Permits – Protect Your Investment

Building permit documentsPermits are part of a system in place to ensure certain life safety and health standards are satisfied when air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, or construction work is performed at your home. There is a cost associated with about two percent of the project value, although that can vary from one municipality to the next it is a small price to pay.

Failure to acquire a permit, however, may have harsh consequences. One of these is, the municipality can bring the job to a halt if they discover work being done without a permit. Penalties up to four times the permit fee are not uncommon, not to mention the delay in getting your new air conditioner running and your home comfortable. Even if the contractor bears the expense (as they should), you are left with the discomfort and inconvenience.


An air conditioning system is meant to last many years and add value to your home. Even when the work has not been inspected by the authorities, the work may have been performed to the highest of standards. Some years later, however when you go to sell your property, a buyer’s inspection may reveal the project was not permitted. This information is available on-line in many municipalities, and others can look it up without delay. If the buyer learns of unpermitted work, it may conjure up doubts that sour the deal, and negotiations that will cost much more than the original permit fee. Even if you find a different buyer, you will be obligated under the contract to tell them of the unpermitted work.


With many insurance companies, it seems the key to their success is the denial of claims. Damage claims may be denied if insurers discover work was not permitted. Their argument is, it is they presume work has been installed safely and according to code. Without a permit and subsequent inspection, the owner has not held up their part of the bargain and a claim may be denied. Read your homeowner’s policy, and then insist that your contractor obtain a permit for any work performed at your home.


I recently spoke with a building official from Palm Beach County and asked of him, “What kind of protection does the homeowner derive from obtaining a permit?” His response went something like this:

A homeowner had sold their home. During the buyer’s inspection, a problem was noted with the air conditioning system: the contractor had cut a truss to make room for the air handler in the attic (never allowed without proper engineering). As a result, the roof had begun to sag. Major reconstruction was necessary to restore the damages, costing many times over what the air conditioner had cost ($71,000, according to my friend, the building official).

Are these extreme cases? Yes. Do they happen every day? Yes. Many contractors say they are interested in “saving you a few dollars” and will attempt to convince you they can do it cheaper and better without the inconvenience of a permit.

At Complete Comfort, it is our promise not to take short cuts. We will bring you quality workmanship and good value for your health, safety, and long-term satisfaction. Permitting is part of that process, and we are proud of our record of passed inspections and our good relationships with local building officials.

Call us today at (561) 529-6262 for your air conditioning needs.