Building permits range from $150 to $7,500.
Average permitting costs are around $1,300 nationally.
If you’re making significant changes to your home, you need to have permits.
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If your house is feeling a bit too close for comfort, you might consider building a new addition onto the old homestead. But expanding the family digs is about more than lumber, nails, and sweat equity. You’re also going to need the proper permits.
The type of permitting you’ll need, though, will depend on several factors, including your location and the kind of project you have in mind. And that means that the costs to secure the necessary building permits will vary widely, ranging from as little as $150 for modest projects in a small town to as much as $7,500 for more ambitious projects in larger cities. Average permitting costs are around $1,300 nationally.
Why Building Permits Matter
If you’re making significant changes to your home, you need to have permits, as well as all the proper building inspections during the process and at the project’s completion. In addition to the traditional building permit, which gives you and/or the contractor the permission to build or add onto the home, each specialty trade, such as HVAC, electrical, or plumbing, has its own permit. Before building a home addition, brush up on the required permits.
If the system seems like a confusing web of applications and inspections, you’re right. That’s why we don’t recommend doing it yourself. Keep in mind that “the one who pulls the permit is responsible for the work.”
That means if you pull the permit yourself, or if your contractor pulls it in your name, then YOU are responsible for the work, even if you didn’t do it. This leaves lots of room for error on the contractor’s part, and some contractors may not accept responsibility for mistakes.
For that reason, you should hire an experienced, locally licensed contractor who does quality work and knows the system. The two keywords here are “experienced” and “local.”
Just as a certified public accountant or a lawyer has to pass an exam and prove their qualifications, a properly licensed contractor has to have certain qualifications to pull a permit. These include having a master technician on the team and meeting selected screening qualifications.
Local means hiring a contractor who works frequently in your municipality. Permit and building requirements vary from town to town.
What Permits Are Required for Residential Additions?
If your house is feeling a bit cramped and you’re looking to expand your home’s footprint, you’re first going to need to get the proper clearance from your local authorities.
Fortunately, it’s not that hard to get the go-ahead on your dream project. Permitting, above all, helps to ensure safe, legal, and quality construction—and that the addition rests entirely on your own property. (No squabbling with the neighbors over where your property line ends and theirs begins!).
When you’re planning to add on to your home, one of the first things you’re going to need to confirm is zoning for the kind of construction you want. Some cities and municipalities, for instance, will limit the amount of square footage permitted on a single lot. Others may restrict the number of detached buildings allowed on the same parcel of land. And still others will specify that only certain types of constructions are allowed within that zone.
So you should check with your local officials before you even begin construction to make sure your project meets your property’s zoning requirements. You might be required to purchase a purchase a zoning license to go ahead with the expansion, which will usually involve additional steps, such as site inspections to ensure that your land’s water, septic, and electrical systems can safely support the new addition.
After you’ve ensured your project meets zoning requirements, you’re going to need to submit a building plan for officials to conduct a plan review. This will generally include a drawing of the proposed addition, as well as details regarding construction. Again, this is all about safety and legality.
Inspectors consider issues such as structure, foundation, and location. They’ll want to ensure there is proper clearance between the new addition and other structures to minimize fire risk. And they’ll also want to ensure the building plan works for the addition’s intended purpose. For instance, an attached bedroom with a half-bath will need to meet different standards than a detached guest house complete with a kitchen, bathrooms, and gas heating.
The permitting process doesn’t end once you’ve received clearance to start your project, though. At the very least, your town or municipality will require a post-construction inspection to ensure that the work went as planned and according to the required health and safety standards. Generally, you can get this final inspection done for between $200 and $500.
Photo: poligonchik / iStock / Getty Images
Why Permitting Matters
It might seem like a lot of legwork to make sure you have the proper permits in place before, during, and after construction. But taking care of the permits right away can save a lot of hassle down the road. Unapproved constructions, or work completed by contractors who don’t have the proper permits, can actually decrease the value of your home.
Not only that, but because your property taxes are generally based on the value of the improvements made to the land, failure to get the appropriate permits can leave you on the hook for unpaid property taxes later on.
So, as you can see, permits can have a big impact on your finances if you ignore them. For example, if you don’t have an electrical permit on file for any electrical modifications in your home, you couldn’t collect insurance if the cause of a fire is determined to be non-permitted work. Permits help when it’s time to sell a home, since potential homebuyers will want to be sure the appropriate permits exist for any modifications or additions to the home.
Most importantly, building codes and permits are put in place for your health and safety. They set forth minimum requirements for the types and sizes of materials to be used to meet safety standards.
These are all really important reasons why the permitting process works in your favor. If you’re hiring a contractor to build your addition, then ensuring that your builder is working with the necessary permits is a pretty great clue that they’re a legit company doing quality work. Win-win!
Example: Permitting for a Kitchen Remodel
You don’t have to add on to your home or construct an entirely new building on your property to require permits, though. In some cases, even an extensive remodelling project will require permitting.
This is especially true of kitchens and bathrooms, where the renovation may place significant demands on your gas, electrical, water, and/or plumbing systems.
Below are some examples of the kinds of permits that might be required for an extensive kitchen remodel:
Structural: This is necessary if you’re making major modifications that include blowing out walls or building new ones. You don’t need a permit if you are just changing the kitchen cabinets.
Electrical: Even if you’re just moving one plug or installing any new fixtures, you need an electrical permit. If you’re doing an electrical upgrade, make sure you bring everything up to current building code standards.
Plumbing: If you are adding a redesigned laundry room that includes a new location for the sink, you will need a plumbing permit. No permit is needed if the location doesn’t change.
Gas permit: If your new stovetop has a gas grill, you will need a gas permit to run a new gas line. If it’s electric, it will fall under the electrical permit.
