Building Permit

Then the big event – getting a building permit.  Steps along the way included the previously mentioned well and septic permits.  Other steps were

  • finalizing commitments with subcontractors
  • getting an Owner’s Statement Form notarized that I was doing my own contracting
  • getting notarized statements from my subcontractors, with their license numbers, that they would be doing the work that I had them on the permit to do
  • submitting a draftsman’s prepared set of plans showing: footing foundation; floor plans; elevations; typical wall section and structural plans
  • having a 911 address

Maybe more things that I’ll remember later.  Most counties have that information on their websites.

Something I tried to get out of but couldn’t was paying the School Impact Fee of $3500.  This was something Chatham County had instituted fairly recently and I did not have in my budget.  I was hoping that the fact that all my children were grown and it was highly improbable that any children were going to fit into this 400 square foot house with me.  I contacted the chair of the county board of commissioners with this request, also pointing out that commercial residences built for people over 65 were exempt from the fee.  He listened, was sympathetic, met and conferred with the rest of the board and told me that they could not make and individual exemption despite the reasonableness of it.  They had debated long before setting the guidelines when they first initiated the fee, deciding finally that a flat fee across the board for all new single family residential construction was the simplest and most straightforward.

They were lovely in their consideration but if I had been on the board of commissioners at the time I would have pushed for something perhaps a bit fairer – considering that a builder of a 400 sq. ft. residence with one bedroom payed the same as the builder of a 4000 sq. ft. residence that could include umpteen bedrooms housing scads of children who would impact the schools.  Ah well, it was worth trying…..I bit the bullet, hard,  and paid.

Once the plans and application were approved and I had the permit in my eager and slightly nervous hands I contacted my electrician about installing the temporary “saw panel” that provides power for tools needed in construction.  Jacques Menache, Carrboro/Chapel Hill Electrician, was, is, my electrician and he came with a helper and with his dog and put up a pole with the panel and nailed my info box up to it.


It is required to have a container at the site that has the permit, inspection card, the plans and something about erosion control in it.  I opted for a cheapo one from Lowes, not planning on going into business and ever using it again.  It’s held up so far.

The first inspection checked off on the permit card was of the panel for temporary electric service.  Once that was okay-ed I notified Progress Energy and they came to hook up the power line that had been hanging coiled from one of their poles for over a year.  I think I was more charged at the event than the power panel.

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