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Yes, a homeowner can work on their house. The house must be their legal primary residence, not a rental home. They must sign an affidavit to take responsibility for the work to be performed. They must obtain a permit for the work and have the required inspections.
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While regulations and requirements vary, generally you will need a building permit for most projects. This includes remodeling work and exterior work such as roofing, siding, decks, swimming pools, sheds, detached garages, and temporary structures. Work that does not require permits is limited to paint, wallcoverings, flooring and cabinetry. While ordinary repairs can normally be done without a permit, most electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work will require a special permit before it can be undertaken. It is best to check with the Building Inspection Department to see if a building permit is required before starting any project that involves construction. Fences under 7 feet and landscaping generally do not need permits.
To get a building permit, you will need to file a completed building permit application along with any required documentation. Our permits are all on-line with a link from the Town of Portsmouth website. Documentation that may be required includes plans of the proposed construction, site plan and approved septic plans. In addition, other necessary written approvals may be required from other town or state agencies such as the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), local utility companies, the fire department, and the zoning board. The types of documentation you need to file depends on the nature of your proposed project and local building regulations.
The State of Rhode Island does require some contractors to be licensed by the state, such as electricians and plumbers, while general contractors or their companies do not need to be licensed but must be registered. The Building Inspection Department can provide more information on what licenses your contractor should have.
There are no set fee for a building permit. Instead, the total cost of your permit is normally calculated based on the cost of the project, with a $66.00 minimum cost.
Yes, some additional fees are:
1. Fire Department plan review of $75.00.
2. Soil bond based on the soil erosion and sediment control plan - $3,000+ (refundable)
3. Impact fee - $3,190 per bedroom (first bedroom - no charge)