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  • Billy Haynes

What are the Requirements Needed When Seeking for Building Permit?

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Building Permit

Why do you need a building permit? A lot of people have this construction question. Building permits are necessary, and not getting one can cause problems down the road. Permits are required whenever homeowners alter or expand their current home. Some do not understand why building permits are essential, and this is why.

Navigating the world of building permits can be complex, given the countless requirements and nuances involved. At Permit Studio, we understand this well and are equipped to streamline the process for you. Whether you are pursuing Building Permits in Chicago or elsewhere, some of the core requirements include detailed architectural plans, site maps, and contractor information. A comprehensive application could also require engineer reports, surveys, and proof of zoning compliance. Our team of expert Permit Expediters guides you through these necessities, ensuring your application is complete and accurate, increasing its chance of a swift approval.

Moreover, at Permit Studio, our Permit Expediting Services go beyond just guiding you through the list of requirements. We liaise with relevant authorities, leverage our knowledge of local codes and regulations, and offer robust Permit Management to save you time and stress. As your trusted Chicago Permit Expediter, we shoulder the burden of technicalities, leaving you to focus on your project.

Do I need a building permit?

Building permits are official written authorizations issued by governing building agencies that allow owners who have applied for a building permit to proceed with construction. The property owner will often have to furnish information about the proposed alterations or additions, the estimated cost of the work, plans to detail the proposed work, and complying with all local building codes and zoning requirements on the application for a building permit. By obtaining a building permit, the project has been verified to satisfy the needs of local and statewide building codes. These local and state codes protect public safety and welfare.

A Building Permit: Why Is It Important?

It is much safer if any project has been started after a building permit is obtained. It can be hazardous to build without a permit. The city may require you to tear down a newly renovated space or not allow you to use it if they find out you created, added on, remodeled, or have made structural changes to your home. There is a chance that you could end up making repairs that are quite expensive just to ensure that your building is up to local and state codes to use the space, or you may have to completely tear it down.

A building permit shows that there is authorization from the city, and they are often used to ensure that the construction complies with zoning, construction, and building codes for safety.

A Building Permit's Purpose

A building permit is needed for specific projects as required for your area, especially if it will change the structure of a building. There is no reason for any construction projects should be done without a permit.

The safety of the community

Any building permit is primarily intended to ensure safety. It is in your best interest to become familiar with safety standards before you begin any construction project so that you can avoid any possible accidents.

Your contractor should be honest.

If you hire a contractor and do not apply for a permit first, they may have a mind to cut corners when it comes to construction. A contractor who seems very cost-driven should keep this in mind in particular. Having a building permit will ensure that a contractor uses safe and standard methods.

Guide to DIY Projects

Permits aren't always necessary, but some projects are simple enough that you can do them yourself. You may find that a permit can help guide you through the process if you perform a renovation for the first time.

Validates your insurance

Keep in mind that if a contractor does not have a permit, then their insurance may not cover any mistake or injury that happens on your property. However, a building permit will ensure that anyone working on your project knows that there may be risks involved and there is approval to build.

A valuable tool when selling your home

A potential buyer will be able to see that you did your home renovations without a permit. When you're selling your home, you should be able to show legal proof that you obtained the proper permits for all upgrades.

What is the process for obtaining a building permit?

The first thing that you should do is to contact a permit expediter in your area. They will handle everything you need to do, such as paperwork, gathering documents, and more. They will often file these for you.

Prepare your permit application and be as specific as possible about the work to be performed. Provide the required application fees and architectural plans for your project.

When your permit has been approved, please post it on your front door or in a window. Verify that you are covered by your homeowner's or builder's risk insurance, and ensure that you have documentation regarding your contractor's license and insurance. You should request, before any work being performed, a copy of your contractor's Commercial General Liability insurance coverage, as well as its Workers Compensation coverage.

