Do You Need a Permit?
If you have to ask whether you need a permit the answer is probably a resounding YES! We get this question quite often in residential construction. As part of my job I routinely find major and minor damage during course of a residential inspection or consultation. The client almost always asks if permitting is required. Generally speaking if the job is minor maintenance such as painting, trim replacement, or minor siding damage it may not require permitting, but structural repairs, general construction such as an addition or remodeling, or repair of major systems that would typically be performed by a licensed contractor most often do require permitting. The City of Houston has a web page which can answer many questions associated with the need for residential permitting.
Obtaining a permit requires some level of documentation about what type of work you are going to do and the level of documentation is going to depend upon the size and type of job being performed. If it is a complex structural addition or modification you may need a set of engineered construction plans as well as other supporting documentation. More simple projects may only require specifications defining the scope of work to be performed or you may be able to satisfy the need for documentation through the use of city forms through the “One-Stop” process.
Go Through The Process
Be sure to go through the process of documenting your project properly. Contact the City of Houston Code Enforcement and make sure you are following their requirements to avoid fines and delays. Be sure you develop plans and specifications for your project, even if it is a small project. An engineer or an architect can help you with specifications and this documentation can assist you in getting good quality work by providing a standard for the contractor to work under. Most often such specifications will define considerations such as the materials to be used, when necessary the standards or design for application, payment terms, and the agreed upon method of resolution if there is a dispute. Reserve some payment to your contractors or subcontractors until the work has been completed to a satisfactory standard based upon your agreed upon standards or specifications.
Remember to check with the city and get those permits when they are required.