Good fences make good neighbors. But first, good fences need good permits.

Whether it’s deciding to put up a new fence or remodel your kitchen, what starts out as a simple home renovation project can turn into an unintended nightmare if you don’t take the proper steps. The first, most critical step is obtaining a permit.

When it comes to home renovations or a remodel, getting a permit can seem difficult initially, and may feel like it could take more time than it’s worth. Many questions likely arise as you consider your options – What type of permit do you need? How much time will it take? Do you even need a permit? Who’s really going to know if you don’t get one? It can seem like an easy obstacle to bypass altogether.

The critical reason why you need a permit to build a fence or remodel your kitchen

Here’s why you actually do need a permit to build a fence, remodel your kitchen or kick-start any other renovation for your home:

  • Most fences require a certain amount of digging for the fence posts. If you accidentally strike a sewage, gas or water line or drain field, the downtime of utilities and cost of fixing the damages can be significantly higher than the original project budget. Getting a permit updates you on the location of all of these important utilities.
  • Property lines could be called into question when building a fence. You could build the most beautiful and sturdy fence, but if your neighbor questions whether or not it has crossed over onto their property by even a few inches, legal trouble could soon follow; or at the very least, you might have to redo the entire fence.  Obtaining a permit beforehand alleviates this uncertainty and potential conflict with your neighbor.
  • Remodeling a kitchen usually entails a little more than a fresh coat of paint. For any major kitchen remodel, you will need a permit if you are adding or moving any plumbing, electrical or mechanical structures, or changing structural features like walls. A permit will ensure that any additions and renovations are up to code and safely installed.
  • If some damage occurred as a result of faulty, non-permitted renovations or bad do-it-yourself electrical wiring, home insurance companies may not cover the cost of the damage because it was not part of the original, insured coverage.

A DIY home renovation can be tough work and paying someone else to do it can get pricey. Consider all of the labor and cost that you’ll place at risk if you don’t properly prepare by obtaining the necessary permits beforehand.

How can your local government help?

To help ease the permitting process for citizens who are ready to kick-start their home renovation projects, local government municipalities should utilize intuitive community development software that enables fast, easy procurement of permits. With software that delivers mobility for a department’s field personnel and automated workflows for its permit inspectors, for example, city departments can expedite the required inspections that follow so homeowners can get approvals faster and their projects completed with far less stress and chance of a redo.

Municipalities should make the process of obtaining a permit for home renovations, a remodel and the following inspections as seamless as possible to ensure safe and strong homes for their citizens, now and for the future.

Do I need a permit for home renovations or a remodel?