getting it.

The building permit process is not meant to give you headache for being a property owner. Building permits are a way for local governments to enforce their building codes, ensuring all buildings meet minimum safety and structural standards—all of which will help you, the homeowner, preserve the value of your home. These codes are being updated every few years, as new building methods and materials are introduced and applied. Municipalities invest a lot of money and time in continuing education for their inspectors. This is a service you should be taking advantage of as a homeowner as it’s in place to protect, not harm homeowners.

As a homeowner today, you may feel that you should be allowed to do whatever project you want to on your property, no permits needed, but what happens when it’s time to sell your house? The next person should have some peace of mind that the work completed was done according to local building codes. And what about the bank or the mortgage provider that owns the house? If you have a mortgage, you most likely already signed somewhere in your mortgage documents that you are to obtain building permits for any work that requires them. Acquiring building permits is more than just your responsibility as a homeowner, but also your responsibility as a law-abiding citizen.

To some homeowners, especially first-time homeowners, building permits can be overwhelming and confusing. Many homeowners are aware that permits are needed for larger projects, such as additions, but uncertain about the smaller projects, like roof and siding replacement.

While some projects clearly require permits: additions, removal of structural walls and full kitchen renovations being examples, other areas fall in a gray area. For example, a deck may not need a permit if it’s less than 30 inches from the ground, not attached to the house, and less than 200 square feet. Not only can the requirements be gray, but they are constantly changing as well.

When considering a project, note that each municipality will have their own guidelines and processes to follow. Even if you are just relocating to the town next door, the process may be different from what you’ve experienced in the past so it’s always best to check government websites or call your local building department to confirm if a permit is required for any type of work you plan on doing.


Trietta | Real Estate, Contracting & Real Estate Investment CT

Homeownership involves more than the short time periods when you build, buy, sell, or renovate. Homeownership is a huge investment that involves a long-term commitment and long-term attention. Over the years, the community of real estate professionals at Trietta have helped clients secure the right home, preserve value, add value, and adapt the home to fit their preferences and lifestyle.

If you have question please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 203.246.2782 or email us.

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