Reno Advice: No Permit, No Way!

No permit? No way

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No permit? No way

Would you have someone fix your brakes without knowing if that person was qualified to do so? Would you be fine with driving off without knowing if the job was properly inspected? Well, if you’re thinking about doing a renovation without a building permit, hit the brakes. It’s a car crash waiting to happen.

Short-sighted savings

No permit? No problem. That’s what some people believe. They couldn’t be more wrong. It’s a costly disaster in the making. Permits exist to protect you and your biggest investment – your home. A permit is your insurance and peace of mind. It is not something to be avoided.

People may sidestep the permit process thinking they will save time and money. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If a neighbour or unhappy tenant complains and an inspector shows up, redoing the work will be way more costly and time-consuming. Or worse, a fire starts because electrical work wasn’t done to code. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen scenarios like this play out first-hand, since my company is often called in to remedy this complicated mess.

Keep it above board

Don’t do it. And don’t trust a contractor that would. Anyone with a sound reputation as a builder would never risk doing a job this way. Only a fly-by-night outfit would even consider doing a job without a building permit. Besides, they – and you – are breaking the law. Would you have faith in someone willing to do that? Would you entrust that person to do your renovation properly? I didn’t think so.

Proper measures protect your property

Building according to code and standards is also civically responsible. Permits protect property owners, but moreover, maintain the integrity of our world-class city. Safe, sustainable buildings are the very foundation of vibrant communities.

The last word

Here’s another cautionary tale I know all too well. We’ve seen this movie before. Think about what will happen when you want to sell your house. A home inspector will surely point out any building infractions or discrepancies. This will undoubtedly lead to a slew of unwelcome surprises like untold expenses, delays and stress, at a time when you are likely making a critical life move and expecting to reap the benefits of the equity you’ve worked so hard to build. Forget the open house, you’ve just opened up a can of worms. The very things you’re trying to save – time and money – can come back to haunt you tenfold in the form of a dreaded redo. Building without a permit is saving pennies today only to lose dollars tomorrow.

GUY SOLOMON is the founder and CEO of Penguin Basements.


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