Permits, Inspections and Contractors.

When it comes to home repairs and making home improvements, complying with the law can get complicated. A new city ordinance in Omaha has sought to bring Omaha in line with widely accepted building codes and standards.

As of August 31, 2011 all general contractors operating in Omaha will need to be licensed, insured and bonded. There are 5 different classes (A thru E). Type "A" is a big time contractor that builds skyscrapers. The licenses then decrease in allowed building activity until they get to type "E" which is your regular handyman, doing roofing, windows and decks.

Here is a link for the new law that may be helpful. 

Don't be tempted to bypass the permit and inspection process.  When it comes time to sell your home, any improvements to the original structure will be noted by the buyer's home inspector as well as the lender's appraiser.  If the proper permits were not pulled, illegal additions might cause the lender to refuse your buyer's loan.  Worse yet, building inspectors can fine you up to 4 times the original fees and might order you to tear down an uninspected structure.

Always get your required permits and inspections. It may seem like an inconvenience and extra expense at the time but it is essential if you want to make a clean sale of your property in the future.

Here are some excerpts and links to Omaha Municipal Building Codes.

BuildingPermits; no structure can be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished without a permit.

There are exceptions;

  1. Movable cases, counters and partitions not over five feet nine inches high.
  2. Retaining walls which are not over six feet high measured from the bottom of the finished grade to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II, or III-A liquids.
  3. Painting, papering, floor covering and similar work.
  4. Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.
  5. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall of one- and two-family dwellings when projecting not more than 54 inches.
  6. Swimming pools.
  7. Repairs and alterations that are entirely nonstructural in nature and do not cost more than $500.00 to complete.
  8. Replacement of existing concrete or asphalt driveways and walks, provided that the area being replaced is no larger than that which previously existed.
  9. New concrete or asphalt paving when the total area is less than 200 square feet and it is not located within the front yard setback.
  10. Accessory buildings which are not larger than 75 square feet in floor area.

Plumbing Permits are required for all plumbing work except for; repairs which involve only the working parts of a faucet or valve, clearance of stoppages, or repairing or replacement of defective faucets or valves; minor repairs of water conditioning appliances or minor repairs of a lawn sprinkler system; provided that alterations are not made in the existing piping or fixtures and appliances.

For Electrical: Electrical permits are required for running electrical wires. Whenever you have to add new wiring, reroute wring or replace existing wiring, you need a licensed electrician to get a permit.

Mechanical Systems like heating and air conditioning including ductwork require a permit unless a homeowner is working on her/his own residence, in which case s/he still needs to call the planning dept. before work and be inspected and pay the fee afterward.

If you are in doubt about your liability and responsibility when it comes to licensing, permits and inspections, Call a licensed professional contractor, or contact the City Planning Dept.  819 Farnam Street, Suite 1100, Omaha NE 68183-1100, (402) 444-5350 .

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Greg Bane

Greg Bane

Your Friendly Neighborhood Real Estate Agent
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