Any building or remodeling project costing more than $1,000, or structurally altering the building or involving installation or replacement of windows in sleeping areas requires a building permit, according to Dallas Rucker, chief of permit services for the City of Chattanooga.
Speaking at the luncheon meeting of the Remodelors Council of the Home Builders Association of Southern Tennessee (HBAST), he said ordinary minor repairs or projects such as simply replacing cabinets or possibly windows in areas other than sleeping rooms may be done without a permit, but he suggested getting the approval of the building official.
Projects that involve changes to a wall, electrical or plumbing work requires a permit. Any project that would structurally alter the building, such as moving a porch column, requires a permit.
Mr. Rucker said the permit is valid as long as work is being done, but if nothing is done for six months, it is considered abandoned and if work is later resumed, a new permit would be needed.
He said his office is in the process of obtaining new software that may allow builders to get permits on-line, “at least on smaller jobs.” He said the new software should be in place in less than a year and the office hopes later to expand its services.
For an addition to a home or other building or for construction of a detached structure, it will be necessary to verify the setback to be sure it complies with the zoning. The closer to the property line, he said, the more likely it will be that a survey will be required.
He said a property owner may employ a contractor to do the framing on a building and leave the interior finishing to the owner. In such a case, the contractor would need a permit for the framing and the owner would need a permit to finish the work.
Mr. Rucker said the building code sets out the minimum requirements, but builders often provide more than is mandated by the code.