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  1. #1
    Registered User Payton1221's Avatar
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    Building Permit for New Sunroom: Yay or Nay

    We're getting a sunroom (actually a "4-seasons room" since there'll be a small hotel-like heater/cooler in there) installed over most of our existing deck and are considering whether we should get a building permit or not. The salesman who was a builder for 20 years discourages it. Note the following:

    1) This is our forever home (I'm 53 and my wife is 51). The house shouldn't be sold for many years, and then, only by our heirs (son and daughter).
    2) We live in the country and no one will be able to see the new addition.
    3) We only have two "neighbors" who are unlikely to notice any new construction (on the back of the house), and we're on good terms with both so there's no chance that they'll call the local government to say that some construction work is being done without a permit number on display.

    I built a deck on the back of the house about a year after we moved in 17 years ago, and I didn't get a permit for it. That's most of my reluctance to not get a permit for this new structure, but I'm thinking about if the government finds out about the construction and then forces us to get a permit (no huge deal) to the occasional nightmare story you hear about them forcing you to take everything DOWN until a permit has been applied for AND approved.
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    The only thing I would worry about is the small heater/cooler. In my state/county a building permit means a code enforcement officer will come look it over at some point and sign off it. If it's approved your homeowner's insurance carrier will be happy and God forbid if it ever causes a fire you'll be covered. Without the heating appliance I would just build it without the added paperwork.
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  3. #3
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    Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
    We're getting a sunroom (actually a "4-seasons room" since there'll be a small hotel-like heater/cooler in there) installed over most of our existing deck and are considering whether we should get a building permit or not. The salesman who was a builder for 20 years discourages it. Note the following:

    1) This is our forever home (I'm 53 and my wife is 51). The house shouldn't be sold for many years, and then, only by our heirs (son and daughter).
    2) We live in the country and no one will be able to see the new addition.
    3) We only have two "neighbors" who are unlikely to notice any new construction (on the back of the house), and we're on good terms with both so there's no chance that they'll call the local government to say that some construction work is being done without a permit number on display.

    I built a deck on the back of the house about a year after we moved in 17 years ago, and I didn't get a permit for it. That's most of my reluctance to not get a permit for this new structure, but I'm thinking about if the government finds out about the construction and then forces us to get a permit (no huge deal) to the occasional nightmare story you hear about them forcing you to take everything DOWN until a permit has been applied for AND approved.
    So much depends on the locality. Are you doing the work yourself or are you hiring contractor? In some places that will make a difference. Some places it won't. Where we live a permit is not necessary unless it's an "occupied" building, an office or a residence. Something like a storage shed or an observatory doesn't require it.

    I'll be adding a deck to our house eventually, and there won't be any permit involved. If I was modifying the actual structure, I'd probably need one. Enclosing a deck is probably a gray area. If I thought I was safe from prying eyes, I'd go for it.
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    If it attaches to the house, I'd get a permit. If it doesn't, I would not.
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    Depends how hard it is to get the permit, time/money. I also might stress over it.
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    Weak and foolish OldFartTom's Avatar
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    Builders will just want to do the easiest (and who can blame them). But if there is any **** later on they don't carry the can, in fact they may get extra work to tear it down again. It's up to you, not them!

    Don't know about your location but where I am, although *most* things are similar, it varies depending on location. Also I had a lot of stress where I had tried to follow every permit for a very small single story extension, but due to a change in law (that I didn't know, or builder) a pipe running under part of my property formerly owned and responsible by me was legally reclassified as a sewer owned by the water company - and I didn't have their permit to build near their sewer. I paid for (retrospective) permission and they granted it which was just as well as the build had finished, all was OK in the end.

    Maybe you can pay a local architect for a hour or two to review builder's plans and guide you which permits or inspections you need? Better to do it all 100% correctly first time to cover your azz, than end up worrying for 2 months that the back wall and foundations (footing) needs tearing down and moving by 1 foot, or some other nonsense later on!
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  7. #7
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    In our area, the cost of the permit is a tiny fraction of the penalty for building witout one. And getting caught.
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    Registered User Payton1221's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. My wife dropped off the downpayment this morning and told them that we're getting the permit. CAD drawings will be available in 2-3 weeks.
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  9. #9
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    Most if not all legit builders and contractors will get a permit.
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    Induced Drag where are you? Probably the most well informed opinion you could get.

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    Free men don't need permission or permit from criminal gubmint.

    Just build it.

    I have added barns, gardens, decks, shooting range to my property without permission.

    But then again, is it really our property if we are forced to pay property tax at gunpoint? Of course not. But that's for another discussion.
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    In Witness Protection mtpockets's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by NorwichGrad View Post
    Free men don't need permission or permit from criminal gubmint.

    Just build it.

    I have added barns, gardens, decks, shooting range to my property without permission.

    But then again, is it really our property if we are forced to pay property tax at gunpoint? Of course not. But that's for another discussion.
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    In Witness Protection mtpockets's Avatar
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    My 2 coppers, I'd get a permit, free in my area, I have had 2 forever homes, then found my forever forever home.

    Good luck Payton, what ever you decide.
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