“A contractor pulling a permit is a crucial step in any exterior remodeling project, especially roof replacement,” said Scott Cline, owner of J&B Construction. “The main reason is that it is a safeguard to protect the homeowner.” Although regulations can vary by municipality, a general rule of thumb is that a permit is required for projects that surpass maintenance, basic repairs, or simple aesthetic upgrades.
Not only does a permit ensure that the construction company is following proper building code, but it may also ensure that the contractor is certified, licensed, and has no open violations. Moreover, it provides future homeowners with accurate records, such as the age of the roof. “It’s also imperative that the contractor pulls the permit and not the homeowner because if you take out the permit yourself, you are legally responsible for the work being up to code instead of the contractor,” Scott said.
If a city building inspector finds out a permit was not pulled for a reroof or other exterior remodeling project, the homeowner can be fined for violating city building code, which can vary based on residence. In the case that anything was built on the property, city officials can order to have part or the entire project demolished if it does not follow building codes or zoning ordinances. Under certain circumstances, the city can even shut down a project altogether. “Remember to consider the viewpoint of a building inspector because their primary objective is to protect citizens and establish that the work they have done on their homes exhibits quality craftsmanship,” he said. If the city allows dishonest, uncertified contractors to work on houses, it likely won’t take long for their work to fall into disrepair. Homes that were once picturesque would be damaged beyond restoration. Furthermore, the city is careful to avoid legal issues, which is why it ensures that contractors meet or exceed the mandatory requirements.
As an added layer of precaution before you pay the final bill, you can call the city and confirm that the permit pulled by the contractor was finalized, meaning that all of the paperwork has been filed and is complete. “Not only will this extra step allow you to determine if anything was missed in the permit process, it also gives you peace of mind so you can rest assured that you and your contractor followed all of the necessary legal requirements for your roof replacement or other exterior project,” Scott said. Keep in the mind that the physical permit should be kept on-site throughout the duration of a project.
Even though permits cost money and take time to process, professional contractors with valid insurance will not proceed on a project until a permit is obtained. Plus, the benefits outweigh the risks, considering homeowners can face project delays, voided warranties, higher project costs and fines, difficulties selling the home, and more if they’re caught without one. On top of that, anyone, including a neighbor, is capable of calling the building department to determine if a permit has been issued. “Ultimately, permits, inspections, and other regulations were created to keep homeowners and their families safe,” said Scott.