A patio cover is a great addition to any home. Benefits range from increased property value to simply creating a more enjoyable space in your backyard. Whatever benefit entices you the most, deciding that a cover for your patio is a good idea is only the beginning.
There are many factors to consider when installing a patio cover, such as planning, preparation, installation, and maintenance. In this article, we will discuss one of the first things you need to consider when planning for a new patio cover – a building permit.
You may wonder if a building permit is actually necessary for a patio cover. The short answer is “yes,” but keep reading for more information.
What is a Building Permit?
First of all, let’s go over what a building permit is. A building permit is a type of official authorization for the construction of a new building or the remodeling of an existing one. Building permits are granted and regulated by local government agencies.
A building permit’s main objective is to ensure the project will comply with local building standards, construction codes, and land use. Following the local codes and standards will help ensure the safety of those involved during and after construction.
When is a Building Permit Required?
Most cities have their own rules and regulations regarding building permits. But, generally speaking, a building permit is usually required for any structure attached to your home; this includes any roofing structures, such as a patio cover.
Some cities may even require a building permit for detached structures. Check with your local government agency to find out what is needed where you live.
Whether you choose to build your patio cover yourself or you decide to hire a contractor, you will need a building permit. However, if you hire a licensed contractor, they will be the ones obtaining the permits, and you won’t even have to worry about it.
But if you are building the cover yourself, here is a brief rundown of how the permit process looks:
To begin, you need to do your research to find out what permits your city requires for your project. You can visit your city offices in person, call them, or simply look online.
Depending on your city, you may be required to show the plans of your proposed project. You will need to have those ready to submit along with your permit application.
When you are ready to submit your application, you will need to pay any required fees for the process. The city’s building official will go over your plans and application. If your plans don’t meet local standards, they may give some suggestions for edits.
If your plans are approved, you are legally ready to begin your project. You may want to display your permit near your project site.
Once you obtain your permit, you will need an inspection from a building inspector and then at least one more time at the completion of your project. These inspections help ensure that the work performed is safe and up to code.
What if I Don’t Get a Building Permit?
If you are installing your patio cover yourself, you may be tempted to skip the whole permit process. You may think that a patio cover isn’t a huge addition to your house, so a permit is pointless.
While you have a right to your opinion, you may want to consider these consequences before making your decision. Proceeding on your project without a permit may be costly in more ways than one.
1. Safety – The number one reason for getting a building permit is to help ensure your safety and the safety of those who will spend time under or around your patio cover. If you fail to get a permit, you could be putting yourself and your loved ones at risk.
Building permits are designed to provide up-to-date codes for safe and stable structures. An unstable structure creates an unsafe environment.
Having a permit will also mean having your structure inspected to determine its safety. Without a permit, you won’t have a safety inspection.
2. Financial Repercussions – As stated above, if you fail to obtain a permit and have an inspection, you may end up with an unstable structure. If this structure fails and causes injury to someone, you may be held responsible for medical bills.
Additionally, if you need to file an insurance claim for damages related to your patio cover, your claim may be denied because you failed to obtain a permit during construction. Therefore, you will personally have to pay the total amount for damages.
If your city’s code inspector finds out your cover was built without a permit, you may have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, or even tear it down and rebuild it with a permit.
3. Resale Problems – If somewhere down the road, you decide to sell your home, a patio cover built without a permit may cause some problems.
A building inspector will inspect your home to ensure everything is up to code and safe for the new occupants. If they find that no permit was obtained for the construction of your patio cover, they will likely add that to their report.
This could cause the sale of your home to fall through. This could also negatively impact the resale value of your home.
While not all home improvements require a building permit, a patio cover is one project where you should obtain one. To save yourself the hassle of dealing with building permits, and to ensure a quality build, consider hiring a patio cover contractor to do the work for you.