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Home Remodeling: When You Need a Permit & When You Don’t

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Our local building codes protect west Michigan homeowners and help make sure the structures in our communities are built right and kept in good condition. But often homeowners are confused and even offended by the requirements around building permits—or upset at the delay that the permitting process can cause.

So when do you need a building permit in West Michigan, where do you get one, and how can a professional contractor like those of Amber Valley Construction simplify the process?

When you need a building permit

In Michigan, the construction of new buildings as well as most home remodeling work requires a permit before the project can begin. According to the Michigan Building Code:

“A permit is not required for ordinary repairs. Ordinary repairs to structures may be made without permit, but such repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the exit requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs including addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.”

In other words, everything from cutting new window holes, adding a fireplace, or building out a new addition or shed requires a permit. On the other hand, simpler chores like painting, replacing carpet, countertops, or working on your landscaping do not.

Where to get your building permit

You have two options. First, you can go to the city government (or county, if your area is unincorporated) and file a completed application with schematics of the proposed construction. Once you pay the fee, the application is considered, and (hopefully) approved.

Or you can work with an experienced home construction contractor like Amber Valley Construction. If you do, our team does all the work—obtaining all necessary permits and making sure that your home improvement project complies with all laws and codes and is completed on-time and with the very finest craftsmanship. Permitting can be a tedious and confusing process, but when you work with the experts you can put the stress behind you and simply enjoy your home on your time.

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