Why homeowners should expect remodelers to pull permits for home remodels
If a contractor asks a homeowner to pull his or her own building permits, that should be a red flag for a homeowner to find a different remodeling contractor. Relying on a contractor to navigate the permitting process can save homeowners time, money and stress. A reputable contractor should object to a homeowner pulling his or her own permits. It is part of the service that a consumer should expect when they hire a contractor.
Permits are the way cities/towns regulate construction and help ensure that all construction is safe. The safety of the occupants of buildings is the primary reason for having construction codes, and the permits are an agreement that whatever work is being done to a home complies with those codes. Most government bodies adopt codes for construction, mechanical, plumbing and electrical, and in addition, there are federal, state and local laws that govern construction, such as those covering energy conservation.
Most home projects require a permit. The permit and inspection process can be a tedious process. Although homeowners are allowed to pull their own permits, it is in their best interest to have the contractor they hired do it instead. There are a couple of reasons for this.
The first reason is the process of getting the permit will generate numerous questions from the local building department that the homeowner is most likely not qualified or prepared to answer. The homeowner then has to run back and forth between their designer, contractor or architect to answer the questions, and that is not an efficient way to spend time. Having the contractor talk to the building department when he or she pulls the permit will help speed up the approval process.
Second, if homeowners pull the permits, they—instead of the contractor—will be responsible for the project and have to answer to local building inspectors during home inspections. Inspectors are going to look at details that the homeowner might not know how to address. The homeowner will then need to consult with their contractor to sort out any problems the inspector finds. The contractor can often correct those issues on the spot and get approvals. By not being responsible for the inspection, there could be several days or a week of delays.
Having a remodeling contractor pull permits can also help the homeowner save money. A contractor may charge his client for the time to get permits, but that charge includes all the back and forth discussion with the local building department and inspectors. A homeowner who takes time off of work to get these permits will have to ask themselves, how valuable is my time.
Overall, it’s always a good practice to rely on a certified remodeling contractor to pull permits. A contractor who wants to pass off the responsibility of pulling permits on his client is more than likely, not a real contractor and should be avoided at all costs.