To maintain the integrity of your home, meet building codes, and preserve resale value, it´s a good idea to check with your city´s code requirements before you start many building projects.
To get you started, here´s a basic list of projects that usually require building permits.
This is just a short list of the various types of permits your city may require. Each municipality has different requirements for distance, heights, sizes, and so forth. For example, the building code in one town may mandate a permit for any deck more than 30 inches above grade while another may say 36 inches.
If you work with a contractor, make sure they obtain the necessary permits and inspections are conducted as specified. Don´t pay for a project until the building inspector signs off that the work is complete and meets code requirements.
Many cities allow homeowners to do the work themselves without necessarily getting permits. Keep in mind though that it´s vital for you to adhere to city codes anyway. Too often a homeowner makes changes without the required permits. Later when they go to sell, they are unpleasantly surprised that the sale can´t proceed until the work is brought up to code. This could cost thousands of dollars in rework.
For more information, contact your local building department for details that pertain to your area and project.
A licensed Construction Contractor can also help with permits.