Owners building additions without permits face fines
Residents who think they can make additions to their homes without obtaining a permit could face penalties and possible problems with their insurance companies, city officials said.
"The building code states the building permit fee can be doubled if someone makes additions to their home without a permit," City Codes Administrator Mike Hooper said. "Not having a building permit can also affect what an insurance company will cover in case of an accident."
As of Jan. 1, 2002, any resident caught without a building permit will automatically have their permit fee doubled, Hooper said.
The enforcement of the code comes at the request of the City Council, which is updated monthly on the list of permits issued.
A building permit is required in the majority of additions or improvements made to a residence although, the best way to find out what's covered under the codes is to call City Hall.
"Another way is to ask the contractor, although finding out for yourself is always the best option," Hooper said. "Sometimes contractors will charge for getting a permit and not get them. Not all, but some."
According to the city building codes, some of the home improvements that would require a building permit include plumbing, electrical work, adding a deck or another addition to a home, and replacing heating and cooling units.
Work such as house painting, finish work or lawn care service would not require a building permit, Hooper said.
To obtain a building permit, residents must fill out an application stating what type of work is going to be performed and then pay a permit fee. The fees start at $27 and can go higher. The permit fee is determined based on the work that is being done to the home. It is calculated on a percentage of the dollar value of the work.
The main concern for city officials is the issue of safety for the resident and community.
"We just want to make sure that the work being done is being done to the city standards," Hooper said. "It helps to ensure safety for the property owners as well."