Who Needs a Permit?

Home Alterations / Modifications

Occasionally a homeowner will alter his or her home in some manner and disregard the necessary building permit. Sometimes the contractor they hire will, for one reason or another, fail to obtain the required building permit.

Actually, most work is regulated by the model building codes, which have been adopted by the State of Utah as well as your municipality. There are very few exceptions to the building permit requirements.

Reasons to Get a Permit

But why should I bother obtaining a building permit?

  • It is just another way for the government to take my money.
  • My neighbors never bought a building permit.
  • I know what I am doing.
  • My contractor has been in the business for 20 years.
  • The building inspector will make unreasonable demands, which will drive up the cost of my construction project.
  • There is no harm in what I am doing.
  • If I do get caught, then I'll pay their silly fee.

All of the above are common excuses used after people get caught. On the surface, most seem valid. But sometimes the end result is 100 times more expensive (or more tragic) than the rather inexpensive cost of a building permit. Let me try to illustrate the potential for problems.

What Do You Get For The Cost Of A Building Permit

  • Construction advice from the experts
  • Documentation and approvals for your records
  • Field inspections of the work in progress
  • Peace of mind
  • Plan review for fire, structural and health hazards
  • Site approval for your new structure

Contrary to the myths you may have heard, the permit process is usually simple and fast. Professionally licensed inspectors do more than regulate. They will answer your questions about your project.

Their thorough inspections should find any potential problems. In most cases, the inspector will give you a number of options for meeting code or solving construction problems.

Review Process

During the plan review process (prior to construction) he will probably show you ways to build for less. For everything from furnace replacements to additions, take advantage of your Building Inspection Department. It costs less in the long run.