HVAC technician showing a customer a Lennox AC unit
Whether you are installing a new HVAC system, building a new deck in your backyard, or renovating your kitchen, permits might need to be involved. Permits add additional cost to any job but they are a legal precaution to keep homeowners safe. The local building department inspects the job upon completion to ensure everything is up to code. Without this system of checks and balances, unexpected damages can occur. Home insurance and home warranties may even deny coverage if permits were not pulled before additional issues happened. Here is a handy guide to many permit-related questions.

Do I Need a Permit?

When to get a permit and when to go without can be confusing. To have a clear idea of your area’s guidelines, it is best to check with your city or county building department. Nowadays most building departments have comprehensive websites that will let you know what rules you need to follow. However, a good general rule is if the construction is over $500 then a permit is required.

Who can pull a permit?

Permits can be pulled by a licensed contractor, the homeowner, or anyone authorized to act on the homeowner’s behalf, i.e. designer or architect. Contra Costa County allows permits to be pulled online, as do many other city building departments.

Application Instructions

Who is responsible for the inspections?

For bigger construction projects such as remodels and roofing, the contractor usually handles inspections. They are present when the inspector is there to answer any questions. Smaller projects, such as HVAC changeouts and hot water heater replacements, are normally left to the homeowner to finalize. Scheduling inspections is a matter of calling a phone number and leaving a message or setting an appointment online.

Building permits and inspections are not as scary or nerve-wracking as they seem. Whether your contractor takes care of everything or you are an owner-builder handling things yourself, your local building department has easy guidelines to help. If you have any questions about the permit process, please call Clean Air HVAC at 925-689-7017.