Building on to your home? Make sure you don’t need a permit

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A Bossier City resident fills out a form for a permit at the civic complex. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

Before Bossier home owners begin a construction project, they might want to consider a call to the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) office, or else they could find themselves with a headache down the road or even a fine.

A building permit is an official written authorization issued by a governing building department that allows the owner to proceed with construction from an owners completed application for a building permit. 

Building permits are issued to ensure that the project’s approved plans comply with local and state wide code requirements.

When it comes to construction, residents need building permits whenever a homeowner is altering or expanding their current home. A good rule of thumb is, if a structure is not permanently attached to the ground, then no permit is necessary.

“Anything that is not permanently attached to the ground, you won’t need a permit. But if it is attached to the ground, you are required to have a permit,” said Carlotta Askew-Brown, assistant director of the Bossier City-Parish MPC.

Moreover, if the property owner chooses to hire a contractor, Askew-Brown said the contractor typically pulls the permits for the property owner. 

“If you have a contractor building, typically they pull a permit for you and it’s billed into your invoice,” said Askew-Brown.

But if the property owner is unsure if a permit has been pulled by the contractor, a call to the permit office can give peace of mind.

“In order for the property owner to protect themselves, ask your contractor if a permit is required and if a permit has been pulled. If you are still unsure, call the permit office in your area — either the parish or Bossier City — and ask,” said Askew-Brown.

Although a home is private property, cities, counties and parishes often keep their eyes out for construction within a neighborhood. 

If they check and a homeowner has failed to obtain a proper permit, the consequences could see the project be “red tagged” and shut down, until proper permits are issued. The homeowner can also be heavily fined. 

To obtain a building permit, below are the steps for the process [Editor’s Note: Confirm your requirements with your local permit office]:

1. Contact your local permit office. Depending on the scope of work anticipated, you may be required to submit your completed application, survey, and architectural plans depicting the proposed work. 

2. Prepare your permit application and be specific as possible with the work that is going to be completed. Have your architectural plans completed and submitted along with the application or permit fees required.

3. As your work progresses you will need to arrange for inspections to be performed on the phases of completion, and obtain approval to proceed to further work. 

4. Once your project has successfully passed its final inspection, you will be issued a Certificate of Occupancy, providing legal status to the work performed. 

You can contact the Bossier City-Parish MPC office at 318-741-8824.