DIY Projects That Really Need a Building Permit TextAudioPicture

We’re always telling folks to get all required legal permits and approvals for their home improvement projects.DIYpodcast

According to building department officials in Arizona, here are the five most common plans that homeowners take on without a permit and what can go wrong with them:

  • Turning a carport into a garage. It seems like an easy job.  Just put up walls and slap a garage door outfront. But if you didn’t put up strong enough posts to support the new “garage,” the roof could sag.
  • Turning a garage into a bedroom, a family room or office. Homeowners often leave the garage door outfront so that no one will suspect what they’re up to inside. The problem is that you might neglect to install the proper electrical outlets in the garage and you neglect to install a smoke detector.
  • Putting a roof over a patio. You didn’t have enough posts to support the new patio and now the roof is sagging. That’s because the patio roof isn’t supported by the house, it’s hanging from the fascia boards that are lightly tacked onto the exterior.
  • Turning patios into livable space like a bedroom or family room. But if you don’t raise the level of the floor of the patio to the level of the rest of the house, you might end up with water flooding into your new family room.
  • Running gas lines to outdoor barbecues, fireplaces or fire pits. This can be dangerous if the work is not installed by registered contractors.

All these problems can also make it difficult to sell your home later on. But if you go to the city or county now, before anyone complains about your “improvements,” you can often get a permit at the regular price and fix whatever is wrong. Several officials from Arizona cities tell us they’re willing to work with homeowners and that they rarely make anyone tear anything down.