FAQs for Closing Open Permits

We have had so many questions about the process of closing permits that we’ve decided to share some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) here.

How long does it take to close an open permit?

It can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years to close an old permit. Many of the factors include, but are not limited to:

  • The date of the original permit,
  • How building codes have evolved over time,
  • How close the structure was built to current building codes,
  • The flexibility of the owners.

In most cases, the path to closing a long-standing building permit is not necessarily linear. Since the original job was not completed in the usual manner–which is intended to be linear–the path to resolve it may be only partly known or circuitous.

Our job is to uncover the most efficient path to close the permit for you. Our goal is to save you money and still get the job done.

How much does it cost to close an open permit?

The cost of closing an open permit depends, again, on many factors. We have been able to close 3 permits for less than $1000 for one family in a few months. In another case, we closed 1 permit after about 2 years at a much higher cost.

Each building is unique and has its own set of circumstances. The age of the permit may determine the availability of information on the building. It may also dictate the conditions under which the permit may be closed. Rules and regulations have changed over time and the longer one waits to close an open permit, the more stringent the building codes become.

In most cases, we will not be able to assess the cost to close the permit(s) until we consult with a Building Inspector and to examine the condition of the structure.

Will it add value to my home?

In most cases, yes, the permitted structure or living space will add square footage to your home which should also add value.

Will I need an architect?

In most cases, yes, either architects or engineers will need to be involved in the project as we are dealing with buildings and safety. Architects and engineers will be able to determine appropriate building materials for various uses that comply with current building codes.

What if I don’t have plans?

We are able to assist with drafting your plans although it’s easier to start with some sort of plans or blueprints of the existing building. If there are no plans to be found, we may need to take measurements on site. This may take a few minutes to a few hours depending on the scope of work.

Sketching out the floor plans and elevations are always helpful. If you are skilled at taking accurate measurements and can do simple drawings or have friends that wouldn’t mind helping out with these tasks, we encourage you get those sketch pads out. We will need to have both electronic and paper plans for the Architect to review and approve as well as to submit to the County Building Department for their review.

2 thoughts on “FAQs for Closing Open Permits

    1. Be persistent but polite. The final inspection is very important. Try different modes of communication (email, phone, personal contact, leaving a message with the front desk, etc.).


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