The Biggest Home Addition Problems You Might Encounter: Permits

We’re back with our “Addition Problem” series, and today we’re discussing all things permitting!

Now, permits themselves aren’t the problem. In fact, permits are really good. It’s what makes sure everyone is kept safe during the construction process, whether it’s you as the homeowner, or our own construction employees. It also makes sure everything is done properly, because it helps the city know who is doing the work on your home and whether they are reputable or not.

So what exactly is the problem here? Well, while permits are great, obtaining them can be somewhat tricky at times!

Here’s what we mean: once you’ve finally decided on your contractor, you’ve discussed the details with them, created a plan, and paid that down payment, you’re all ready to move forward and get started, right?

Well, not necessarily. In many cases, once all of the agreements are signed and everybody’s anxious to start, there’s what we like to call the “hurry up and wait.” Permits have to be in place before any work can start, and depending on where you’re at in Benton County, that process can be very different. In fact, every single municipality has a different set of requirements. In some cases, there are actually multiple governing bodies that your contractor will have to deal with before they can obtain the various permits they need, depending on your project. 

For example, if you need to combine your lot with the lot next door in order to get the acreage needed for your addition, your contractor will need to get a permit just to combine the lots and another permit to begin construction. That’s double the work!

Another example is one we’ve mentioned in a previous video: septic systems. If there is a septic system situation that needs to be resolved, your contractor might have to talk to as many as three different municipalities before they can even deal with the governing body that has the jurisdiction over that land. 

Apart from unique build situations that require chasing down multiple permits, current events can also play a pretty big role in how long the permit process takes. Right now we are going through a historically unique period of time as we all deal with COVID-19. This pandemic has significantly slowed things down.

To illustrate this, normally we can get a simple permit pulled within 48 to 72 hours. However, our owner James has been working on one particular permit right now and is about two and a half weeks deep into the process. In fact, he is still waiting on some of the items he needs in order to start the project! While we do our best to check on the status of these permits, and we do everything we can to speed the process along, this is a situation that is effectively out of our hands.

So, permits can be a problem! But, the good thing about this problem is it’s a pretty easy fix. As long as everybody’s aware, and as long as we can stay updated on what the steps are and where we are in that process, then a lot of the tension and anxiety that could result from this sort of situation can be greatly reduced.

So, if you’re ready to get started on your addition project, you’ve signed that contract and handed over your down payment, but nothing is happening, it’s a great idea to check in with your contractor and talk to them about what the delays are. There’s a good chance it’s something that is completely out of their control.

But by helping you to communicate and understand the difficulties of the permitting process, we hope this blog post will help you maintain a good relationship with your contractor and be ready to move forward with excitement for your new addition as soon as you finally get those permits in place!