Wednesday 9 January 2013

The Building Permit

Now that Christmas has passed and Winter has settled in,
I have run out of excuses to put off completing my building plan application.
If you aren't up on old news, we were caught building the schoolhouse without a permit.
The neighbour complained and had the inspector come down here to set us straight.

Fortunately, I followed building code and the structure is well within our prescribed property line setbacks.
The building inspector was relaxed and only asked that we file a proper application.
The cost was never an issue, but the permit requires a site plan and building drawings.
Both take desk time and I had no intention of spending more time than necessary sitting down during the good weather before Winter.

I kept going with the building despite the visit from the inspector.
He never told me to stop.
The roof needed to be finished and walls closed in before Winter.
So that was done.

But to carry on, I need to cover walls up and hide the structure.
It's best if I get my permit done so that there can be a formal inspection.
It's understandable to finish the roof, but perhaps I should leave the walls open until I get the green light from the municipality.
That means getting the permit application done.

It's taken two days of measuring, and calculating,
drawing, and cursing.
Building a structure according to drawings is one thing.
Doing it the other way around is more frustrating.
The site plan was a tricky piece of work.
There are long measurements and strange orientation.
If the building layouts were all square, it may have been easy.
But alas, everything is on a crazy bearing.
I have a few new grey hairs to show for trying to orient everything as correctly as possible.

Now it's done.
I hope.

The application has been submitted and now I wait to see what happens next.
There shouldn't be any major problems other than omissions in content.
I realized afterwards that I missed a few details.

But it's not like a school project.
The municipality simply needs something on file to show that there has been due process.
The schoolhouse is properly constructed and we're not even close to crossing any property lines.
This isn't the city where a few inches of error could mean a major court battle.

To be honest, I will feel a great relief once the permit process is through.
Even though I made a calculated decision to not apply for a permit,
the fear remained that I would be found out.
Now that I have been, the pressure is off.

It's all for the best really; having been caught.
Perhaps I should thank my neighbour for that.


  1. You don't need to have these drawings submitted by an architect, or the structure calculated by an engineer? In Portugal the municipality doesn't accept projects submitted by citizens without those technicians.

    1. Hi Teresa,
      There is an exception made when the homeowner does the drawings.
      I am also allowed to do my own plumbing and electrical work.
      But everything must still meet building code guidelines.
      The drawings will be scrutinized by an examiner before the permit is issued.