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Do I Need a Building Permit?

This is one of the most common questions we receive at the City of Clifton Building Division. A homeowner or property owner thinking about remodeling, adding a small addition, converting a garage, adding a gazebo to the backyard, replacing siding, replacing/building new fencing, replacing windows, or re-roofing needs to know that the answer is actually “yes” for all these items. For repainting your home, general landscaping, or making minor aesthetic changes or minor repairs you will not need a permit.  Working without the required permits may result in fines or having to remove work for inspection of work already completed.

However, folks seem to have an unreasonable fear of obtaining building permits and the entire inspection process. The permitting and inspection process really is not that difficult. Because many homeowner projects don’t require a permit, it might be helpful to look at some questions that might arise.

Why are there building codes & building permits?

Quite simply, building codes, including codes involving structural, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and other components of your home or business are in place to help ensure your safety for you and the public.

The codes set a number of standards, all are intended to help builders, homeowners, and the communities have safe and secure buildings. Building permits are your legal permission to proceed with the project, as well as your agreement or contractor’s agreement to do the work in compliance with current codes. A house may be around for a hundred years and have many owners. The City of Clifton’s Building Division wants to ensure the home is safe for many more generations.

If I get a permit, can I do the work myself?

Absolutely. You can perform any construction work on a home that you own, providing it is your homestead and you are not building or remodeling the home with the specific intention of selling it in the next twelve months or keeping as a rental.

When do I need a permit?

The City of Clifton Texas requires a permit any time an owner intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert, or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing system.

What are the benefits?

Let’s say you want to add a few extra electrical outlets in the garage, and a mistake is made during the installation that later causes a fire.

Is your insurance company going to cover the cost of a fire caused by illegal electrical work? One of the major benefits of obtaining a permit is having technical resources at your side. Your City of Clifton building inspectors/plans examiners, with years of trade experience and code training, can work with you during your project. They can answer questions, provide guidance before you start your project, and save you time, money, and frustration.

When is a permit not required? Cosmetic work

Redecorating and minor repair jobs do not require a building permit. This includes replacing cabinets, replacing floor covering, painting and decorating, repairing sheetrock (interior walls only), replacing small areas of siding (if you are not also making structural alterations), replacing plumbing fixtures (if you are not altering the plumbing system), and replacing light fixtures and appliances (if you are not altering or altering wiring). If you are not sure, the Building Division staff will be happy to answer your questions.

Is there a fee?

Yes. The fees vary and are based on our current fee schedule. Please call us and we can give you an approximate cost over the phone, a more accurate fee cost can be provided with more details. 

What will I need to obtain a permit?

That depends on the nature of the project. For example, you will need to submit a site plan, structural drawings (if applicable), and any other documents as required by the Building Division. You can call us, use our website or drop by and explain your project to us and we can go from there or please see Permit Requirements.  Permits will not be issued without adequate information.

What Inspections are required?

This depends on the project, basically inspection of work(framing, electrical, plumbing and mechanical) is required prior to covering or concealing(covering with soil, concrete or drywall).  Not having all of your projects stages inspected at the right times and at completion can result in having to remove finished work, not having continued municipal water service or having a Certificate of Occupancy issued for your project.  

Are there consequences for not getting a permit?

Working without the proper permits can result in having to stop work until permits are approved, having to remove already completed work so any underlying conditions can be inspected, citations can be issued resulting in fines and permit fees would still have to be paid to continue your project.  

The City of Clifton prefers to work with you from the planning stages through the completion of the project.  Waiting for a neighbor, or contractor to report suspicious work to the City of Clifton may result in an inconvenient stoppage of work.