Building Inspector Looking At New Property

Who is Responsible for Pulling a Permit? Homeowner vs. Contractor

If you’re planning remodeling work on your home and wonder who is responsible for pulling permits, the short answer is that most of the time, the contractor should pull the permit.

Each state has slightly different laws, but in Massachusetts, homeowners should pull a permit only when they are doing the work themselves. It is illegal not to pull a permit when a permit is required. Here are the rules on who is responsible for pulling permits and, most importantly, why you should stick to those rules.

Contractors you can trust are always willing to share details about permits for your home remodeling projects, including who is responsible for pulling them.

What is a Permit?

The Massachusetts State Building Code requires a building permit for anyone renovating their homes. Your permit is pulled before the work starts, and it must be posted at the job site. It will require an inspection, protecting you from inferior or dangerous construction. When your job has been completed and inspected, you can be assured it was constructed to code or better.

When is a Permit Required?

Not every project will require a permit. If you’re completing minor repairs, painting, or servicing systems in your home, you usually won’t need a permit. But a good rule of thumb is that removing, moving, or adding any walls, electrical, gas, water, sewage, heating, cooling, or ventilation components will require a permit.

When the Homeowner is Responsible for Pulling a Permit

If the homeowner completes any of the work a project at their home, it is the homeowner who is responsible for pulling a permit. This is the only time you should ever pull a permit in your name as a homeowner.

When the Contractor is Responsible for Pulling a Permit

If you depend on a contractor to complete your project, they should pull the permit in their name. Whoever pulls the permit will answer for the project passing or not passing inspection. If your contractor asks you to pull the permit, think twice about hiring them. They may hesitate to pull one because:

  • They aren’t licensed or don’t have the required insurance coverage
  • They aren’t sure their work will pass inspection
  • They don’t want to have to fix anything that doesn’t pass inspection

A Homeowner Should Not Pull a Permit for a Contractor

If the homeowner pulls the permit, the contractor’s insurance won’t cover damages and any accidents. If it turns out that the work doesn’t pass inspection, you will have to pay for any required repairs, not the contractor.

Additionally, if you pull a permit for your contractor in Massachusetts, you will no longer qualify for the Home Improvement Arbitration Program or Guaranty Fund designed to help if something goes wrong with your project because of a contractor. Without a properly pulled permit, all the responsibility for the project and the project staff falls on you as the homeowner and permit holder.

Consequences for Not Having a Required Permit

The consequences of not having a required permit for your property are costly and could cause problems down the road. Initially, you could receive a fine. If your project is discovered during construction and you then try to get the permit, your cost could increase. If it’s not being inspected, the work could be substandard and cause issues for your home in the long run and when you try to sell it.

If your work needs a permit, make sure your contractor gets one. Chances are good that the lack of a permit, inspection, or substandard work will be noticed sooner or later.

Avoid Problems by Choosing a Reputable Contractor

Choose a reputable contractor to ensure that you don’t have any issues with permits, inspections, or quality construction. Check that your contractor has experience in the type of work that will be done and that they are licensed and insured.

YourWay Construction Management Pulls Permits

YourWay Construction Management is fully licensed and insured. We go by the book with permits and inspections and believe it is well worth the effort to ensure our customers are protected. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Call us at (774) 245-3629 to speak with a trustworthy contractor about your next project.

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