The city speaks: Who should take out a building permit
Part two of a three-part series on city of Marshfield permits
By Dick Pokorny
Marshfield Building Services Supervisor
You finally decided to make those improvements to your property. Now you must choose who will do the work. This year’s project might be as simple as installing a door or can be as complex as building a deck or an addition.
Often people will hire someone to do the work for them. With the extensive amount of how-to information on the internet or available at the library or at big box stores, many homeowners choose to do all or some of these projects. Sometimes we at building services are asked to refer people to a good contractor, which we cannot do.
After reading last week’s article, you should realize that to do the work you need a permit. You as owner are always responsible to get a permit prior to commencing work. When an owner selects a person or business, many times the assumption is that the contractor will take out any needed permits. This is not the always the case.
Sometimes contractors place in their written quote/bid that the owner is responsible for all permits. This leads to problems as most people do not focus on the document enough to realize what that means. Finding out the day the contractor shows up that you need a permit is bad timing for you and us. Racing down to city hall the same day is not the best solution. At times a permit takes one to three business days to process.
This is especially true if the work involves interior remodeling with changes to walls or doors or involves a deck or addition. Sometimes permit applications take longer to approve depending upon what is being anticipated. The good news is that most of the permits for siding, windows, doors, and replacement roofs can be issued the same day.
There are licensed and/or certified contractors who always want the owner to take out the permit. There are also contactors who do not have any licenses or certifications. We cannot issue a permit to them. The owner taking out a permit assumes responsibility for the other persons’ work.
In essence you are doing the work. In fact our residential permit application is a two-page document. One page is the project information with the filer’s signature at the bottom. The second page is a state of Wisconsin “Cautionary Statement to Owners Obtaining Building Permits.” The statement has to be signed by an owner prior to our issuance of permits for work being done on or in one- or two-family houses.
In it the state cautions in part that the “owner may be held liable for any bodily injury to or death of others or for any damage to property of others that arise out of the work performed under the building permit.” Please always read this document before signing.
If you have questions on the information regarding permits, please contact building services at 715-486-2016 or via the city’s website, ci.marshfield.wi.us. Our permit applications and other related forms are found online at ci.marshfield.wi.us/residents/permits/index.php.