Contrary to what most people think, acquiring a permit for the basement is very important. If not done at the right time, the only thing you will accomplish is to create trouble for yourself in the future, as well as a large amount of money that you would have to spend on fine and reconstruction. It will not be wrong to say that acquiring a basement permit to make it legal is a part of the construction just like the physical work.
How Do You Make A Basement Legal?
You have to make your basement legal by acquiring permits from the local cities’ authority. Failing to do so can cause fines to be imposed on you. You have to submit the designs of your basement, permit application that contains your name, address and other relevant information, and the permit fee. All of that is submitted to the county clerk who will check everything, and will hand you the permit which will be a single sheet of paper. Please keep in mind that the process can differ from city to city or county to county.
Why Is Acquiring a Basement Permit Necessary?
Not acquiring a permit for the basement can create problems later, as the building codes and regulations change again. The worst of it comes when you are trying to sell the house. Not having a basement permit will make it difficult for you to sell the property, and you might have to redo the basement, which is a long process that might force you to even tear down the walls. That will be very costly.
What Is Required for Acquiring Basement Permit?
All in all, you need the following three items to acquire a basement permit:
∙ The detailed design plan of the basement, which includes the information about electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. In addition to that, description of the whole design which includes floors, ceiling heights etc. should also be included. The information about smoke detectors is optional, but do include it if you can.
∙ The permit application containing your name, address and other relevant information.
∙ The permit fees.
The information about permit fees can easily be obtained from the municipality website of your local area. Normally, it varies for different places per square foot. The permit application can also be acquired from the same websites in most of the areas. Be careful while filling out the required details, and don’t submit false information.
Can You Build a Basement and Get the Permit Later?
Actually, you can do that. As we have said earlier, most of the problems come at the time when you are selling the property. Getting a permit earlier will ensure that your bases are covered, and even if the codes get updated, you did get a permit and constructed the basement according to the codes that were in circulation at the time of construction of your house. So again, you can build a basement without getting the permit, but try to get it as soon as possible.
What More Should You Expect When Getting the Permit to Make Your Basement Legal?
Getting a permit is not enough, because after that the regular inspections are going to be conducted on your property. This inspection is done to check the major infrastructural work like framing etc. as well as plumbing and most important: electricity. All of these factors need to adhere to the safety codes, and non-compliance can cause massive structural damage.
What Should You Expect from The Inspection?
The inspection is not really a concerning matter. In fact, this can prove to be a boon for your home, as an expert is going to point out all the defaults and concerns that might create problems later. What’s better than learning how to make the house safe for your family? The inspector will observe the whole area, including the above mentioned elements for inspection, although they won’t go into details or nitpick. During the inspection process, they will also give tips about making changes to the basement that could prove to be beneficial.
Don’t worry if you don’t pass the inspection the first time. Some people don’t pass them multiple times, so it is not uncommon. Like we have said earlier, it is for your own good, so it’s better if you fail the inspection and make small adjustments now as opposed to a later time when you might need to redo the whole basement.
How Do You Prepare Yourself for The Inspection?
Again, this is not something to be scared of. All you have to do is to be there on time, and walk the inspector through everything. They won’t go into details like checking every single thing, so you have to mention those elements that you want to be checked specifically yourself. Be attentive, and listen to what they are saying, especially when it comes to electrical inspection. The electrical work is very sensitive, and even a single mistake can prove to be fatal, like electrical shocks or electrical fire breakout. Note all the suggestions and go over them later, and don’t worry if you fail the inspection. Just make all the required adjustments and get the inspection done again.
What Should You Do to Make Sure Your Basement Is Legal?
First of all, complete all the above mentioned steps. That includes the submission of permit application, detailed design of the basement and the permit fee. All of that should be submitted in the municipality or Zoning and Permits office. The clerk will give you the permit, and after that, prepare yourself for the infrastructural, plumbing and electrical inspections. If you pass the inspection on the first round, that will be good, but if you don’t, then make all the suggested changes and adjustments to the basement. Most important of all, only hire those construction companies that pull the permit, they will be truly reliable. The contractor will clearly know how to comply with all the safety building codes and regulations, making the process a bit easier for you.