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Building without a permit – it could cost you

Of late, our office has been dealing with a number of situations where people have begun construction of some major work without a required building permit.

We cannot stress this enough: don't. We have dealt with several instances where builders/property owners have begun work without permits, which has resulted in extra costs after the fact to rectify the work.

One of the critical services our building inspectors provide is a plans review. This is where the proposed plans are evaluated for structural integrity, (are the footings sized for the loads? Are the lintels suitable? Are joists sized for the spans and loads?), environmental protection (is the insulation sufficient? Is there sufficient ventilation?) as well as fire and life safety.  Proceeding to build without this "second set of eyes" on a plan is risky as well as illegal. And it can cost a lot of money.

Possible repercussions of starting work without a permit include:

  • Costs to have an engineer certify undersized footings are capable of handling structural and snow loads
  • Costs required to remove construction that encroaches a protected wetland or river corridor
  • Costs required to retroactively apply for variances (setback, lot size limits, land use)
  • Delays caused by contractors moving to other work during a period when a stop work order is in force
  • Costs required to replace work that didn't comply to Code
  • And, if the matter warrants, fines.

The bottom line - call us. Please don't build without a permit.