Building Permits

What is a Certificate of Occupancy?

According to the City of Dallas, a certificate of occupancy is a document issued by the Building Inspection department, which permits land and/or buildings to be used for the purpose(s) listed on the certificate. “Except for single family, handicapped group dwelling unit, and duplex uses, a person shall not use or occupy or change the use or occupancy of a building, a portion of a building, or land without obtaining a certificate of occupancy from the building official….”picture

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

 

So What Exactly Do You Need to See? (Required Inspections — Part 2)

texas required inspectionsCertain aspects of the construction process must be inspected by the authority having jurisdiction over the development process. A general overview of required inspections is here. In that post, we listed mechanical, electrical, and plumbing as examples of different inspections that may be necessary. But what specific inspections are required?

It depends on the applicable law. In the City of Dallas, at least of the time of this post, a person may reasonably expect the following:

A. Required Building Inspections

  1. Foundation
  2. Rough frame
  3. Finish frame
  4. Insulation
  5. Final building

B. Required Electrical Inspections

  1. Temporary construction power pole
  2. Rough (when any electrical equipment or wiring is to be hidden from view by any permanent portion of the building or by burial)
  3. Final (after structure is completed)

C. Required Plumbing Inspections

  1. Rough (when any sewer, gas, or water piping is to be hidden from view)
  2. Final (after structure is completed)

D. Required Mechanical Inspections

  1. Rough and duct (before work is concealed from view by a permanent portion of the structure or by burial and before ducts are insulated)
  2. Final (after structure is completed)

E. Required Irrigation Inspections

  1. Rough (performed by reviewing irrigation designs and inspecting prior to the concealment of irrigation piping, control valves, and wiring)
  2. Final (after structure is completed)

F. Special/Other Inspections

  • A building official may also make or require any other inspection of any construction work to ascertain compliance with codes and ordinances

So, what do you think? Overkill or a good idea to have these systems reviewed?

In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Required Inspections: Intrusive Government Action or A Smart Precaution?

texas construction government inspections building permitsWe defined and discussed building permits here and here. Once issued, construction and improvements may begin. Building codes require that inspection of certain aspects of the construction take place at various intervals during that process. The idea is to ensure the construction proceeds in conformity with submitted plans and codes and regulations that set baseline safety standards.

Common inspections include mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. There are others, too. Building codes frequently require submission of an application for a certificate of occupancy as well. We’ll discuss these certificates in a future post.

Government inspections. What do you think? Good or bad idea?

In our “Law 101″ posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

 

Can a Building Inspector Arrest You?

In previous posts we defined building permits and talked about when they are necessary.

failure to get building permitWhat happens if you build or renovate without securing a required permit? The answer varies because the law that applies to the project varies. But, generally speaking, a building official could issue a stop order and the owner and/or contractor could be subjected to criminal and civil actions. Monetary penalties often accrue on a “per day” basis. So they may become substantial very quickly, especially in relation to what it would have cost to get the permit in the first place. What’s more, there is also the potential that the property will have diminished market value. Raise your hand if you’d like to buy property that you knew wasn’t inspected as required.

Can a building inspector arrest someone who does not obtain a permit? A building official can issue and seek legal orders that, if not complied with, may ultimately result in an arrest by the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Remember: the job of building officials and inspectors is to help ensure that construction projects are completed according to certain safety standards. As Ben Franklin said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Get the permit when required.

In our “Law 101″ posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Is a Building Permit Necessary? It’s Elementary, My Dear Watson

According to Sherlock Holmes, “There is nothing new under the sun. It has all been done before.”

In a prior post, we defined building permits. We also said that a person who wants to build or alter an improvement should consult the ordinances of the particular municipality in which the improvement is located to determine whether a building permit is required. But in some cases, Texas counties — not just cities and towns — may require building permits. Texas Building Permit

To determine if property is within an area in which a building permit is required, a contractor may interview the property owner, consult the appropriate appraisal district to verify the owner’s name and address, look up the property on an official governmental map, and communicate with the city’s and county’s permitting offices. Of course, this isn’t the only way. A contractor could, for example, consult with a real estate attorney, too, or instead.

Whether you’re an owner, designer, or a contractor trying to determine if a building permit is necessary, keep in mind that this question has been asked many times before by other people. It’s not a new question under the sun.

What happens if you were supposed to get a building permit before you began the work, but you didn’t? Stay tuned.

In our “Law 101″ posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.

Building Permits in Three Sentences

applicationA building permit is written permission from the appropriate authoritative entity(ies) to begin construction or alteration of an improvement. Municipalities typically legislate and enforce building codes in Texas. For this reason, a person who wants to build or alter an improvement should consult the ordinances of the particular municipality in which the improvement is located to determine whether a building permit is required, how to apply for a permit, and what happens after the application is made.

In our “Law 101″ posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.