Let’s be honest for a second… it seems these days that obtaining a building permit can be a very controversial topic, and discussing this in a single blog won’t cover everything, but we want to make sure the conversation is started, and hopefully encourages people to do their research. First and foremost, if you’re ever unsure if a permit is required or not, contact your local building department and ask them directly.
Although many times requiring permits are obvious, sometimes they’re not as obvious, and sometimes they’re not required when you think they may be. For example, here in Ontario, a good guide line to follow is that the building department wants to insure all renovations are completed in a safe manor, and the end project is safe for use. Makes sense doesn’t it? After all, a building official’s job is to provide an unbiased third party perspective, and makes sure everything follows local building code requirements.
Over the years, I have heard many people say things like “I don’t want a permit”, or “the other contractor told me I didn’t require a permit”, or “I wouldn’t hire a contractor if they didn’t want to get a permit”. All these statements are real, and all need to be discussed. Many people don’t want to get a permit because their worried it will impact their property taxes, or that they won’t be allowed to do the renovation they want, or they just don’t want to spend more money on a service such as this. I fully understand these concerns, and sadly there is nothing I can do to say they have no claim… my job as a contractor is to simply advise when you do or do not require a permit… and it is your job as a consumer to know if the contractor is telling the truth or not which is why you contact the city direct first.
The reality is… permits are a difficult thing to obtain, and sometimes they can be very prohibiting. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get them. Knowing if they’re required is the first step, and then understanding the procedure to obtaining them is the second step. A good contractor will have knowledge of when permits are required, and a great contractor will be one that can provide the service of obtaining one for you (for a cost of course). If a contractor is explaining correctly when a permit is required, and is offering to obtain one on your behalf, that’s a good sign the contractor knows and understands the local building code regulations which is great. This doesn’t mean they know every single code off by heart… but it shows they acknowledge the importance of doing things the right way.
However, if a contractor is willing to do work without a permit, it does not mean you shouldn’t hire them (and I know that’s a very controversial statement). Ultimately, you have to understand that the city has put guidelines in place for a reason, and they should always be followed. The challenge is that not every customer wants to follow them (they all have their own reasons for this choice), and a contractor can’t lose business because of a customer’s choice to not follow the rules.
Simply put… permits are designed to keep everyone safe, and it’s important to know the risks involved for getting a permit (there are always risks), and not getting a permit. So know the rules by contacting the city, and make sure your contractor explains everything ‘in full detail’ before hiring them. Having a contractor you can trust is key in making this decision, and to get that, please refer to my blog “Getting Renovation Quotes” to find the perfect contractor for your next project.
Bildam Home Improvements
We Build Quality
Specialists in building custom decks and legal finished basements since 2010, Bill and Adam have been working together and proudly putting smiles on client’s faces for over 10 years now. Our motto is “we build quality”, and we are proud of the work we do and the high satisfaction levels of our clients.
Bildam Home Improvements also provides building permit services to alleviate the difficulty and responsibility of this process. Permits are an important aspect of any renovation, and we make sure everything is done to code, and make sure this process is one less thing you have to worry about as a client.
Our goal is to make the experience of hiring a contractor an enjoyable one so you’ll refer us to your friends and family over and over again.
Contact us for a free estimate today!