Building Permits and Inspections

The most definitive evidence of the construction of a house is a building permit, which is a document that grants permission to construct or make renovations to permis de construire a building. It often will list the type of structure, the purpose of the structure, when it was constructed, construction details such as the building material, number of rooms in the building, the address and owner. Sometimes it will even list the name of the architect, construction costs and names of the contractors.

Building permits may be held by local building or planning departments. Older ones may have been preserved by the local library or historical society. Your best bet will be to contact your local municipality to see if they have maintained the building permits for your community. Even if your house was built before the permits were kept, you may still find information about later modifications and additions to your house.

Knowing the approximate date of construction, which you can obtain from the local property taxing district, and the legal description of the property will help in searching building permit files. These are sometimes arranged by address, but more often are filed chronologically by filing date, which can make them difficult to use. If you do locate a one for your property, note the name of the homeowner and any architect involved. While you are at your local municipal office, ask about the existence of any separate files for acquisitions of city easements, installation of sewers, and other city activities as these are additional items that can help you in writing the story of your home.

 

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