During your work progress, you will need to arrange for inspections on the phases of work completed and obtain approval for further work to proceed. The building department inspects a home's foundation, framing, rough electrical, rough plumbing, insulation, and possibly other things. If significant changes are being made to a building, then the city will need to be permitted for electricity, plumbing, and building.

An individual who does construction himself may find it stressful to apply for a Building Permit. Permit expediters, on the other hand, take care of the obtaining of permits. We'll make sure that you will achieve a wonderful experience in entrusting your construction with us.

Permits must be obtained from the building official having jurisdiction through the submission of certain information. Depending on the code requirements, their inspectors may need to perform intermediate and final inspections to confirm compliance.

Any type of structural change, electrical or plumbing upgrades need to have a permit. A permit expediter can help by gathering and filing the forms for you.

It Is Not Always Necessary To Get Permits

Many people believe that to get a permit, there needs to be a lot of inspections that will find every flaw in the building, but that is not true.

Most repairs and improvements will require a permit. In many jurisdictions, the rules for obtaining a building permit and scheduling inspections vary widely, so the same project may not require a permit and inspection in another.

Generally, there are some instances where a permit is not needed, but any significant changes or repairs will need one. A permit expediter can do this for you.

For example, a deck or room addition requires a permit but replacing a broken light switch, or a leaky faucet does not. If you want to know more about permits, you can contact a permit expediter, and they can tell you all of the information you need, and they can even help you file for a permit.

When is a building permit required?

Permits are not required for every home renovation or construction project. Professional contractors and homeowners can usually perform simple repairs or replacements without submitting a permit application. Any construction project involving additions or significant changes to your home's structure or mechanical system will usually require that you obtain a building permit from the local building department. Sometimes a contractor can get a permit, but often everything is done through a permit expediter. Even if you plan to do the work on your own, a permit expediter can ensure that all forms are filed correctly.

The Chicago and surrounding areas have specific requirements for a permit, and one of the best ways for you to make sure that you get everything done correctly is to contact a permit expediter.

The Building Permit Process

Permit expediters obtain a building permit using this process:

  • They will contact the local building department and ensure what type of permit is needed. They have an application form that will be filled out. Based on the job, there may need to be multiple permits.

  • They ensure that all needed documentation is included in the application.

  • They submit the application and pay fees. They then receive a building permit.

  • They will instruct you where to place your building permit.

  • They will also contact the inspection office to ensure that any work being done is done correctly.

  • When the inspector signs that everything is up to code, a building permit is no longer needed.

Is it possible to bypass the building permit?

Unfortunately, it is common for homeowners to carry out home improvement projects without getting a permit, paying the application fee, or obtaining a approval letter. While completing such projects with good quality and without any problems, bypassing the formal permit process is not a good idea. These are some risks to be aware of:

You may discover that the buyers' inspection uncovers additions or remodeling done without the proper permits and that are no longer up to code when you try to sell your home. Using a permit may enable you to sell the house and prevent you from undoing previously completed work.

It is possible that your homeowner's damage and liability policy will not cover your damages following a fire, structural collapse, or a significant plumbing problem if it turns out that the mishap was caused by work done without a permit or inspection.

Inspections Are Required

You and your contractor must not ignore this step in the permit process.

A few projects even require two inspections-one during the rough-in phase and another at the end. Inspections are used to ensure work is done following local codes.

Sometimes, these visits are brief and superficial. The inspector's review can be brief and comprehensive when they are familiar with the contractor's work. If the homeowner has performed the work, the inspector may spend more time on the inspection.

Inspections that fail can be re-inspected

It is because of this fear that homeowners avoid the process of getting a building permit.

A problem flagged by you can usually be corrected. Inspecting again (or even three times, if necessary) before signing off (closing) the permit will be done once the work is completed according to the inspector's standards.

Permits Are Serious Business If Ignored

Especially if you are working inside your home, where you can work without anyone seeing you, it can be tempting to ignore the permit process and hide your work. Taking shortcuts might get you by, but they'll also cost you plenty in the long run.

