Building Permits and New Homes

Recently while a client was obtaining their permits for developing their basement they found that there were still open permits for the upper levels that the builder did not complete and close them out. So a call to the City was made and out came the inspectors to inspect and close the open permits for occupancy. In this case, it so happened that there were minor issues with the upper levels that were easily fixed to meet code, but this raises the question, what if there were major issues? Or what if the code changed in the meantime and the home was built with a different code? ( homes must adhere to the current home in order to close a permit no  matter when the original permit was pulled)

It is unfortunate that the builder is no longer responsible for the still "open" permits because you now occupy the home, and with occupancy also goes the responsibility of ensuring the permits are correctly closed off with your new home. You could ask the builder to complete the permits but they could refuse to assist you in complying with the city. If there are any required changes minor or major it would technically be up to the homeowners to have completed and their expense. The same would be true if the builder went out of business and left the homeowner responsible for closing the open permits. Today you can take a look at the permits online at, there you can a history of open and closed building permits. 

To avoid this issue altogether, look for permits on the furnace and electrical panels, it certainly doesn't hurt to call the city and ask them if all permits are satisfied. A simple phone call can save you hassle and frustration down the road!

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