Permits are considered necessary to ensure public safety and verify compliance with local land use regulations. If it seems that a permit of some type is needed for almost all construction work, that’s probably correct. There are a few exceptions to the general rule and they can be confusing. The need for construction permits is driven by State law and the Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC).
Projects Requiring a Permit
So when is a permit required? Let’s go through the list given in the USBC:
A permit is required when constructing, altering, demolishing or moving any buildings or altering or installing any equipment regulated by the building code and for any change in occupancy. This is the main catch-all and covers most everything. If it’s addressed by any of the model codes adopted by the USBC, a permit is probably required. We field questions on this topic daily and we welcome your call.
A permit is required when moving a lot line. A lot line refers to a property line and although it’s rare to move a property line after a building is erected, it’s still allowable. The reason a permit is required is due to the consideration given to the distance a building is set back from the property lines. If the building is too close to the property line, special construction requirements are triggered so that a fire will not adversely affect buildings on the adjoining property.
A permit is required when removing or disturbing sections of asbestos. Due to the hazards presented by asbestos, messing with and disposing of it are closely regulated. This is triggered by alterations, remodeling or demolition.