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  • Writer's pictureSean Connolly

Do I need a Permit?

Updated: Feb 4, 2020

One of the most frequent questions homeowners ask is "Do I need a permit?" Always check with your local municipality's permit department to be absolutely sure. Remember that the benefit of having a permit for any job is accountability to the local building codes. When a permit is obtained, a trained safety inspector is required to sign off on the permit, often during and always after work is complete. The inspector will make sure that work is performed according to the building codes adopted by your state, county, or city municipality.

Don't get caught at a closing with questions about whether a permit was pulled for specific repairs or remodeling work. Real estate agents will use this as a negotiating point for their prospective buyers.

The requirements for obtaining a permit are relatively simple. Your qualified contractor should be familiar with the process. The contractor should hold a state license and a county/city license. Structural repairs or construction may also require an engineer's detail and/or letter. Certain types of construction, such as additions and privacy fences, may also require zoning approval. Discuss these possibilities with your contractor.

State Licenses:

Anyone performing work on or around your home should be licensed to perform the contracted work. All licensees are required to pass a state exam for their trade and to hold a surety bond for their work.

* General Contractors - Licensed to perform commercial and industrial construction and limited residential work.

* Residential Builders - Licensed to perform work to residential structures.

* Specialty License - Licensed to perform work as a limited tradesmen. Not all municipalities recognize this license.

* Mechanical License - There are three general types of this license; Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC. Each requires specific qualifications and pass of exam.

Verify that your South Carolina contractor is licensed HERE!

County/City Licenses:

Each municipality requires contractors to obtain a business license to perform work in that jurisdiction. Business licenses must be renewed annually and then updated prior to the start of each job. Fees are based on the total cost of the construction.

Permits are typically required for the following:

  • Replacing a roof

  • Adding square footage to your home

  • Structural repairs

  • Window replacement

  • Electrical and Plumbing upfits

  • Kitchen and Bathroom remodels

  • Constructing a privacy fence

  • Replacing HVAC

  • Gas line repairs or installs

  • New construction

International Code Council

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