Why You Should Pull a Building Permit

Can you see the building permit in my Living Room window? Yes, it is still there because technically I do not yet have my CO (Certificate of Occupancy). Now, we have lived in the house during the entire renovation so… I was indeed still “occupying” the premises. In other words, they cannot make you leave your home during a renovation but you cannot get final sign-off until all the subcontractors and general contractor have had their final inspections.

1. Yes, yes. I’m still waiting for my final plumbing inspection, but that hasn’t held me up from enjoying my new beautiful shower! (Don’t tell the CEO – Code Enforcement Officer). That said, I really like the Portsmouth, NH CEO. He is informative and fair. Here are some hints on working with a designer & CEO:

2. Before you start paying someone to design, get all the legal and logistical questions out of the way. It is not worth paying someone to design something that cannot be built due to code or structure. It is always advisable to meet the CEO on site to get input.

3. In New England and other parts of the country that have historic areas, we typically are updating old (really old, like 1760’s old) houses and none of these houses currently comply to code. The question is- how do we update the houses and improve existing conditions even though we cannot comply to current IRC code? Let them work with you on this.

Typically, cities have several departments that you need to contend with: planning, code enforcement and historic district commissions. Make sure you are clear onthe avenues that you need to take. Most good designers and contractors will steer you in the right direction.

Bottom line? Not pulling a permit could greatly interfere with your deed and ability to sell your house in the future. Gone are the days of building something while the city’s eyes are closed (there are drone cameras that create GIS maps). If you do work on your house without a permit, be ready to pay for that on closing day. Best to play nice, make a new friend and say “thank you!”

Here is a link to even more ideas…



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