By using drywall in your basement, you can completely change the unused space into a playroom, living room, or working space. But, do you need a building permit to finish this basement project? Well, I’ve done some research and found out some details that you need to know before going for this home improvement project.
So, do you need a building permit to remodel your basement?
The answer is: Yes! Each county in the United States has different construction laws, but, in general, every homeowner should get a permit when beginning a basement finishing project. Make sure, you acquire the needed permits.
Neglecting this procedure could cost you a lot of money and headaches in the future. Getting a building permit is a process to ensure that the work you are doing in your house is done accurately, which is for safety reasons under current building codes.
Many homeowners don’t feel the importance to pay extra cost for the permit when they are just putting up drywall in their home, but lots of problems can arise while doing renovations without a proper permit.
The Value of a Building Permit
Even if you aren’t actually making any changes in your basement, you should always get a building permit. A building permit is a document assigned by your local government, usually your city or town, that approves any building project. Before a permit is issued, the project will be investigated by a county inspection officer who will make sure that your project is up to code with other local building standards.
Refinishing the basement is one of those jobs that people often do without a building permit. Since the work isn’t visible from the street, the thinking goes, why not save the time and cost of the permitting process—and the tax increase that comes with an officially expanded living space? This is a mistake.Josh Garskof, Money Magazine
- If the project follows current building codes, you will be able to complete it without any trouble and will avoid any fines or charges you might run into the near future.
- One more important reason to get a building permit is to keep yourself safe from any charges for faulty construction issues. For instance, if you remodel your basement and for some reason, there is a fire breakout, you might not get insurance coverage from your insurance company because the area which was affected by the fire was not approved by a building permit.
- You can get fined for working in your basement without a building permit. If you start drywalling your basement and making any changes without a building permit, you could get in serious problem if you are caught by the local government. You may even have to stop everything, demolish, and start over. This can be pretty costly.
- In case you want to sell your house in the future, a realtor will want to see the building permit for any remodeled area of your house, and without the permit, your house could lose its value and in worst case scenario you might have to tear apart your basement.
Here are the different projects you should need a building permit for:
- Changing electrical wiring
- Restructuring the plumbing system
- New construction
- Making any structural changes to your home’s layout
- Large renovation projects such as updating your kitchen
How Much Does a Drywall Permit Cost?
Permit prices vary depending on your county and the project size. For example, If you are going to build a home, the permit may cost anywhere from $500 to $1,700. But, for a smaller project, a Drywall permit might only cost you between $100 to $500.
The main factor in deciding a permit cost is based on the estimated cost of the renovation you are going to do. In case of a costly renovation, your permit cost might also get more expensive.
“The national average cost of a building permit is $1,061, with most homeowners spending between $435 and $1,812. This data is based on actual project costs according to HomeAdvisor members.”Homeadvisor.com
When You Don’t Need a Permit?
For most home renovation projects, you must apply for a permit. For very few instances like painting your house, laying flooring, you won’t need one. Even outdoor projects such as building a fence around your property demands permit from your local government.
If you are appointing any professional contracted worker, sometime they will obtain the work permit, so in that case, you won’t need to. But, for any DIY project, you will need to get the permit. Make sure to talk about the permit details with your contractor before you begin the renovation.
How to Obtain a Building Permit
Getting a permit may seem like a difficult task, and the process might feel too complicated. But, if you are prepared, you will not face any unexpected challenges.
I’ve done a little research and put together the basic steps you should follow to get yourself a building permit.
Still, you should call your local building office and explain your plan to them to confirm the steps they require for permit plan submission. This will help you to get feedback on possible issues with your project.
You can also visit your local building office’s website to check for project details.
- Obtain a permit application. Some building offices even keep the building permit applications on their website for easy access for the citizens.
- Complete permit application. The terms listed on the permit application might vary depending on your city or town’s coding and zoning laws, but normally, you will need to show your building plan and get the proper signatures.
- In some cases, you may also need to submit an architectural rendering of the space by a licensed architect.
- At the end submit building permit and proper submission fees.
What Will You Need To Apply for a Permit?
- A drawing of your design to scale that includes:
- Room descriptions and labels, as well as the height of the ceiling
- Smoke detector locations
- Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC locations
- The permit application and permit fee (about $1 per square foot)
After you get the permit and construction begins, you will need inspections at various stages to check:
At the end of your project, an inspector will do a final walkthrough to make sure the entire project meets the requirements and is up to building code. Once the project is passed by the inspector, you can freely use your newly updated space!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a permit to install drywall?
Usually, you have to get a permit or inquire about permit needs on the building office website, before you begin the project. This will prevent you from facing fines and consequences in time. Even if you are just installing drywall, Go and get a permit.
Is insulation required to finish a basement?
In most cases, building codes will demand using insulation when finishing a basement. But, you should check with your local building office and determine what they demand along with their permit.
How much does it cost to drywall a basement?
The cost of drywall depends on many factors, but usually, drywall costs $1 per square foot. However, you should also consider the cost of labor, the size of the room when determining the overall expense. This is undeniable when you are hiring someone to install the drywall for you.