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Why Get Permits & Inspections

There are many important reasons to obtain the required building permit(s) and to obtain the required
inspections for your construction project.
Helps protect property value
Your home or business is an investment. If your construction project does not comply with the codes
adopted by your community, the value of your investment could be reduced.
Saves Money
Property insurers may not cover work or damages caused by work done without permits and
Makes Selling Property Easier
When property is sold through a multiple listing association, the owner is required to disclose any
improvements or repairs made and if permits and inspections were obtained. Many financial
institutions will not finance a purchase without proof of a final inspection. If you decide to sell a home
or building that has had modifications without a permit, you may be required to tear down the
addition, leave it unoccupied or do costly repairs.
Improves safety
Your permit allows the code official to reduce potential hazards of unsafe construction to provide for
public health, safety and welfare. By following code guidelines, your completed project will meet
minimum standards of safety and will be less likely to cause injury to you, your family, and your
friends or future owners. Mandatory inspections complement the contractors experience and act as a
system of checks and balances resulting in a safer project.
Its the Law
Work requiring permits are made such by City Ordinance. Work without a permit may be subject to
removal or other costly remedies.

The Importance of Building Permits

Permits are very important and can help homeowners avoid some serious headaches. First of all,
they ensure that the individual doing the work is a licensed professional. This means they are insured
and bonded, which can protect you in case they damage your home and in case an employee injures
themselves on your property (note: always ask for a copy of their insurance certificate before signing
any contract). The permit process also protects you against safety issues (electrical, structural, etc)
and ensures that there is proper egress (the ability of a person to escape a building in case of fire or
the ability to allow a firefighter with full equipment to enter a building). To a homeowner, it all boils
down to having it done right the first time.
We had a seller recently who purchased a home 5 years ago that had a finished attic, but without
permits. The attic space was finished (drywall, carpet, light fixtures), heated and cooled, and also
included a bathroom. Now that they are ready to move, they began the retroactive permit process,
and quickly found out the professional that did the work was not so professional. $7,000 later (all
new plumbing, new bathroom floor, new drywall, new electrical) they got their CO. Both the electrical
and plumbing were referred to as ticking time bombs by the general contract who had to replace
everything. Why did the sellers go through the headache of retroactively permitting their attic?
Because a buyer was going to demand it anyways. Think about it from a buyers perspective. Would

you purchase a property if there was no guarantee that all or part of it was built properly? What if you
had bought a property that had unpermitted space and that ticking time bomb exploded?
So, how do you tell if a space is unpermitted? There is no real scientific answer (unless you are a
contractor or home inspector). Sometimes you just get a feeling when you walk into a room.
Sometimes there is evidence it was finished after the rest of the home (weatherstripping on a door
frame between 2 finished areas, different finishes than the rest of the house, window unit heat/AC).
Sometimes its obvious it wasnt done professionally (drywall seams and joints are done poorly,
awkward placement of vents or windows, uneven or improper trim). You can also check with the
county tax records for the square footage notedif there is a large discrepancy, unpermitted space
could be to blame because the tax assessors office isnt aware of the space.
Unpermitted space has become such a hot button item in real estate, that the North Carolina Real
Estate Commission has made formal recommendations about the issue. They have even added a
question regarding permits on the Residential Property Disclosure form that is required in all
transactions in the state. The Commissions opinion is that unpermitted space should be disclosed on
the Residential Property Disclosure form and should not be considered heated square footage. They
also say that Realtors should also disclose the issue on the MLS listing.
If you have unpermitted space, I highly recommend that you work towards getting it permitted. You
will need to contact the town, city, or county that your property is in, as well as a general contractor
that will be willing to sign off on the permit. Sometimes, all you need is a licensed electrician,
plumber, or HVAC contract, rather than a GC, but your municipality should be able to answer that for
you. If you need recommendations on contractors, please feel free to give me or Courtney a call. I
feel very strongly about getting the space permitted simply because I have come across it time after
time, and in every instance it will be an objection to the buyer. If you decide to wait until you get an
offer from a buyer, it will always be a stipulation or contingency in the contract that the space must be
permitted, which will give you a much smaller time frame to work with, rather than initiating the
process on your own. Why give a buyer another reason to pass your listing by? They have so many
homes to choose from in this market, that any little objection will turn buyers off.
I understand that there are headaches involved in pulling permits, but the extra cost involved is well
worth having a home that is more marketable (and safer!). The less time your home sits on the
market, the more money in your pocket (both in the selling price and the carrying costs).
Occupancy permits
Occupancy permits are documents that signify that a building surveyor is satisfied that the completed
building work is suitable for occupation. The Building Act 1993 requires the issue of an occupancy
permit prior to occupation of a building where a building permit states that one is required.
When are occupancy permits required?
A building permit will specify whether you require either an occupancy permit or a certificate of final
inspection prior to occupation of a building.
Building work for a new home (including units or apartments) will always require an occupancy permit
to be issued. It is an offence to occupy a new home that does not have an occupancy permit.
A certificate of final inspection is issued for extensions or alterations to existing homes. Extensions
and alterations do not require an occupancy permit as the existing building should already have had
an occupancy permit issued on its completion. Again, the requirement for issue of a certificate of final
inspection will be indicated on the building permit.

