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The Permit Lady

Residential/Commercial & Expired Building Permit Solutions‚Äč

My Blog


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Posted on February 9, 2015 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (190)

As reported nationally, Austin is experiencing growth second to none in the US!   Sales of existing residences, and new construction is on the rise...even more than in previous years!  Exciting news for those moving to or relocating within the Austin area, for those selling a home and those purchasing an existing, or building a new, residence.  Contractors, architects/designers, and engineers are inundated with work.  Real estate agents are busier than ever. 

As a result, an abundance of applications are being presented daily, adding to the workload of city employees.  Increased workload equals longer wait times and  increased turnaround time ~ resulting in lengthened permit acquisition.

Additionally, with the new year, added requirements have been instated to the permitting process.  These requirements affect 'McMansion' specific areas, criteria regarding architects, zoning changes and fee increases.  Code violations are increasing, largely due to construction/improvements/remodeling without permit.  Expired permit and/or unpermitted work is detected with much more frequency in existing homes during the selling/purchasing process. 

These factors confirm, more than ever, the need for a permitting service.  No one has the spare time to deal with permitting.  The Permit Lady assists homeowners, contractors, architects, engineers and real estate agents on every level of concern. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me....the sooner I begin, the more quickly you are relieved of the weight of permitting.   I do all the work, so you can enjoy the new year and all the wonderful things Austin has to offer! 

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Basic Permit Information

Posted on September 5, 2014 at 4:56 PM Comments comments (81)
Did you know......
  • You will need to obtain a building permit PRIOR to beginning any work on your project. If you do the work yourself, or if a contractor is hired to do the work, the homeowner is ultimately responsible to the permit. 
  • Permits must be applied for in person.  
  • Depending on the scope of work, a permit can take anywhere from 1 day (express specific) to 4 months (full remodel or new build). A permit service can shorten this time considerably. 
  • The following information typically is necessary to obtain a building permit:
    • The address where the work is to be completed.
    • The name of the owner of the property.
    • The use or occupancy for which the proposed work is intended.
    • Description of work to be completed.
    • The electrical, plumbing, and mechanical contractors.
    • The architect of record and/or the structural engineer of record, if applicable.
    • The total valuation of the proposed project, as well as contracted breakdowns.
    • Plans, site plan/survey, diagrams, or other data, which adequately describes how the work is to be constructed. Plans shall be drawn to scale and be of sufficient clarity to indicate the nature and extent of the work proposed in order to show it is in compliance with the building code.
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Violation Notices

Posted on January 12, 2014 at 9:43 PM Comments comments (15)
We are seeing an increase in code violation cases being referred to The Permit Lady. While there are always individuals and companies that try the cheap way around by doing construction projects without the benefit of permits, the current increase is by flippers.

Flippers will take a house, do some work without permits and sell the property without disclosing that there has been un-permitted work on the house. We were contacted recently by a new homeowner who had just purchased such a house.  The down payment took most of their cash and then a code enforcement officer knocked on the door. 

I have gotten to know several code enforcement officers over the years. They are decent people and are too busy to be looking for violations. Violations seem to fall into their laps. Busybody neighbors and evicted former tenants are the usually the ones who alert code enforcement officers to problems. I do know of cases in which an officer is investigating a possible violation at one property and stumble upon a neighbor's un-permitted work.

Correcting a code violation is expensive!  The typical process is: 

  • Hire an architect to draw plans of how the building is now, called As-Builts

  • Get a building permit for the un-permitted work

  • Hire a general contractor

  • Schedule an inspection by the city or county

  • Have the contractor expose the construction in question at the inspector's instruction

  • Make any corrections

  • Have a re-inspection

  • Have the contractor cover/complete the exposed construction

It can very costly to go through this process. To top it off, there is no guarantee the city will approve the permit.  My advice: Get a permit or don't do the work!
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Do You Need a Permit?

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 7:49 PM Comments comments (28)
NEW construction permit requirements seem, well, obvious.  But what about simple projects?  If you're thinking about replacing your water heater or converting part of your garage into an office, ask yourself before you open your tool box: "Do I need permits?" Even small home improvements may require a building permit. Faulty installations can cause fires, flood damage and other hazards, and also force you to make costly repairs before you can sell your house. Permits and the inspections that come with them protect your family's safety and the value of your property by ensuring the work meets adopted building codes.
Types of Building and Trade Permits
Building permits are documents which are obtained through the local development center authorizing the start of construction or remodeling of a building. There are four types of permits which may be required:
  1. Building Permit: New construction, additions, alterations, house moves, demolition, or repairs to either residential or non-residential structures.
  2. Electrical Permit: New installations, additions, extension, alterations, changes, and fire and accident repairs of any electrical wiring and electrical equipment associated with a structure or project. Separate permits are required for wiring, fixtures, furnaces, and construction poles. For convenience, the wiring, fixtures, and furnaces may be combined on one permit if they are included on the original application. Construction poles will require a separate permit in every case.
  3. Plumbing Permit: New installation, removal, alteration, repair, or replacement of any plumbing, gas, or drainage piping work, or any fixture or water heater or treating equipment in a building or premise. A separate permit is required for each building or structure and privies used during construction.
  4. Mechanical Permit: New installations; alterations; repair; replacement; remodel; and/or removal of duct work, heating, venting, or air conditioning equipment (HVAC) for each separate building or structure involved in the project.
REMEMBER:  You will need to obtain a building permit PRIOR to beginning any work on your project. This is when an individual who is planning to DIY should employ The Permit Lady to expedite the process of acquiring necessary permits!
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