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Building Permit FAQ: When do you need a one?

Building Permit FAQ: When do you need a one?


IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The information published in here is for homeowner education purposes only. It is not particular towards any specific municipality. Contact your local town or city building department to find out about the exact laws and codes in your area for obtaining a building permit.


Obtaining a building permit in the Hudson Valley can range quite drastically, having different codes and laws in differing counties and even one town to the next. It’s important to check the laws and regulations in advance to make sure you are properly informed and prepared for your next remodeling or building project.



Q: What is a building permit?


A: A building permit is a formal document authorizing construction or home improvement work to be done in accordance with local regulations.

Q: What is the purpose of a building permit?


A: In general, permits are issued to protect the health and safety of the homeowner and contractor, as well as the overall general public. The governing body ensures the work is done in compliance with the construction drawings, specifications, and adopted building and fire codes.

Q: When is a building permit required?


A: It varies between municipalities, but building permits are typically required whenever someone is looking to construct, enlarge, improve, alter, demolish or change the nature of the building or dwelling. They are also required when installing any mechanical equipment or systems such as heating, air-conditioning, electrical, plumbing or fire suppression.


Features such as sheds, swimming pools, signs, accessory apartments, or home occupations typically require a permit as well.


If you live in a community or neighborhood with a Homeowner Association (HOA), it’s a smart idea to consult with them in case they have additional requirements or approvals to meet.

Q: What home improvement work can be done without a permit?


A: Generally, repair work that does not require alterations of structural members does not need a building permit. Interior or exterior painting, decorating, siding or roofing typically does not need a permit either. When in doubt, contact your local department to be safe.

Q: How much do building permits cost?


A: It all depends on the municipality and the specific project. In Dutchess and Putnam County, permits typically range between $100 – $300 for general home improvement projects like kitchen and bathroom renovations. The cost is often proportional to the square footage or estimated cost of construction. For larger additions or new construction builds, permits can be $500 – $2000+.

Q: Who files for a building permit?


A: The contractor or homeowner typically applies for the building permit. If the contractor is submitting on behalf of the homeowner, some towns require an authorization form or Letter of Agency. This may need to be notarized.


Separate applications or permits often need to be pulled when electrical or plumbing work is required.

Q: How long does it take for a building permit application to be approved?


A: Some municipalities can approve permits within a day or two. Others can take 4+ weeks or even months to approve. It’s important to check with the department early on in regard to their specific lead time and turnaround so it does not slow down or halt your project.




When it comes to building permits, so much depends on your unique project and local jurisdiction. Gathering as much information as you can early on will help for a smoother project. Look to your building department as a guide and never be afraid to reach out for help.


Any questions in regards to building permits, never hesitate to reach out to us. If we do not know the answer, we’ll be sure to steer you in the right direction.


author avatar
Dan Arket