Yes, most jurisdictions require building permits for all new construction. In some cases, agriculture buildings and structures on agricultural properties may be exempt from permitting or go through a less rigorous permitting process. Since every jurisdiction is different, the best thing to do is find out the rules and requirements in your area for your type of property.
Who is responsible for getting building permits?
The property owner is ultimately responsible for building with a permit. Some building erectors will handle that for you or will field any plan check requests. It is much easier if the erector and manufacturer are the same company as coordination between the engineers, planning department and erector is much easier. This is most desirable for the property owner since it only requires one point of contact. Ask if your building supplier can do this.
Why are building permits necessary?
Building permits exist for not only your safety but the public’s safety as well. It ensures that the building and foundation is built sufficiently strong to withstand acts of nature and neither collapse or blow away. Permits also ensure that the building is placed sufficiently away from property lines, roads, bodies of water and natural dangers. In many cases, it also helps the building and its contents to be more protected from fire. This enables the buildings to be insurable and the property they are on, resellable. Building without a permit could hurt the resale value and desirability of your property. You could also be forced to reengineer the building to meet proper building and safety codes. Another downside is that lenders and insurers may not approve your property. In some cases, unpermitted buildings may need to be moved or removed to ensure proper property and fire safety setbacks. Most of the time, you will be subject to heavy fines for building without a permit. You could also be forced to dismantle an improperly constructed building.
What are some things I may need in order to get a building permit?
The most basic permits usually require these key pieces of information:
- A site map of the property that precisely shows where the new building will be going to ensure it meets all setbacks.
- A soils test, such as an expansive index report will help determine the requirements for the foundation.
- For many structures a fire suppression plan will be needed and will be designed by a fire protection professional.
- For larger projects or ones where there will need to be grading or other site preparation, civil engineering, grading plans and drainage plans can also be required.
- In certain areas, archeological, environmental reviews may also need to be done as part of the permitting process.
Who ya gonna call?
Go online or call your local building and planning department. Be prepared with your APN or property address. Cities and counties are different jurisdictions and have different requirements and processes so ask whether you live in an incorporated area or not. Some jurisdictions will help you in person or over the phone while others prefer appointments or email. Learn all that you can and cannot do and what will be required in order to obtain a permit before you do anything else. Know what to expect so you are not surprised down the line and so you do not waste your time or money on something that may not make sense to build. Following the rules by getting a building permit will ensure you have a safe and quality building that will last a lifetime.