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Steps for Acquiring Building Permit

Discussion in 'Main Forum' started by beekrock, Dec 9, 2016.

  1. beekrock

    beekrock New Member

    Dec 9, 2016
    Ive read through just about everything on this website. What a great resource for newbs like myself!

    The one area that I'm still unclear on is one of the first steps: acquiring a building permit. It seems to be a chicken-or-egg situation in that the permit application in my Township asks for all of the contractors' information, as well as site plans. How is one able to provide this information if they don't know the size/type of the house, or who the contractor(s) will be?
  2. jake

    jake Owner Staff Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Hi, Beekrock, and welcome to the community!

    You’ve hit the nail on the head! It is indeed a bit of a chicken-or-egg situation. To make matters more complicated, building permits work differently in different states, counties, cities, and towns. The good news is that – for the most part – they vary in non-major ways.

    Generally, you don’t need a formal building permit until after you’ve chosen your builder, planned out your home, secured financing, etc. The building permit is the last step before you give your builder a green light on ordering your home from the manufacturer. Some less experienced builders won’t even wait for the building permit to come in, but if you want to be safe, make sure to get your city or town to sign off on the plans and issue a formal permit before placing an order.

    You don’t really need the formal building permit until that point. Before then, your builder may ask for a notice (which again goes by different names in different areas) which indicates that the town will allow construction on the lot. You can get this provisional go-ahead from the town just by asking at your town offices/city hall. That should be enough to let your builder know that it’s worth their time to draw up plans for that specific lot!

    Is there a different reason that you needed the building permit before picking a builder?
  3. beekrock

    beekrock New Member

    Dec 9, 2016
    Thanks, Jake.

    I was looking at the step-by-step directions for "how to build a house in 4 months" and noticed that getting a building permit was one of the first steps.

    One more quick question; I own a residential lot that has soil issues. I just found an engineer that's willing to work up a building solution that won't be cost-prohibitive. He's asking me what size/shape/type of a house I want to have his plans built around, but I haven't the foggiest idea of what to tell him. I suppose I should tell him a maximum square footage and a two-story, even if I'm planning a smaller one-story? Or should I find a builder first and have them connect with my engineer? I've approached builders before who couldn't get an "OK" from an engineer, so this is my roadblock.

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