Getting a Building Permit

Shandy Heil, Skinner, Patricia  |  1/3/2007 6:29:23 PM

A building permit is required for most construction work on a residential property. While this may not have been true in some parishes in the past, all parish and local governments will be issuing building permits for residential work in 2007.

Generally, permits are required for all permanent alterations to any structure, except for light cosmetic work like painting or the replacement of some finish surfaces like carpeting or counter tops. Even beyond the home itself, permits are often required for gazebos, RV covers and fences.

These projects typically require a building permit:

  • A new residence
  • Home additions and most renovations
  • Any modification that involves structural work
  • Covered patios
  • Any accessory structure over 100 square feet
  • Roofing & decking that exceeds 100 square feet
  • Solid fencing that is 3 feet or higher
  • Any fencing that is 4 feet or higher
  • Fencing that exceeds 25 feet in length
  • Changing out or relocating a hot water heater
  • Changing out an air conditioning unit or components (excluding window units)
  • Any electrical work
  • Pools; below and above ground
  • Gas line work
  • Sewer line work
  • Relocation of a house or mobile home

When a permit is required, work should not begin on the project until the permit has been issued. If work has begun, you should stop immediately and obtain a permit before continuing.

You will need to provide some basic information about the property and about the proposed construction in order to obtain a permit. You can use "Information Needed to Get a Building Permit" as a guide, but it is always a good idea to check with the local governments to find out exactly what they require.

Submitting the Permit Application

How you go about actually submitting your building permit application varies by parish. Some parishes are now taking applications on-line. Other parishes can process a permit after a simple appointment, and still others require a review period before issuing the permit. Call your local building department to find out the requirements for your area.

Louisiana has in the past allowed homeowners to pull their own permits and to act as the general contractor for their own home construction or repair project. With the new statewide residential building code taking effect, some jurisdictions may no longer allow homeowners to pull permits.

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