Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Getting permits for home improvements, like replacing drywall, or adding on a room can be expensive, but it can be even more expensive to have the work completed on your home without the necessary permits. Based on the job and your local building codes, hefty fines could result.
You do not need a permit to replace drywall as long as you are only replacing the paneling. However, if you are working on support structures or altering walls by adding drywall, you may need a permit, depending on the building regulations where you live.
The rest of this article will explore when you require permits to work on drywall, what happens when work has been completed on your property without a permit, where you can find out about local building regulations, and why permits are needed in the first place.
When Do You Need a Permit To Work on Drywall?
You do not need a permit to repair, replace or remove existing drywall paneling. You do, however, require a permit to work on drywall when you are adding drywall to a new wall in your home.
If you are adding new drywall to your basement, for example, you will need to obtain a permit before beginning the work because this is an area where there hasn’t been drywall before.
So, as a general rule, you don’t need a permit to work on existing drywall paneling, but you will need a permit to add any new drywall or make structural changes to the wall.
Rules vary depending on which part of the country you live in, so you should check with your local authority before doing extensive drywall work.
When Do You Require a Permit To Carry Out Renovations?
While building regulations vary depending on where you live, there are some general rules. If you are carrying out repairs or minor improvements to the aesthetics of your home, such as replacing old or damaged drywall or hardwood flooring, you likely won’t require a permit.
You will require a permit for renovations if you are adding supporting walls or removing load-bearing walls. You will also need a permit if you are adding or changing the shape of windows or doors.
Any changes to your electrical and plumbing systems will also require permits unless you are simply replacing like-for-like components.
Permits are required for plumbing and electrical components to ensure that your property is safe for inhabitants as poorly, or incorrectly installed plumbing or electrical parts can cause fires, flooding, and electrocutions.
Permits are also necessary when completing any concrete work on your property, such as installing a new driveway or patio. You will need a permit to alter your roof as well.
Do You Need a Permit to Drywall Your Garage?
Although it is a part of your house, you may not need a permit to add drywall to your garage, but you will need one if you plan to make structural changes to the garage, such as making it a bedroom or an office.
Again, the requirements for drywall permits vary a lot, so it is best to check with local authorities to be sure.
What Happens if You Don’t Get a Permit for a Remodel?
If you don’t have the necessary building permits for a project, you can leave yourself vulnerable to various issues that are often costly.
Here are a few examples of problems that may arise when you fail to secure the proper permits:
- If a contractor is injured on your property while carrying out unlicensed work,your insurance policy may not cover the injury, making you liable. The injured contractor could then launch a lawsuit against you, which will result in expensive legal fees. The resulting legal costs can easily climb into the thousands.
- Insurance companies may also refuse to pay other claims, such as for fire or water damage on your property, if your recent renovations did not have the proper permits.
- Insurance companies often conduct inspections on properties that they cover. If you have new work completed without a permit, the company will likely investigate. An investigation may result in the insurance company canceling your insurance.
- You run the risk of having unprofessional workmen do shoddy work. This is because competent workers know the risks of working without a permit.
- You may be fined by local authorities. Many local governments issue fines to residents who fail to obtain the required paperwork. The penalties are often twice the cost of getting a permit in the first place.
Where Can You Learn About Permits and Building Regulations?
Local governments usually have a website where they post critical information, such as when permits are required for different jobs.
Licensed contractors who work in your area will also have experience with the building permit process. Contractors will be able to inform you of when you need a permit, and they will also be able to provide you with a rough cost estimate of the permits.
Another resource that you can use to learn about your local building regulation is your local city town hall. Most have building regulations posted in a prominent area.
How Much Do Building Permits Usually Cost?
The costs of building permits start at as little as $25 and can quickly go into the thousands, depending on where you live and what work you are getting done. However, the national average cost for building permits is around $1000.
Building permits are priced on a scale that is heavily influenced by the cost of the renovations.
A $25 building permit will cover renovations up to $500. For reference, building permits can reach prices up to $18,000, and they will cover you for renovations up to half a million dollars on your property.
Why Are Permits Necessary?
Permits are necessary to ensure that all new building work completed in an area will meet a safety standard because the final stage of a building permit is an inspection from local authorities. If the work does not pass the inspection, a permit will not be issued.
Building permits also provide homeowners with protection for their investments. As stated earlier, insurance companies can, and often do, refuse to pay damages if permits were not obtained.
How Long Does it Take to Secure a Building Permit?
Securing a building permit usually takes between five days and two weeks for the application process. Once your application is approved, you may begin renovations.
It is important to remember that building permits expire. Most are valid for 180 days. Although the permit can then be extended at the end of this period, you will likely have to pass another inspection before you are granted the extension.
Building regulations vary depending on where you live, so you should always check with local authorities to ensure that you have the necessary paperwork for any new addition to your property; however, replacing or repairing existing structures like drywall do not require a permit.
Checking with local authorities will provide you with peace of mind as you can be sure your renovations will not result in fines for you.
Building permits ensure that all construction work is completed at the highest safety standards.
- Fallschurchva.gov: When a Building Permit is Required
- Stcloud.mn.us: Document
- Denvergov.org: Project Guide for Interior Remodel Projects
- Remodelingdoneright.nari.org: When do I need a permit?
- Wareham.ma.us: What happens if I do the work without a permit?
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