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Do You Really Need a Building Permit?

During my sixteen years at Northlight Architects, I have helped dozens of Owners get building permits for their construction projects.  But many times, a Client will ask – Why do I need a building permit?
If it is a very small project, with no structural changes, no electrical work, repair and replace, minor repairs, etc., a permit is not required.  You should check with your local municipality.  In Chicago, there is a page that explains when a permit is not required. –
It’s true that obtaining a building permit adds cost to a project – in additional drawings, inspections, time to get the permit, etc.  But I think there is an added value to obtaining a building permit.
  1. PAST ISSUES - It is a way to confirm that there are no previous, outstanding violations, fees, or issues with the state of your building.
  2. RESALE VALUE - It will add value to your home, especially resale value.  When selling, you can state that a permit was obtained, and all work passed inspections and meets code.
  3. CONTRACTOR - It is a way to ensure that the contractor is following code requirements, helping to make sure materials and workmanship are to a proper standard, installed in a logical sequence.
  4. INSPECTIONS - Building Inspections provide a check, and allows a second set of eyes to review quality of work and adherence to code requirements.
  5. NEW VIOLATIONS – It is a way to avoid additional cost, such as a Stop Work Order, fines, or construction delays, if reported by neighbors, or noticed by City inspectors.
If you are undertaking a major renovation in your building, a Building Permit is a good idea.Northlight Architects has extensive experience in obtaining permits, and is willing to help you on your next project.


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