The safety of the occupants of homes, buildings, and structures is the primary reason for having construction codes. These codes are addressed in permits, which allow cities to regulate construction and ensure that it is done correctly and safely.
Different cities adopt different codes; among them: the Uniform Building code, the Mechanical and Plumbing code, and National Electrical codes. In addition, there are federal, state and local laws that govern construction, such as those covering energy conservation.
Small projects, like installing drywall, painting or similar finish work; fences six feet high or lower; platforms, decks, and walks, do not require a permit. However, most large-scale remodeling projects do. For that reason, bigger remodeling projects are best managed by an experienced general contractor or a full-service Design/Build Company (like Medford Design-Build!) in which they handle the permitting process for you. Here are a few things required in the permit process: (but not limited to):
- Submitting a set of Plans: Plans must be submitted in compliance of Zoning and Code regulations for your city property address. Plans for projects such as room additions are usually provided by your contractor or can be created by a draftsman. Other projects may require plans prepared and signed by an architect or engineer licensed by the State. A full-service Design/Build Company (like Medford Design-Build!) usually hain-housese draftsmen and engineers and architects available for consultation.
- Liability Insurance: Cities require contractors to have liability insurance to mitigate risk during a building project. The insurance covers injuries and or damage to people and property during the course of the project.
- Build to the Plans: Your contractor should ensure the project is built to the approved plans. If the plans are changed while building the project, this will cause problems when the project is inspected. If you do decide to make changes, the contractor should check with the city’s plan review staff before moving forward with the construction.
- City Inspections throughout Project: Your contractor should call the city for inspections at specific times during construction. Inspections are made at certain points in the project, depending on the work that’s being performed. For example, room additions require inspections of the foundation before the concrete is poured, inspections of the framing before it is covered up, inspections of the insulation, and when all work is finished. Larger projects can have up to 8 inspections and the project is not complete for legal purposes until it has passed the final inspection!
FAQ’s about Permits:
How long does it take to get a city permit?
Permit issuance periods vary. Some projects can be fully permitted over-the-counter, meaning a return trip won’t be needed. Some projects, however, require that plans be left for additional review. For larger projects, a city permit can take up to 1 or 2 months depending on the scope of the project and plan corrections that need to be made for approval.
What happens if a permit is NOT obtained?
If a permit (when needed) is not obtained before construction, the contractor will be in violation of city codes and regulations and could be subject to substantial fines and penalties and will also be required to obtain permits for the work completed and it must pass inspection- OR, your contractor will have to return the structure or site to its original condition (demo the site), and begin again with a city permit. Yikes!
How long is a city permit valid after obtained for a project?
City Permits typically expire after 180 days if no inspections have been made on the specific project/address it was obtained for.
For any other questions, contact your City Planning & Development Department.
Our team at Medford Design-Build has been creating designs, plans and obtaining city permits for our clients for over 30 years! Contact us today to get started on your home remodeling project, and let us do all the work for you!
The Medford Design-Build Team