What are Building Permits?

Building permits are official, government-issued sanctions that allow you to begin a construction or remodeling project. The primary function of building permits is to ensure that your project follows all of the local zoning and building codes. It’s important to check in with your municipal Department of Zoning before any project, as different counties and states have different zoning codes. These codes can include wall additions or removals, and even smaller instances such as installing a fence and landscaping, depending on your area of residence. Unless you’re undertaking a home project alone, a hired contractor can take care of permit applications for you. The permit process can be taxing and complicated, but it’s a process that ensures safe and dependable building standards.

The importance of Building Permits

Obtaining the necessary permits for a home renovation project can be a frustrating and confusing process. It can also be mandatory sometimes, depending on the nature and scale of your project. Every locality has specific building codes reflecting the problems expected to arise in that area, such as temperature issues, weather protection, and humidity. Overall, though, the protocol for which jobs do and do not require permits is relatively consistent. For instance, you probably won’t need a permit if you’re just installing countertops or painting. Any project that alters the structure of the building will require a permit, such as adding or removing a wall. It’s best to play it safe and check with your local permitting department about any requirements before beginning renovations. As dreary as this process might sound, there are a surprising number of benefits to obtaining a work permit.


Building permits are public record. There is a trail of documentation behind every permit. If you’re trying to sell your house, an interested party can request to see the permits and make sure everything was completed according to code. A problem-free and certified record of house renovations inspires confidence in the buyer. Your realtor can also market those renovations as add-ons. Decks, swimming pools, even just a remodeled interior can greatly increase the market value of a house.

  • Building permits can help save you money in the long run. Operating without a permit can result in serious penalties, halting your renovation process until the prerequisite permits have been obtained.

  • “Working without a permit” fines are oftentimes more expensive than the original fee. This setback would result in time wasted and extra money spent on supplies and labor.

  • Perhaps even worse is that completed parts of the structure might have to be disassembled and rebuilt according to building code standards. The opportunity cost and detrimental impact of operating without a permit are too high to take such a risk.


Building codes are not written to irk homeowners and stall renovations. Permits are intended to ensure safe construction practices. There’s a plethora of accidents waiting to happen if structures aren’t built up to code. Pipes might freeze and break, decks can collapse, and the heating unit may go out during a winter storm. Building permits are not guaranteed to prevent 100% of accidents. They can, however, minimize the chances of a situation occurring where you or your family might get hurt.

  • Permits can also protect you in legal and financial aspects. You might be vulnerable to litigation if an incident occurs on your property due to structural alterations without a permit.
  • If your liability insurance doesn’t cover accidents of that nature, you would be on the hook for all financial issues, including damages, repairs, and probably a large fee for constructing without a permit.

  • Obtaining a building permit before any renovation will make your home safer and provide you with a sense of ease.


Inspections are a standard part of renovating. A licensed, building inspector examines your construction to check that everything is up to standard. These inspections happen in phases depending on the nature of your project, safeguarding against problematic building methods. Inspectors are your friend and draw from a deep well of expertise. Many facets in the construction process usually end up hidden within the walls. An inspector’s job is to make sure that your contractor followed protocol, guaranteeing that adequate materials were used and that the structure is safe for inhabitants. This will keep your contractor honest, ensuring no corners were cut.

  • Venturing through the proper stations and departments provides you with insight into the physical aspects of your project as well. You’ll understand the internal components of your structure and can more adequately plan future additions and improvements. You’ll also be more familiar with the permit process. This will only speed up your renovations in the future and provide a standard of reliability for your contractors.

  • Illegal construction is not only dangerous, it’s downright irresponsible. Permits can be a huge hassle to acquire and may even seem redundant for certain projects, but they exist for a reason. They keep you and your structure safe, protecting you from mishaps, dishonestly, and insurance issues. They can add significant value to your house and help you plan future renovations.

  • As technology progresses, we discover better construction methods and safer design protocols. These advances help to protect you from internal issues and environmental dangers. Staying up to date on new building codes and permits is in your best interest. The knowledge that your home is safe and structurally sound provides you with a great peace of mind. If you’re considering any kind of renovation, the first thing you should do is find out if any permits are required. They’re an investment in your well being and your future.


We make sure all necessary permits are pulled in an expedited fashion when we begin approaching your project. Over the years we’ve cultivated a great relationship built on communication and trust with the Department of Building and Safety, who provides us with your permit.

The cost of your permit will be included in our estimate, but we will handle the heavy lifting from there, specifically obtaining and filling out the permit. We then post your permit on the project site to assure onlookers and inspectors that your project is being handled by a licensed contractor, and that it adheres to the correct construction protocols, according to city and state laws.

Obtaining a permit also provides you with an extra safeguard. Local city inspectors will come to us with the necessary corrections, thus ensuring optimal safety and energy efficient conditions for your home or project. The inspectors must first sign off on stages of the construction before we can move on to the next phase, making sure that we comply to their building standards.

Next – Developing your construction contract

Contact us for complementary in home consultation (818) 274-2624