Despite the clear regulations and the fact that a building permit is one of the first things to get when starting a construction project, many projects are still run without a proper permit. The failure to get a construction permit could be the result of a deliberate decision or mismanagement by the construction company hired for the project.
Either way, the homeowner is always responsible for the construction project. Without a permit, there are some consequences that you may have to face. Before we get to what will happen if you start construction of a building without a permit, let’s discuss when a permit is needed first.
When to Get a Permit
The simplest answer to the question, “when do I need a building permit?” is, well, before starting any construction project. Whether it is a new construction project, maintenance work, or home improvement projects designed to fix things around the house, you have to go through the process of acquiring permits.
The permits are required for good reasons too. You may be looking to dig a new hole, and the city needs to know if you are digging near a gas or water line. Making changes to the electrical system and wiring imposes a fire risk, which is why a permit is required so the city can help you mitigate those risks.
There is also the fact that certain projects need to be done by the right people. Hiring general contractors to work on plumbing or electrical systems is recognized as one of the most common Chicago building violations. If you are making changes to the electrical system, you need to enlist the help of Chicago engineers who specialize in electricity.
First of all, if your contractor suggests continuing with the work without getting a permit for the project, it is highly recommended to simply find another contractor for the project. If the construction company is willing to cut corners and skip getting a proper permit, they will most likely cut corners when working on your property.
If you continue with the project without a permit and the city knows about it once it is started, you will be forced to get a building permit. Of course, you have to pay a fine and a higher permitting fee. Rather than saving money by not getting a permit, you will end up paying double or triple the amount on additional charges.
The city can also decide to shut down the project; that will cost you more too. Even worse, an inspection needs to be conducted before you can get a permit and continue with the project. In some cases, that inspection means being forced to return the property to its original, pre-modification condition.
More Consequences Ahead
Not having a permit for your project brings other consequences too. Getting financing for the project is more difficult. You will find selling the property more difficult because potential buyers will want to see the papers for the property are in order.
If you are still thinking about starting a project without a permit, don’t. The hassle of getting a permit is much more manageable than the consequences you will face when you don’t have one.