Building? Renovating? Do you need a permit? How do you find out? Where do you go? What does it cost?
Here are a few of the facts for the state of North Carolina at this time. Updates happen in every industry. Do what you can to keep current and be sure to check with your state if you live outside NC.
The basics: if you intend to do over $30,000 in repairs, anyone can go to the city and get a “privilege license”. You are then a licensed contractor. Beware of people who show up to work on your home claiming to be licensed. All you need to do is go to the city and request a privilege license. Make sure your contractors are for real.
If you plan to do less than $5000 in repairs and it is not structural, you do not need a license. However, you may want to find out what is meant by “structural”. If,for example, you need to repair a single pillar under the house, that is structural. If you’re having a roof replaced and the boards also need replacing, that is structural. If the repair is structural, no matter the cost, you must have a permit.
Never pull a permit yourself – have the contractor or tradesmen (plumbers, electrician, etc.) pull the permits for the work to be done. Whoever pulls the permit is ultimately responsible for the work and you want the responsibility to be on the worker, not on you. Again, beware of a contractor or tradesman who asks you to pull your own permits for the job. That means they are trying to eliminate any personal liability for the work they are about to perform.
For most work that needs to be done, other than new construction, you can have your contractor request an “alterations” permit which is only $45. The city will then come out to inspect the work so you don’t have to. They will make sure that you get the work you expect and are paying for.
It is often required that you obtain a permit even to change a water heater. Before you build or renovate, know what’s required by your city.
According to the NC Engineering & Inspections site, you are required to pull a permit:
* Installations, alterations or additions to the sanitary drainage, waste or vent systems (DWV).
* Installation of fixtures, water heaters and appliances requiring connection to the building DWV, water service or water distribution system.
* Installation of sewer and or water service systems, including replacement.
* Special application equipment such as water softeners, process water connections, grease traps, etc.
* Installation or replacement of a furnace, condenser, boiler, chiller, solar, hot water or steam heating and/or cooling system used in heating or cooling residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial facilities.
* Energy distribution systems such as ductwork and piping systems are included in the requirements for permits. Installation or replacement of gas piping, equipment and appliances.
* Fossil fuel fired heating equipment — oil, wood, coal, etc.
* Installation and/or replacement of gas logs, vented and non-vented — ranges, grills, lights etc.
* Commercial refrigeration systems, coils, freezers, coolers, etc., any commercial refrigeration equipment assembled on site and not designed as unitary plug-in appliances.