By Helen Callier
February 22nd, 2021
As I write this article, millions of my fellow Texans are still without power and attempting to stay warm huddled inside their homes. Others have sought shelter at warming centers to weather the freezing temperatures and to protect their family.
Just like the Texas electrical grid’s, managed by the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), infrastructure failed, some houses in Texas were not built to withstand freezing temperatures for any long period. As a result, water pipes inside walls can and do burst causing damage to sheetrock, electrical wiring, flooring, and cabinetry. When this happens, and if you live within a city jurisdiction, make sure any trade contractor that you hire pulls the required repair permit. We have heard too many horror stories from other natural disasters where a trade contractor completed work and then months later found out that a permit was never pulled. Don’t let this be you!
Consider the following tips as general rule-of-thumb when residential repair permits are required, especially when living within a city jurisdiction limit in Texas.
Repair Permits are Required:
- Major plumbing repairs and installation of new plumbing
- Replacing electrical wiring
- Replacement or repair of structural members
Repair Permits Not Required:
- Sheetrock repair and replacement
- Painting, wall papering
- Repair of cabinetry
- Replacing countertops
- Replacement of carpet and other flooring types
- Minor electrical repairs
In addition, our historical industry data from prior natural disasters in Texas show that when faced with making repairs and minor work, homeowners often decide that it is a good time to complete major remodel work that they have wanted to do for a long time.
In this scenario, note that building a new addition, enclosing a carport, converting a garage, expanding a room, adding porches, and other similar work involving substantial changes to the house structure require actual Architectural and Structural plans to submit to City Permitting to obtain a building permit. Also, some home associations rules and regulations may require approval before proceeding in any major remodels.
In addition, if a house was destroyed by fire due to faulty wiring, improper use of generators, space heaters and more, a building permit is required by most city jurisdictions to rebuild a fire damaged house in Texas. Note, rural areas and county jurisdictions have other requirements which may be less stringent. Check permitting jurisdictions web sites for additional information.
Wintery storms and freezing conditions are dangerous in areas that normally have warm winters and lack the infrastructure to properly handle inclement weather like being experienced in Texas this week. This also includes residential housing that may require repairs to electrical wiring, plumbing, walls, cabinets, and floors when water pipes burst. When this occurs, take the necessary precautions, and ask licensed trade contractor if work being performed requires a repair permit. If the answer is yes, then ask Contractor if repair permit has been secured.
We are deeply moved by the extraordinary fortitude of Texans during challenging times and offering tips on when a repair permit may be needed is a showing of our commitment to the Lone Star state and to the construction industry. Are you a Construction Project Executive or Contractor in Texas, call the PermitUsNow building code experts at 1.844.PERMIT.4 for any questions on building permits or visit www.permitusnow.com to request a quote for your next residential construction project.