Planning laws vary across the US from city to city. Many factors are considered, but as a rule, if it changes the footprint of the home, it usually needs a permit. Adding an outbuilding to your property adds more space, increases storage and broadens opportunity – not to mention outbuildings can sometimes increase the value of your home.
We’re going to take a look at some of the regulations which surround your outbuilding.
Do you need planning permission?
Planning permission is essential. If you haven’t sought this before erecting an outbuilding, you could be told to take it down. Conditions that are taken into account before permission may be needed include:
- The height (if it has more than one story it needs planning permission)
- Its position and proximity to the house’s boundaries
- If you want a balcony
- If it has a capacity of more than 3,500 liters
- If the building is going to take up more than half of the land outside of the house (you will also need to take into consideration any building already on the land. So if your shed takes up 15% and your new outbuilding takes up 45%, you will need approval as combined they acquire 60% of the land.
If you are unsure whether or not you need permission, it’s a good idea to research the type of building you want and contact your local building department explaining the height and overall plan for the building. They will be able to advise whether or not you need legal permission.
Permit first then build
While getting a permit can be time-consuming it’s a process that shouldn’t be skipped. If your local officials find out work has been carried out without a permit you could face a fine and be forced to apply for a permit at a higher fee. Constructing an outbuilding already comes with a big price tag, so you don’t want to risk unnecessary fines and fees.
How do I get a permit?
Outbuilding experts Steel Masters explain the steps you need to take to apply for a permit:
Step 1: Contact your local building office and describe the project. They will give you an application that outlines all of the requirements.
Step 2: Complete the application, detailing the materials required. You may need stamped blueprints and floor plans.
Step 3: Apply and pay the relevant fees. Then you should be issued a permit certificate.
Step 4: Display the permit at the site following the city’s regulations.
Step 5: Arrange for an inspector to visit the site if this is needed. You can arrange this by calling the inspection office.
Step 6: Once the project is complete, you can remove the permit which is being displayed.
If you are having a contractor build your new outbuilding, they should apply for the permit, as they will be responsible for the work meeting the legal criteria.