Permit required even for some simple jobs
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.
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.
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.