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Over the last eight weeks, we have covered a number of topics in our series on Stop Work Orders. We hope that we have made it clear how devastating non-permitted work can be.

Why, then, do people undertake such work – and how do you avoid ending up in a similar position?

Read more from our Stop Work Order series:

Stop Work Order horror stories: Why you should never start renovations without the proper Permits

“But I bought it this way”: Dealing with a Work Without Permit Order on a property you purchased

Think you know the BC Building Code? Think again or risk a Stop Work Order

4 mistakes that lead to non-permitted work and Stop Work Orders

1. Viewing renovations as a DIY project

Renovations are complex, but many people see them as DIY projects. The problem with this is that most individuals are not aware of the many rules and regulations that govern renovations at the City level. This can lead to people making costly renovation errors or receiving Stop Work Orders.  

2. Waiting too long

At times, there are renovations that individuals need to have completed by a certain time. In these cases, some people do not start these renovations early enough, not realizing how long it can take to receive permits. Then, unable to get their permits in time, they launch into the work anyway, putting themselves in a bad position.

3. Thinking it will be fine

Some people simply believe that non-permitted work will never become an issue. They think no one will ever know the work is happening and they will never get a Stop Work Order. Do not buy into the idea that you can get away with working without proper Permits. City inspectors drop in on renovation and construction projects to ensure work is being done correctly, and that the necessary Permits are in place.

4. Not seeing work as needing a Permit

Sometimes, we see people who did not think they needed a Permit because they were just doing a “small project”, not a full renovation. Even small changes can need permits though, so do not dismiss a project as too small to count.

Small jobs requiring a Permit include, but are not limited to:

  • Moving electrical wires or gas lines
  • Altering the plumbing
  • Removing walls
  • Adding an additional structure on the property
  • Or adding to an existing structure on the property

How to avoid these mistakes, and avoid Stop Work Orders

When you are engaging in any kind of renovation work, the best way to protect yourself is to work with respected professionals, and check with Building Officials at your City by describing the work to be done, and asking about requirements for Permits.

Home design professionals know the rules and regulations around renovation work and City Permits. They will guide you through these rules and regulations, ensuring that all work is compliant, and therefore can help protect you from getting a Stop Work Order.