How to Research for Permits for Fall Home Improvement and Building Projects

Are you thinking of a fall home improvement project? Here is some information for researching permits required for any fall home improvement or building project. How extensive will the home improvement or building project be? You might need to research your city or county codes to find out just how many permits will be needed for your project. There is a general statement that is applicable, “If you do not open a wall – you do not need a permit”. For example, you do not need a permit if your home improvement project consists of painting or new roofing.

Plans for a fall home improvement or building project:

Whether you draw the plans yourself, hire a design/drafter or use an architect, you will need plans of the proposed home improvement or building project to obtain a building permit. If you are adding an additional room you will need a foundation plan (to show footing design), a floor plan, exterior elevations, structural plan or detail (to show how it will be constructed), and a plot (site) plan to show where the project locates on the property.

Who will do the work for the fall home improvement or building project:

If you are knowledgeable and choose to do the work, then you will be responsible for getting permits and calling for inspections. In our City, inspections are required for slab (foundation), plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), structural, and electrical. Anyone performing HVAC, plumbing and electrical disciplines must be state licensed and are responsible for any corrections required by the Inspector. Most individuals are not licensed in these areas and must use licensed sub-contractors to perform the work.

Permits for fall home improvement or building projects:

Our City has an extensive and informative web site which details the process for obtaining a building permit. When you go to the local city or county planning commission, they will gladly help with information, review your plans, establish the dollar amount for the building permit, take your money, take your plans for review and call you when the permit is ready. A general contractor or architect would handle this process for you.

Permits for Storm Water Management for fall home improvement or building projects:

If the project requires extensive ground work or dirt excavation, then Storm Water Management may require a permit. Our City is concerned about water runoff. No proposed project must impede natural water flow or redirect water flow onto another property. Depending on the project and topography, a permit may be required. It is advisable to try to avoid Storm Water Management as their requirements can be very costly!


There can be severe consequences for trying to avoid the city and county permitting and inspection process. Work can be delayed or stopped, fines and penalties can be levied or the city might even disconnect utilities if they choose. The “easier, softer way” is to have plans in hand and go to visit the planning commission to obtain the necessary permits. Pay the money they require, let them tell you what the procedures are and then follow the rules. Whatever you might think of the process, it was designed to oversee the health and welfare of you and your family.

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