No matter how much you try to take care of your house and keep it in good condition, sooner or later you are going to have to make some improvements. Some are smaller, while others can consist in greater projects that you have to announce the authorities about. Of course, you probably have no idea about what are the remodelling projects or improvements you should get a permit for, which is why we strongly advise you to get informed before starting any arrangement per se. Getting an authorisation from zonal officials or city government is highly important, because it ensures everything is alright with your property, as far as law and safety are concerned. Read on to find out how a permit can secure your house, and which the improvements that actually require one are.

Why do you have to get an authorisation?

As mentioned above, obtaining a permit for major reconstruction or improvement projects helps authorities keep track of what happens with your property, for legal and safety purposes. For example, changes involving the electricity system need to be declared, because if anything goes bad, it may cause serious damage, not only to your house but to the entire area. Inspectors will supervise the entire process, making sure short circuiting and electrocution risks are eliminated. Another reason why you have to obtain permit for major changes is to have everything legally up to date, in case you want to sell the real estate at some point – no buyer will want to purchase a property that does not have all its papers in order.

Which are the projects that require a permit?

This may come as a surprise, but there are plenty of common projects that you should obtain an authorisation for. For example, installing windows – but only if the new ones are larger than the old ones, because this involves cutting new holes that are likely to affect the structure of the construction. Fence repairs also require you to address the officials, since certain cities have particular demands and restrictions related to height. Another type of project that cannot happen without a permit, mainly for safety reasons, are those including plumbing and electrical work: replacing electrical wiring, installing new switches and outlets etc. Heating maintenance, structural changes and additions such as a conservatory, garage or a pool are also listed in this category.

What projects do not require a permit?

Renovating without an authorisation is possible, but only if it involves small, superficial changes. Wallpapering or repainting, for example, are some of the simplest improvements you can make without a permit. Also, small plumbing and electrical projects, like changing bulbs or lamps, can be done without announcing the authorities, because they do not influence wiring whatsoever. Besides these, other adjustments you can do by yourself are: installing flooring, getting new countertops, replacing a faucet and landscaping (both indoor and outdoor).

If you are not sure about what to do, just hire a specialized contractor and they will let you know whether you have to check with an inspector before starting.