Local permits: You will need any other permits required by your township or municipality.
Understanding Home Addition Permits
Dealing with paperwork isn’t the most exciting way to spend a weekend. But the permitting process isn’t just a legal requirement—it’s also great protection. Permits will help ensure your cozy new bedroom or inspiring detached artist’s studio is safe, solid, and inviting for years to come!
What work requires a permit? Replacing and repairing damaged siding, sheetrock or windows typically does not require a permit. Minor repairs to roofing or roof vents does not require a permit.What home improvements require a permit in Texas? ›
Permits are required for the following projects:
- Construction of a building.
- Main building Accessory building (including permanent and portable storage sheds, gazebo's, carports, patio covers)
- Foundation repairs.
- Additions to a building.
Any entity must obtain a master permit before they: erect, construct, enlarge, add to, alter, repair, replace, improve, remove, install, convert, equip, use occupy or maintain a structure or building service equipment.What requires a building permit in Massachusetts? ›
Who needs a Building Permit? A building permit is required by Section 110.0 of the Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR). Anyone seeking to construct, alter, repair, or demolish a structure must first obtain a building permit.Do I need a permit to add a room to my house in Texas? ›
A building permit is required for new construction, additions, alteration, change of occupancy, renovations, relocations, and repairs or rehabilitation of a building or structure. Electrical, Plumbing and A/C, and Heating may also be required.
If (when) the local building department discovers that you've been working without a permit, they may notify you to cease work until you receive the proper building permit. You may be charged $500 or more per day for violating building permit laws. Your county can also put a lien on your home if you don't pay the fine.Do I need a permit to add a bathroom in my house in Texas? ›
Structural changes: Any remodeling that involves a radical shift in the bathroom layout will invite a permit. When you are making that dividing wall, it shall require a permit. Plumbing and sewage renovations: Any work on the plumbing will involve structural change and require a permit.Do I need a permit to pour concrete in Texas? ›
If placed on a concrete slab, a permit and inspection for the concrete slab will be required. (Inspection will be done before any concrete is poured) If you are hiring a contractor to build the shed, the contractor must apply for the permit. 5. What are the setbacks for a shed?How big can I build without a permit in Texas? ›
A building permit is required for accessory buildings that are more than 200 square feet or two story.Can a homeowner pull permits in Texas? ›
Homeowners can apply for electrical, plumbing, and building permits to perform work on their own homes.
Plan Review 150.00 The greater of $150.00 or $0.012 per sq. ft. of building area. 225.00 FEE CALCULATION Fee per dwelling unit only.What is a 72 hour permit in Texas? ›
A 72-Hour Permit or 144-Hour Permit may only be issued to commercial vehicles and buses owned by residents of the United States, Mexico, or Canada. These permits may be used to: Operate an unregistered commercial vehicle or bus in Texas.What is the penalty for building without a permit in Massachusetts? ›
In broad terms, Section 94 states that “Whoever violates any provision of the state building code, except any specialized code as described in section ninety-six, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, for each such violation.”How much does a building permit cost in Massachusetts? ›
|Type of Permit||Cost|
|Residential (1 & 2 Residence)||$15 per $1,000 of actual cost of construction $50 Minimum|
|Commercial||$15 per $1,000 of actual cost of construction $100 Minimum|
Massachusetts homeowners are allowed to obtain their own building permit for renovations and improvements to their homes. Obtaining your own building permit comes with significant responsibility and risk.Do I need permission to extend my house? ›
An Extension will require Full Planning Permission where: It is to cover more than 50% of land around the original house (as it was first built or as it stood on 01 July 1948) It is to be forward of the principal elevation or side elevation fronting a highway.Can I add a room to my house myself? ›
First, you can take it on yourself. With that, you'll have to make sure you, and anyone working with you, has the skill and know-how to do the home addition right. You don't want to get started on a project to then figure out you're in over your head.Can I add a bedroom without planning permission? ›
An addition or extension to your house* is generally considered to be permitted development. So, you won't need to go through the additional hassle of getting planning permission as long as: Your extension is no more than half the area of land around the original house (curtilage).How much does a building permit cost in Texas? ›
|Single-family and duplex residences||$0.08 per sq. ft.|
|Commercial and institutional||$0.08 per sq. ft.|
|Additions, remodeling, etc.||$5.00 per $1000 of construction cost. Minimum of $25.00|
|House Moving||$100.00 plus any additional costs incurred by the Police Dept. and/or the Utility Dept.|
It depends. Although the state does not require residential appliance installation permits, Section 1305.201(a) of the Texas Electrical Safety and Licensing Act does not prohibit a municipality or region from regulating residential appliance installers.
10. How long does it take to obtain a building permit? As established in TEXAS LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE, TITLE 7, CHAPTER 233 - SUBCHAPTER C, 233.063 the County has 30 days to review and issue or deny a building permit.What can an unlicensed handyman do in Texas? ›
Usually, you don't need a handyman license when you operate in Texas for simple jobs like repairs and aesthetic improvements. But handyman contract jobs such as Plumbing and HVAC may be required. Major cities in Texas require a specific license to operate as a handyman.What can a handyman do in Texas without a license? ›
What you can do without a license
- Painting the interior or exterior of a home.
- Repairing home siding.
- Cleaning/replacing/repairing windows.
- Repairing fences.
- Building and installing custom furniture.
- Fixing door screens and locks.
Changing, moving or repairing walls or floors and replacement of drywall that results in a total area of 16 square feet or more in any wall or ceiling requires a building permit.
Homeowners can apply for electrical, plumbing, and building permits to perform work on their own homes. The homeowner must have a Homestead Exemption through the Harris County Appraisal District. The home must be the homeowners primary residence and the work can ONLY be performed by the homeowner.