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What Can Really Happen if I Don't Get a Permit for My Home Project?

What Can Really Happen if I Don't Get a Permit for My Home Project?

You’ve probably noticed that we mention permits quite a bit. What are these permits, and why do I need them? Most importantly, what happens if I don’t get one? Can’t be serious, can it? Well, it turns out it can be quite serious if something goes wrong. Let us explain!

If you need a permit for some electrical work, don’t fret because we at EVSOL Energy are experts in pretty much all things electrical. We can help you obtain that permit, as well as determine what exactly needs to be rectified, replaced, or upgraded. So, by reaching out to us for a comprehensive consultation, you could actually be saving money!

In the meantime, read on about why you need permits for certain home improvement or renovation jobs, and what you could stand to face if you forego the permits.

Hang On... How Do I Know if I Need a Permit or Not?

This is a very valid question, and an area where many people get caught out. Believe it or not, we’ve had people ask us if they need a permit to change a lightbulb! The answer is, no you do not. Other things that you don’t need a permit for are if you’re updating your light fixtures, changing your faucets, doing some painting work, making some cosmetic updates in your kitchen, or installing storm windows.

Surprisingly, some more intensive tasks such as adding new flooring, installing new cabinets, or shelving, and even replacing a bathtub or sink don’t require a permit, in the case of the latter, unless you relocate these items to a new space or area that they weren’t originally at. So, if you think your bathtub is going to look swish at the other end of the bathroom, you will need a permit for that move.

Let’s move on to things that do need a permit, and that list is quite interesting too. If you’re building a fence or retaining wall around your property, you need a permit. If you’re doing any electrical work beyond updating light fixtures, you need a permit. Of course if you’re installing or upgrading your HVAC system, you need a permit. Even installing a gas stove needs a permit which isn’t surprising, since messing around with gas can be quite dangerous to your health.

Other permit-required activities include knocking down walls or erecting new ones, building a shed, building a deck, updating or improving your basement, and even installing new doors and windows.

How Much Does it Cost?

The cost of permits can vary widely, between two and four figures. As an example, a fencing permit can cost as little as $20, whilst remodelling an entire garage can run you upwards of $1,500. For electrical permits, have a look at this page by Technical Safety to determine the approximate cost of a permit for your work. Do note that the fees referenced are just for service installations. Most EV installations do not require any service work / installations / upgrades. The permit fees for most work would fall under the "Contractor Installation Permits", which are based on the total value of the job, excluding fixtures.

Therefore, they will be $172 or $279, dpeending on the price of the job ($1,000 to $2500 jobs are $172, while $2,500 to $5,000 jobs are $279). Don’t forget that there’s a time cost involved as well. Permits can take up to six weeks to be granted, and given that there’s a pandemic in progress, budget for additional time delays. This means that a major electrical or home renovation project is not a spur-of-the-moment thing, at least not unless you want to fall into trouble down the line.

I'm Feeling Brave... What's the Worst that Could Happen Anyways?

Dear reader, if you’re feeling brave, ask someone to talk you out of it. The permit system wasn’t implemented for the sake of making money, but there is a sound rationale behind it, and that is to keep everyone safe. Some of the consequences of your clandestine work done without a permit could include:

Your home safety could be at risk, especially with electrical, HVAC, gas, and major structural changes. Electrical fires are a very real hazard, and we need not touch on the danger of a gas leak. HVAC systems use pressurized gas as well which can cause injury and property damage if improperly installed. The damage from major structural changes can also be fatal, for example an improperly erected wall could fall on top of an occupant of the home. Permits ensure that work is done to code, that safety is not compromised and that post-work inspections are conducted to ensure that there is no risk to anyone’s life.

You can fall foul of the law, and it can be very costly. Your local government can charge you a fine for working without a permit, and this fine can be as high as $500 per day. Whatever money you thought you could save by skirting around getting a permit will be lost, as you will end up more out of pocket than if you had simply obtained a permit. If you refuse to pay the fine, the county can put a lien on your home. If such unlicensed work is discovered during a later routine inspection, a home inspector can mandate you to demolish or reverse the changes. This will be even more costly.

If you’ve taken out insurance on your home, such work will invalidate any insurance policies, and you may have a hard time getting insurance in the future too. Furthermore, if an injury or loss of property is sustained, the insurance company may not pay out due to the unlicensed work carried out.

Finally, when the time comes to sell your home, you could have a very hard time selling it, as most prospective buyers will require an inspection before purchase. You are required by law to disclose any refurbishments and updates done on your home throughout its life, and if these have been done sans permits, you may have to pay further fines and fees to secure retroactive permits.

Don't Sweat Permits... Talk to Us

If all this seems a bit daunting, it isn’t really. The way to do things right is surprisingly easy. We at EVSOL Energy are on hand to help. Just give us a call and we’d be happy to drop by and have a chat. We will help you obtain the necessary permits, as well as provide a lifetime labor guarantee on any work done by our master electricians – that’s how confident we are in our work. Furthermore, our quotes clearly define materials and labor so you know exactly what you are paying for. Choose EVSOL Energy for peace of mind.

EVSOL - Smart Home Solutions

At EVSOL, we offer a comprehensive range of smart home solutions, encompassing the aforementioned EV charger installations, as well as any kind of electrical works for your home. We are also specialized in smart home appliances, lighting, solar and security solutions. And yes, installing these will also need permits, which we are more than happy to obtain on your behalf. We take care of everything!

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