How permits and building inspections help homeowners
The City of Lakewood has developed a new program called Lakewood Home & Garden to provide helpful tips to homeowners on subjects like creatively using landscaping areas, exterior painting ideas and…for this month...how getting city permits and building inspections for home improvements can benefit homeowners and save them from big problems down the road.
Permits are the way that a community ensures that construction and building improvements are safe for current and future homeowners, visitors and neighbors. By law, the permit fee covers just the cost of reviewing and administering the permit and the cost of an expert, professional inspection. Fees do not generate any extra revenue for a city.
The benefits of getting permits for your home improvement project include:
• Peace of mind that your construction work was done safely and properly according to national and state standards and codes. You don’t want hazards to result in your home because of work done unsafely and not to code.
• Your contractor is able to pull permits only if they are state licensed and insured. This means they are trained to do the work you are paying them for and protects you from liability. Insurance companies will challenge losses caused by unpermitted work.
• Lakewood requires a professional inspection of most construction work, which helps ensure your work was done properly and safely.
• Higher resale value for your home. Many buyers and real estate agents will not consider homes that have unpermitted work. (Buyers can see what permits are on file at city hall, even from 60 years ago.)
• Unpermitted work is a violation of the law, and can result in the homeowner being fined, charged higher permit fees, and required to redo the work properly at the homeowner’s expense.
In Lakewood, construction plans and permits are required before most construction or remodeling jobs can begin. Residents should contact the Building and Safety division at City Hall before starting any construction or remodeling job. (Contact information below.)
Examples of projects that require a permit include:
• Room additions
• Bathroom and kitchen remodeling
• HVAC (heater/air conditioning) installation
• Drywall replacement
• Electrical and plumbing installation/replacement
• Fences over six feet in height, block walls over 42” in height, and most retaining walls
• Patio covers and enclosures
• Water heater installations
• Window installations (new or replacement)
• Solar panels
• No permit is required for installation of a home alarm system.
Lakewood city staff is ready to help you through the permitting and inspection process. Come visit in person during Lakewood’s extended business hours, which for Building and Safety are Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on alternate Fridays from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (City hall is closed every other Friday.) For a schedule, go to: www.lakewoodcity.org/calendar/holidays.asp. Or call 562-866-9771, extension 2350.
For more information on making your home improvement project a success, go to www.lakewoodcity.org/services/planning.