Whether or not you will need a permit to create or modify your driveway depends on the exact work you want to do and what state or city you live in. Contact the local office or parish assessor in charge of building codes to ask about permits before doing anything to your driveway. Consider talking with your contractor about permits before work starts.
While it is typically part of a contractor’s duties to obtain the proper permits when working on a driveway, maybe you are doing the work yourself.
Even if you do have a contractor, it can be helpful to know about the process of getting a permit, and you can discuss it with them to ensure that the permit has been obtained and is being used properly.
Keep reading to learn about the driveway modifications that generally need permits.
This article will also cover some frequently asked questions.
Driveway Modifications that Usually Require a Permit
All of the basic modifications that you can do to your driveway generally require a permit and must meet local criteria in order to be legal.
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Look into all of the following modifications before starting on them.
Pouring Fresh Concrete
Whenever you want to pour fresh concrete to create a new driveway, you must research the regulations for driveway width in your area.
For what is typically a fairly large project, you will probably need to obtain a permit in most places.
Even if you simply want to make your driveway a bit wider, you need to check with your town or city to see if they will allow it, as your driveway might affect areas that are considered public access, such as a section of a sidewalk.
Check with your neighborhood as well, as they may have their own specific set of width regulations for driveways.
Changes to Sidewalks or Gutters
While simple repairs to your driveway usually do not require a permit, you may need one if any of your driveway repairs involve making any changes to, again, public access areas like sidewalks or curbs and gutters.
Who to Consult About Driveway Permits
The easiest and most important way to research driveway permits is to consult the local official in charge of them.
To learn more about the requirements of driveway permits and how to get one, speak to the following people.
Building Code Office
If you live in a city or most incorporated areas, there should be an office that is in charge of building codes.
Driveways fall under their authority, as they are considered an extension of your home.
The building code office should have all of the essential information about driveway permits for your city and possibly even your neighborhood.
If you live in a rural area that is not incorporated, they will not have an office that is entirely dedicated to building codes.
In this case, you should contact the parish assessor.
The assessor is responsible for evaluating properties, and they will help you make sure that the changes you want to make follow state and county regulations.
A good contractor will already be familiar with the process of obtaining a driveway permit, and if they work pretty exclusively in your area, they will probably know a lot about those specific regulations, too.
It might be a good idea to discuss the permit with them to make sure they know what they are doing or to ensure that they are following those regulations.
Why Driveway Permits Are Often Necessary
Although researching the regulations and trying to obtain a permit to work on your driveway may feel tedious or unnecessary, these codes and the permits are there to protect the value of both your property and the surrounding areas that are available to the public.
All of these regulations hold you or your contractor responsible for the quality of the finished driveway.
Officials inspect your driveway once it is done to make sure that none of these codes have been violated.
For example, contractors are usually required to mix the concrete with clean water, and they have to pour it in a specific way to minimize the likelihood of the concrete cracking.
Without permits and their backing regulations, it would be much harder to ensure that all contractors are doing these things properly.
What Happens if Work Is Done Without a Permit
Please note that neglecting to research whether or not a permit is required is not a valid excuse if you get caught working on your driveway without a permit in a situation where one is needed.
If officials catch you or a contractor working on your driveway without a permit, you will be forced to pay an expensive fine.
Such work is also very obvious and easy to spot, especially if you are creating a new driveway and pouring a lot of concrete.
Even if officials do not notice right away, suspicious neighbors might report you.
Be sure to look into whether you need a permit in your area and obtain one if you do.
Important Information to Take Away
Although the contractor is typically the one who knows about permits for driveways and the one who gets them, you will have to do this if you want to work on your driveway yourself.
Looking into regulations and when permits are required in your area will also help you monitor a contractor’s progress.
Contact your local office in charge of building codes or the parish assessor before any work is done to your driveway.
These permits protect the value of your property and ensure that the job is done properly.
Neglecting to get a permit when it is required results in an expensive fine.