Q: What are some reasons that a homeowner should defer to the contractor to acquire a building permit? –Glen D.

A: Probably the main reason is that experienced contractors can expedite the process, and can also sometimes head off potential problems before they arise. Contractors know and understand the "system," and they typically know exactly what will be required to obtain specific types of permits.

If there are any irregularities, they also usually know who to talk to at the permit office, and may be able to resolve things more readily simply because they know the construction process and the related terminology and can suggest solutions that might not occur to a homeowner.

Also, if subcontractors are involved, the contractor will have all the necessary information about those subs that the permit office will require. All of that can also translate into a contractor being able to obtain the permit faster than you can, simply because he will have all the necessary information available on the first visit, where you may have to make multiple trips.

The actual cost of the permit is the same whether you obtain it or the contractor does. The contractor will typically charge you for his or her time, but on the other hand you save your own time in not having to deal with what is often a very confusing process.

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