The costs of obtaining a permit may be high if work is done without a required permit. If you want to get your work inspected, you may have to tear out walls and ceilings. The entire project will have to be reconstructed if you make any mistakes.

A change in your home insurance policy can also affect you. If your insurance policy denies coverage because the work was not approved, then it may cost out of pocket to fix anything that may happen.

Is a building permit required for all types of projects?

Permits are not required for every construction project. The building codes of your locality will determine whether a permit is needed for your project. Permitting requirements for each municipality vary. There is a tendency for regulations to reflect regional issues. For instance, building codes in Florida are frequently based on safety considerations caused by heat and humidity. There may be strict fireproofing requirements in rural areas prone to forest fires.

Permits are typically needed for projects that alter structural or functional characteristics of a building or that create unsafe working conditions.

Permits Required for Renovations

There are various building permits, including electrical, mechanical, structural, and new construction work. Plans that are compliant with local ordinances and codes should be drawn up before you apply for these. That's because particular home renovations will alter the structure of your house in general. Your property will need to support the work you plan to perform before the authorities approve your application.

There is a decent chance you will need a permit if you decide to make extensive changes to your home. That includes additions like garages, bedrooms, and decks in most cases. If you have a project that will change load-bearing walls, porches, balconies, or decks will need a permit. There are some other instances where you may need to have a permit:

Fencing: In municipalities, non-permitted fences might be subject to height restrictions depending on the type of fence. Some cities require permits for tall fences, such as Chicago, while others allow longer fences.

Permits are likely to be required if you are replacing or removing existing plumbing. In addition to your home's electrical system, any work involving installing new electrical wiring needs a permit. Permits are required even for something as simple as moving an outlet.

Aside from obtaining a building permit, you may also need a permit for a system, such as plumbing, electrical, or mechanical. When installing underground lawn sprinklers, for instance, you may need to obtain a plumbing permit. In some cases, a mechanical permit may be required for installing a central air conditioner.

Consult your city's building and permit office to find out whether your project requires a permit. You can review most of their information online. Please don't hesitate to reach out to a permit expediter for answers, as they are accustomed to answering questions over the phone, email, or in person.

How Do I Get a Permit?

Contact your local permit expediter to obtain the permit. A permit may be issued immediately depending on the project's complexity, or plans may need to be inspected for approval.

Work will likely need to be inspected as part of the renovation process. It may be necessary to conduct multiple inspections when building an addition to a home. Following completion of the work, a final inspection is conducted, and the permit is issued.

Renovations Not Requiring Permits

There are times when someone does not need a permit to do some things to your home. They are primarily minor and can usually be carried out yourself without hiring and paying a contractor. The following projects don't require permits:

  • Wallpapering or painting

  • Flooring or carpeting installation

  • Minor electrical repairs that don't involve moving or adding new services

  • Countertop installation

  • Installing a new faucet


A permit is required for many home renovation projects. Check your city's website or call to clarify the rules since each municipality has different rules. Any person doing the work must obtain the proper permits, regardless of who is performing the work.

Permits are required for specific projects. If a contractor suggests you skip this step, you may want to move on to another.

A permit might be necessary from the city, and the permit fee might be doubled or tripled. It may also require you to tear down your work (to examine what lies behind the wall, for instance) if there is a question of whether the work was done correctly.

The worst thing that could happen is trying to sell your house, which is when such issues usually surface. You may have to bring your home up to code before selling if you're building without permits.

In conclusion, at Permit Studio, we simplify the often complicated process of acquiring building permits and expedite the permit process so you can focus on what matters most - bringing your vision to life. Our seasoned experts are skilled in navigating the specific requirements for obtaining permits in Chicago, offering you an effortless experience.

To learn more about our services, visit our homepage. Ready to kick start your project with less hassle and more efficiency? Don't hesitate to contact us for assistance. At Permit Studio, we're more than just your permit expediter; we're your partner in making your building project a reality.

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