What is the process?

Occupancy permits are issued when your building is considered suitable for occupation. An
application for an occupancy permit is made to the relevant building surveyor. In deciding whether to
issue an occupancy permit, the building surveyor may request certificates or statements from various
practitioners involved in the construction of the building to confirm that the work complies with
relevant building legislation.
Occupancy permits and building contracts
Where the value of your building work is more than $5,000 and is being carried out by a builder, the
builder must be a registered building practitioner in the appropriate category and/or class and must
carry out the work under a major domestic building contract.
With respect to occupancy permits, section 42 of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995sets out
the conditions to be met before a builder can request a final payment from you. The final payment
cannot be claimed until the work carried out under the contract has been completed in accordance
with the plans and specifications as set out in the contract and the building owner has been given
either a copy of the occupancy permit or a copy of the certificate of final inspection. You should read
the contract and if you don't understand it, seek legal advice.
In the case of apartments that are bought off the plan, occupation may still not be possible even if an
occupancy permit has been issued for an individual unit. This may be due to contractual
arrangements such as completion of the contract and settlement.
You should obtain legal advice to ensure you understand when settlement will occur and whether it is
tied to the issuing of an occupancy permit (or the final inspection or some other factor).
What if there is still ongoing building work?
An occupancy permit will be issued to you when the relevant building surveyor is satisfied that items
affecting health and safety are in place and fully operational. These include things such as the water
supply, smoke alarms, safety glass, handrails and balustrades. It does not mean that all the painting
is done, that the carpet is laid or that all the fittings are installed, for example.
For a high-rise apartment, in addition to it being suitable to occupy, an occupancy permit means that
the common areas have been made safe and useable, but they may not necessarily have been
The relationship between the occupancy permit and your contract of sale (or domestic building
contract) should be clear to you before entering into the relevant contract. If you have any doubts or
do not understand the relationship you should obtain legal advice.
Regardless of whether an occupancy permit has been issued, a builder is still responsible for the
construction of a building in accordance with the relevant contract and/or approved building permit
documents that form part of that contract. It is advisable that you clearly understand your obligations
and conditions of contract prior to signing.
For more information regarding contracts made under the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995,
please contact Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 558 181.

BAGUIO CITY The city government enhanced the process of securing building, occupancy and
other permits required under the National Building Code.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan issued the checklist in securing the said permits to guide future applicants.
For building permits, the following requirements need to be submitted: in case the owner/applicant is
the registered owner of lot, a certified true copy of title (updated not more than three months), certified
true copy of award with approved survey plan and clear picture of site; in case the applicant is not the
registered owner of the lot, photocopy of the contract of lease, deed of sale, contract to sale and duly
notarized authorization from owner with survey plan;
Photocopy of tax declaration (not applicable if the lot is order of award), real property tax receipt or
certificate of non-tax delinquency; forms, building plans, building specifications and bill of materials
duly signed and sealed by civil engineer/architect, sanitary engineer/master plumber for
sanitary/plumbing plans, professional electrical engineer for electrical plans, professional mechanical
engineer for mechanical plans and civil/structural engineer for structural plans; structural design
computation for buildings with floor area of 20 sq.m. or more and seismic analysis for buildings of two
storeys or more; soil analysis for concrete and commercial/residential buildings with three storeys and
over; xerox copy of updated professional tax receipt and Professional Regulations Commission
(PRC) identification of all professional signatories to the application forms and plans;
Zoning compliance certificate; fire safety evaluation clearance; environmental compliance certificate
for buildings as follows: three storeys including basement and/or deck and four storeys and above;
certificate of compliance from city environment and parks management office (septic tank or
sewerage); construction logbook; construction board; clearances, from other government agencies,
pursuant to no. 12 (b) of section 302 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the National
Building Code, if applicable, Dept. of Public Works and Highways for properties located alongside
national roads, Aviation Transportation Office (ATO) for properties located alongside airports,
Presidential Security Group (PSG) for properties is located near Mansion House; duly notarized
certification from the civil engineer on the stability of the structure if it already exists; and duly
notarized certification from the geodetic engineer that the existing structure conforms with the site
development plan.
The process involves the receiving of applications, pre-assessment or evaluation of technical plans,
assessment of fees and evaluation of plans, approval, payment of fees and release of the permit.
For occupancy permits, the documents needed are certified photo copy of approved building permits;
fire safety inspection certificate; logbook; photographs of front, rear, right and left side elevations; city
environment and parks management office (CEPMO) certificates on tree planting and mode of waste
disposal and duly notarized special power of attorney if the application is not the owner.
The process involves the receiving of applications, inspection, assessment of fees and evaluation of
plans, approval, payment of fees and release of the permit. A Refuerzo