Renovations? Here's when you need to get the permit

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Mark Stauffer has lived in this home for 35 years and he decided it's time to make some updates.

"We're removing an inside wall to make a more open space and actually moving the kitchen to the opposite of the room, making it an open kitchen with an island," homeowner, Mark Stauffer said. "There is electrical, plumbing, and structural work being done and those all require permits."

Whether your home improvement project requires a permit varies depending on where you live, but most laws require that you not build, move, significantly alter or add to a building without a permit.

"It actually provides you important protection. For example, in some scenarios a contractor must be licensed in order to get the permit so it adds an extra layer of protection for you," Angie Hicks of Angie's List said.

Remodeler Thomas Pearson says a fair amount of planning must be done before pulling a permit.

"It's very important that if a room addition is being built that the setbacks are correct. There's a certain amount you are supposed to have and planning is the most important part of the job. If the planning is done very well in the beginning then the rest of the job will run well," Pearson said.

A permit for a small project may range in the $100 range or less, while a bigger project like a home addition can cost more than $900.
If you skip the permit process in order to save a few bucks Angie's List warns you could end up paying more in the long run.

Angie's List says if a contractor asks you to pull your own permits that could be a red flag the contractor isn't insured or doesn't have the required license to do the work.

So where do you go to learn if your project requires a permit?

No matter whether you are hiring a contractor or doing the work yourself, check with your local building department.