Per­mit re­quired even for some sim­ple jobs

Tillsonburg News - - SPORTS - MIKE HOLMES Mike Holmes and his son, Mike Jr. are back! Watch Holmes And Holmes pre­mier­ing Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. on HGTV Canada. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit

Do you need a per­mit for that job? For the big things, like al­ter­ing your elec­tri­cal, or mak­ing ma­jor changes to the struc­ture of your dwelling, the an­swer is an ob­vi­ous yes. But what about smaller jobs where you aren’t chang­ing much? Well the an­swer to that can vary.

Al­ways check your lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity to see if you need a per­mit be­fore you do any work, even if they’re not on the list here. At the end of the day, as homeowners, we’re re­spon­si­ble for com­ply­ing with build­ing code. With­out the proper doc­u­men­ta­tion, you could wind up with costly con­struc­tion de­lays, or be forced to re­move work that’s al­ready been com­pleted.

Here are some less com­mon jobs where you might not think you’ll need a per­mit, but you ac­tu­ally do:

In­stalling a back­wa­ter valve

In my opin­ion, a back­wa­ter valve is some­thing that ev­ery home should have. What’s a back­wa­ter valve? It’s a valve that’s in­stalled on your sewer line that al­lows sewage and wa­ter to flow in only one di­rec­tion: away from your home.

If your mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s sewer backs up, the wa­ter and sewage can flow back to­ward your home, usu­ally find­ing a re­lease in a base­ment drain, caus­ing ma­jor dam­age. The back­wa­ter valve has a small flap, with a floata­tion de­vice that al­lows wa­ter to exit away from your home. In case of a backup, the floater will raise up, clos­ing the flap — keep­ing wa­ter out.

It’s a sim­ple de­vice that could save you a ma­jor headache in the case of a sewer backup. And you need a per­mit toin­stal­lone.You­can,how­ever,in­stall a sump pump with­out a per­mit.

Build­ing a shed

Dream­ing of a big shed to hold all your tools? Well you’ll need a per­mit for that — prob­a­bly. Any struc­ture you want to build that’s larger than 10 square feet will likely need a per­mit. This is true even if there won’t be any plumb­ing or elec­tri­cal in­volved. In the case a per­mit is not re­quired, you’ll still need to look into zon­ing and lo­cal by­laws. There may be re­stric­tions on the ma­te­ri­als you can use, or where you can place it on your prop­erty. Don’t think you can take a short­cut just be­cause you’re keep­ing it small.

And even if the ad­di­tion is smaller than 10 square feet, if it will be di­rectly at­tached to the home, a per­mit is al­ways re­quired. This means that if you’re plan­ning a new garage, pool house, or work­shop — even if it’s re­ally bare­bones, you’ll still need to ac­quire that per­mit.

Re­tain­ing walls

A re­tain­ing wall may be small, but it can be mighty. While some are for aes­thet­ics, many re­tain­ing walls are built to keep soil in place, pre­vent­ing ero­sion on your prop­erty. Gen­er­ally, if a re­tain­ing wall is go­ing to be higher than one me­tre, as well as near pub­lic prop­erty (and that in­cludes city streets), you’re go­ing to need a per­mit.

Even if your re­tain­ing wall doesn’t need a per­mit, I wouldn’t tackle it as a DIY job. I’d still rec­om­mend bring­ing in the ex­per­tise of an en­gi­neer to cal­cu­late the proper sup­port needed for its size.

Chang­ing a build­ing’s use

When you change the pur­pose of a build­ing, you’ll need a per­mit — even if you’re not plan­ning any con­struc­tion. What does that mean? Maybe you’ve ac­quired a great home that’ll be the per­fect of­fice for your busi­ness — you need a per­mit for that. Is there an ex­tra suite in your home that’s never been used, but could gen­er­ate some ex­tra in­come? By chang­ing from a single dwelling unit, to a multi-dwelling home, you’ll need to get a per­mit.

A pur­pose of a per­mit isn’t to be a cash grab — it’s for your pro­tec­tion. Ac­quir­ing the proper per­mits for any job lets you know that any work you’ve had com­pleted has been done safely, and at least to code. Al­ways do your re­search to know if your project will re­quire a per­mit. Like I said, with­out the right per­mit, you could be forced to sus­pend con­struc­tion, and even undo work that’s al­ready been com­pleted. Get the per­mit and save your­self the trou­ble.

Hand­Out/poSt­media Net­work

Build­ing ex­pert Mike Holmes says even the most sim­plest of build­ing and im­prove­ment projects at your home will re­quire a build­ing per­mit from your mu­nic­i­pal­ity. He says it’s best to first check with your town or city gov­ern­ment be­fore go­ing ahead with a project.

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