Angie's List: Permits for home improvement projects - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Angie's List: Permits for home improvement projects

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MADISON (WKOW) -- If you want to use the summer for a home improvement project, but don't know whether you need a permit, it's always best to check into it and not ignore it.

Whether your home improvement project requires a permit varies depending on where you live, but most laws require that you not build, move, significantly alter or add to a building without a permit. Angie Hicks with Angie's List says,  "It actually provides you important protection. For example, in some scenarios a contractor must be licensed in order to get the permit so it adds an extra layer of protection for you."

Remodeler Thomas Pearson says a fair amount of planning must be done before pulling a permit. "It's very important that if a room addition is being built that the setbacks are correct. There's a certain amount you are supposed to have and planning is the most important part of the job. If the planning is done very well in the beginning then the rest of the job will run well."

A permit for a small project may be $100 or less, while a bigger project like a home addition can cost more than $900. If you skip the permit process in order to save a few bucks angie's list warns you could end up paying more in the long run. Hicks says, "If you skip pulling a permit you might end up paying fines, it could stop the work being done, they may make you re-do it. In some scenarios when it comes down to electrical work and the electrical work causes a fire your homeowner's insurance may not cover it."

Angie's List says if a contractor asks you to pull your own permits that could be a red flag the contractor isn't insured or doesn't have the required license to do the work.

So where do you go to learn if your project requires a permit? No matter whether you're hiring a contractor or doing the work yourself, check with your local building department. Do your own research and question any contractor who remodels without pulling a permit.

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