Do I really need to get a construction permit?

The construction process has a lot of moving parts, from finding the right contractor, praying the plumbing team does their job on time, making sure the electrician installs everything properly, and figuring out how to keep your business afloat while a commercial site is being renovated or built. Adding a permit into the mix is the last thing you want to do and you might find yourself asking, “Do I really need to get a construction permit?”

The answer is one you might not like: yes. While a permit adds another item to your to-do list, it can save you plenty of headaches later. 

Why do you need a construction permit?

A permit ensures that your commercial site meets the building requirements of your municipality and state. Without it, you aren’t able to conduct business and no employees will be allowed onto the premises. So while getting the right permits can involve jumping through hoops, extra paperwork, and more, it’s essential for your commercial project. 

It’s also important to note that while your state may have some permit regulations, you don’t get a permit from your state. For example, if your business is based in Hampton Roads, Virginia, the permit comes from Hampton Roads’ government, not the state of Virginia.

Do I need a construction permit for a renovation project?

Let’s say your healthcare facility already got a permit when it was constructed. Now you’re ready to do some minor renovations to the cardiac wing. You shouldn’t need another permit, right?

It depends. If the project you are working on is truly a renovation, you don’t need a permit. Renovations cover painting, flooring, wall coverings, and minor finishes. Other tasks would fall into the remodeling and build out categories and would need a permit. If we look at Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk specifically, their city government states that you need a new permit for all commercial alterations and build-outs. Basically, any project where a contractor and construction team is required needs a permit, even if it’s a renovation.  

What type of construction permit do I need?

As we previously discussed, if your project is a renovation, you don’t need a permit. If it falls under the build out or remodeling category, you do. Even with remodeling and build outs, there are different types of permits for different commercial building types. Your USE group, as determined by the state of Virginia, determines what type of permit you need. 

Additionally, you might have to get different permits for different stages of the project. Usually, you need to get a permit before the project starts and a building official or local official needs to walk through and inspect the project when it’s finished. With that being said, there are instances when you might need to get an additional permit during a construction project, such as if a harmful substance, such as mold, is found on site. 

Who applies for a permit?

Usually, it is the responsibility of the contractor or owner to apply for permits. If you hire a contractor for your project (which is highly recommended and will save you money in the long run), they can handle all permits for you and avoid pitfalls in the process.  As an experienced professional who knows the ropes of all permits in your area, a local contractor can act as a valuable guide and can take a lot of the stress out of the process. 

Make the permit process faster

Ok, do you need to add applying for the right permit to your to-do list. Luckily, there are some ways to make the process faster. The best way to speed up the process is to choose the right contractorFor more information on how to choose the right contractor, check out these six signs you’ve found a good contractor

Carlton Building Services in Hampton Roads Virginia

Carlton Building Services specializes in repairs, maintenance, renovations, remodelings and build-outs for a variety of clients in Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake areas. We have years of experience handling projects in the retail, office, and healthcare space and would love to work with you on your next project!

To learn more about our services, check out past project highlights or contact Carlton Building Services to see how we can help with your next project. 

JP Carlton

J.P. Carlton

J.P. Carlton is the founder of Carlton Building Services, a Hampton Roads-based construction company.