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  • Writer's pictureKate Fulford

Permit, Shermits!

Are you thinking about remodeling a part of your home - but are not sure if you need a permit or not? I recently attended a workshop called "Demystifying Permits" and I'd love to share a few nuggets with you.

**What if improvements have been done to your home without permits (either by you or previous owner)? You CAN obtain a retroactive permit - but know that walls may need to be opened for inspection.

**Did you know that ADU's can be built inside a setback (up to 24")??

**You can build a deck that is 30" or less off the ground without a permit.

**You can build a fence up to 7' tall without a permit (8' for chain link).

**Need a Patio Cover? You can build one up to 200sf without a permit.

**You only need a plumbing permit if you have to alter pipes beyond the p-trap. This means you can change toilets, sinks, fixtures without a permit.

**Most electric work requires a permit - with the exception of changing a light fixture or plug. If electric work was done in the house without a permit - it's not "grandfathered in" unless it was installed and approved at the time installed. If the wires are colored (yellow/orange) - then they were likely added mid 1990's or later - and should definitely have a permit on file (the date will even be printed on the wires!).

**A room MUST have an egress window to be considered a legal bedroom. It must be 44" or less from the floor - but you can install a permanent step at lease 12" deep to remedy a taller window opening. Not that you'd still need 6' clearance to ceiling from top of step.

**You must obtain a permit to install mechanicals (but not for repairs).

All this and more can be found at the BDS Website. Good luck!

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