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Permitted?

art plumbing ac and electric
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Welcome back my friends, glad you are here, and of course Happy Friday one and all!

In the world of utterly useless trivia, back in 1953 during the first 3D television broadcast, an episode of Space Patrol was shown on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV. I tried to find it on YouTube without much luck and I wonder if they used those cheesy blue and red glasses. Interesting that we have been trying 3D since then, and again, what about smell-o-vision – when are we getting that? I know these are the kind of things that keep me awake nights.

Okay, on to something a little more serious, and that is the building permit process. The first question is, when do you need to have a building permit? The technical answer is that you are supposed to pull a permit for anything you do in your home, although the reality is that permits traditionally only get pulled for bigger projects, or on items that if they are not done 100% correctly, pose a danger to the home or business. I know pulling a permit to change a hose bib sounds crazy, however, if a city wants to enforce the rule they are certainly well within their right to do so.

The process itself is relatively simple; most times depending on the city and the scope of work being performed it is a one page application. The more complex the project is, as with anything, the more complex the permit process becomes. It can involve engineers, plans, and drawings. One of the greatest challenges as a contractor when it comes to the permit process is that every city or building department has a slightly different process when it comes to permits. Some cities want different information than others, some are more difficult when it comes to actually getting the inspection, and so on.

The purpose of a permit is of course to protect everyone involved during the construction project. It protects you the homeowner in that you get an outside set of eyes looking at our work and telling you that it was performed correctly and that there are no safety issues. From the contractor side of the fence it protects us in that, if for some reason, you would choose not to pay for the repair, it allows us legally to pursue a lien on the property, and of course keeps us on top of our game when it comes to the quality of our work. Having a permit from a city entity also lets you know that we the contractor are in good standing with that city when it comes to licenses and insurance.

Ok, so we all agree that permits are an important part of the process when it comes to major home repairs, and the next question is how much? Remember earlier I told you that all the cities are different when it comes to permits, so it is when it comes to permit fees. The typical permit for a water heater or air conditioner can range from $150 – $250, again depending on the place. Larger construction projects permit fees often transition to a percentage of the cost of the job.

I will leave you with this thought, if a contractor wants to come into your home and replace an air conditioner and says, “oh don’t worry about the permit, you don’t need that”, I would suggest finding another contractor, as that person or company is not playing by the rules. Also, doing work that requires a permit that you don’t have can haunt you down the road when it comes to things like selling your house. I’m being told to get to Plantation for rodent issues now, so until next week, remember that rock and roll is not noise pollution. House Whisperer out!!

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