Building Permit FAQs
Should I permit my home-workshop-office or not?
Our answer is yes to that. Why? Do you really want to live in constant anxiety that someone might file a formal complaint against you with the bldg dept? Do you want all your hard work building a dwelling to not count towards the value of your property? If you ever want to sell your property and you have unpermitted structures on it, a prospective buyer may appreciate that structure, but if they are wanting to finance the deal, and you want x amount based on that structure, the bank will not value it at any amount, and your buyer may not be able to buy your property at the price you want because of your unpermitted structure not having any value what so ever as far as the bank and bldg dept are concerned. Only a cash buyer can purchase it, and we all know how many of those there are these days. Think long and hard about it. Yes, getting permits is expensive and complicated, but these are the facts. It is your choice which way you go. We make the permitting process as painless as it can possibly be. Call or email us.
Do I need a building permit for a shipping container?
Technically yes, unless you are on certain areas zoned Farm/Ranch or Agricultural. You need to check with your local bldg dept to verify what your exact zoning is for your land and if shipping containers are specifically allowed on your particular lot, and if your zoning is such that you can place shipping containers on your land without a permit, or if you in fact need a permit. There are many agricultural designations- some allow containers and some do not. It is best to get the answers straight from the county, face to face, and always write down the name of the person who gave you this information. Clerks at the county often make mistakes, so it is best to ask to see someone beyond the counter clerk, pull a number and wait until your number is called. You should know your TMK # before inquiring. All residential zoning requires a permit, even for a shipping container unless that shipping container is 120 sq ft or less (8’ X 15’ or smaller) and you have no other sheds on your property. This is the technical law. It is your choice entirely to follow the law or not. It just takes one envious, devious or vindictive neighbor to call the bldg dept and file a formal complaint against you and you are screwed. Once a complaint has been filed, the bldg dept must and certainly will investigate it. You have 2 choices at this point- let them come onto your property to investigate or you do not allow them onto property. If you choose the later, you are then blacklisted until you choose to cooperate. Good luck ever getting a bldg permit on your property ever again until you clear up the complaint. We can get your permit for a shipping container so long as there are no CCR’s (rules) against them in your subdivision or area. Call or email us.
Can’t I just dig a hole and make my own cesspool if I do it properly?
If you get caught doing this without a permit, you will pay a seriously expensive fine and be blacklisted with the bldg dept. This is a very serious environmental and criminal offense. Nothing could be more stupid and irresponsible.
If I have a permitted cesspool or septic tank, can’t I just run waste into it from an unpermitted structure that I build?
That is not quite as bad as building an unpermitted cesspool or septic tank system, but it Is a serious offense. Your cesspool or septic tank systems are designed for the number of total bedrooms on your property, so adding one more source into the system means you are possibly overloading it. We recommend going one size larger than what you think you need from the get go just in case you want to add a bedroom or guest home, workshop with bathroom etc later on. Increasing the capacity of your system after the fact is expensive and very smelly. Think ahead and go one size larger just in case. We handle cesspool/septic engineering and the actual construction of these systems for our customers.
Do I really need an architect to stamp my plans, and can I do my own drafting?
You can do your own drafting so long as your plans meet the requirements of the bldg dept, and you can actually try and run plans thru without an architects stamp, but it is generally not going to fly. That stamp means someone who is a licensed professional is taking responsibility for that structures design and integrity. That stamp from a licensed architect or engineer tells the county this person is taking on the potential liability if said structure should fail and injure someone. This is the main reason that in most cases the county will reject your application if there is no such stamp. Now, If you know what the wind load and seismic requirements are for your property, and you know how to build for those loads, you actually might be able to get a permit for something like a shipping container for storage, but most likely not for a home or similar major structure.
Can I obtain an owner builder permit and build my home myself?
Yes you can do that, but are you well enough aquainted with the quality of the draftsmen and architects in the area you want to build in? Do you want to take on this task and coordinate the project? Do you want to deal with the bldg dept face to face? Our team walks your permit application thru the county so you don't have to get into any conflict with the bldg dept people or schedule inspections, line up labor in an area you are unfamiliar with or any other difficulties. If you really feel up to the task, you can go for it, but most are not, nor do they have the time to devote to this process. We do encourage your participation wherever you have the skills and time. We are available to help you decide how to take on this monumental project of building a home. We are just a phone call or email away.
I Want to finance my new home. Tell me about that process.
Whenever one finances their home, it is an entirely different dynamic and cost. First off- you have to enlist a General Contractor, that is per the lender. That GC takes total responsibility for the entire project in regards to you and also the lender, who obviously needs assurance the project will get done as designed and pass all inspections. Bldg a home is a process which is made more complicated and expensive whenever it is financed. We make the process as painless as possible, and we have GC’s that will take on the considerable responsibility and allow our team to do most of the work, thereby saving you money.
Another phenomenon that occurs in this process is Bonding. A bond is a guarantee that the materials are not going to walk away or get stolen without insurance, and also that the project will get done, even if the GC flakes out, dies or goes bankrupt etc. The easiest projects to bond are conventional stick built wood homes. There are very few companies willing to bond something other than stick built projects. We work with a company who will bond any project- shipping container based, AAC superblock, S.I.P. etc. Your costs will be higher because they need to wholesale materials from us such as AAC blocks, shipping containers, SIP kits etc, and then retail them to the GC. Companies such as HPM, Honsador and others only deal with stick built homes. We know of only one company willing to bond any project, and they are ready to do so for you if financing a container or AAC superblock home etc, and working with us. It took almost an act of God to find this entity, and their identity is a tightly guarded secret with our company.