Perhaps one of the big questions you will have as you contemplate a basement project is “should I get a building permit?” This article will help you decide what you should do for your particular situation.
A building permit is a document issued by a city or county planning department to insure changes to structures are completed according to established building code and to regulate the safety and purpose of buildings. For example, someone may want to convert a portion of their basement into a business office. Even if they were not doing any major renovation, they would need a permit because doing business from home might change the designation of the property from residential to commercial use.
Let’s consider some basement projects to determine when it would warrant getting a building permit. Of course every city and county is different, but there are common projects that would indicate that you should get a permit. If you wanted to change your PVC plumbing to copper, add a bathroom, install another water heater, or build out a new section of your basement, you will certainly need a building permit. IECC
You should get a building permit if you plan on using a contractor or have major demolition, renovation, construction, augmentation, or other changes in the base structure of the house.
However, if you are repainting, installing new carpet, adding insulation, putting in cabinets, or installing a water filter, you would not need a building permit. This is because these projects aren’t significantly changing the use of your building or its base structure, and they have a low chance of creating unsafe conditions.
Obtaining a building permit requires several stages in the process. First, you submit plans or blueprints if you had some made, of what you intend to do. Then a city or county planner must approve the idea and plans. Once you have received their approval you can begin the work. At certain points in the project you will need to call for inspections and the city or county will send someone to check and approve what you have done so far. Be sure to find out at the time your plans are approved when they want inspectors to visit your job. When your project is complete, another inspector will come and give a final approval.