If you’re building a new house or undertaking a major renovation project,  the process of obtaining construction permits might seem like a tedious phase. However, acquiring these permits is an important step to adhere to established safety standards and meet legal requirements, making them essential for the successful completion of the project. Generally,  a construction permit, typically required before commencing a construction project,  is an official approval granted by the state, city,  or local authorities that allows the initiation or continuation of a construction or remodeling project.

In Turkey,  construction permits issued under Law No.  3194 on Zoning include legally binding provisions and responsibilities. The primary purpose of this permit is to review whether the project complies with local zoning and construction standards,  ensuring adherence to local laws and regulations,  and fulfilling the necessary requirements for land use. All these legal obligations are in place to mitigate potential safety risks arising from building usage and ensure conformity with land use policies.

Involving individuals such as contractor,  construction foreman,  landowner,  and others in the process of obtaining a construction permit allows for the process to be carried out more swiftly and effectively.  During the construction permit process,  aspects like the structural integrity of load-bearing elements,  land zoning status,  water and sewage lines,  fire safety,  and electrical installations can be addressed. For more information about construction permits,  you can continue reading our article.

What is the Construction Permits?

A construction permit is an official document issued by the state, city, or local authority that grants individuals or organizations the permission to engage in construction activities such as building a new structure or carrying out expansion or repair work on an existing one. Some projects may require multiple permits, while others may not need any permits at all. Checking government policies and local regulations to determine which activities require permits before initiating a project can save you time.

Activities like construction, repair, and demolition require construction permits to ensure they meet standards for creating safe and stable structures, ensuring environmental safety, and complying with legal regulations. During the process of applying for a construction permit, the relevant government agency reviews the proposed activities to confirm their compliance with state and local zoning laws,  land use standards, and construction regulations. Additionally,  it allows officials to verify whether the project aligns with accessibility standards and other prevailing legal regulations.

Why is It Necessary?

Construction permits are generally issued to ensure that the intended project complies with safety standards. A construction permit encompasses topics such as the safety measures to be applied, meeting accessibility standards for the project, material and land use, health, and applicable zoning regulations. The overarching purpose of a construction permits are to guide and enforce contractors in considering and implementing these aspects while constructing or carrying out development work.

While obtaining a construction permit might appear as a process that presents hurdles and delays work progress, these standards hold significant importance in terms of the environment, health, and safety. Starting a project without a construction permit entails risks such as being uninsured and facing substantial penalties.

Additionally,  a structure built without a construction permit is nearly impossible to sell afterward.  The resale value of a project done without adhering to safety standards and legal regulations diminishes significantly. Those currently using or future occupants of the structure could be exposed to substantial risks. For all these reasons,  obtaining the necessary permits before any construction or extensive renovation work is a substantial responsibility.

When are Permits Required?

Whether a project requires a building permit or not depends on the specific project and local zoning and construction laws. While new construction projects generally require a building permit,  not all construction work or renovation projects need one. Simple repairs or cosmetic home improvement activities can often be carried out by a contractor or homeowners without the need for a permit.  However, projects that involve significant alterations or additions to a building’s structure, load-bearing systems, or utilities usually require a permit application.

If you have a contractor handling a project that requires a permit, they will typically handle the permit application process. If you plan to do the work yourself, applying for permits becomes your responsibility. It’s important to note that certain tasks, such as running gas lines or installing electrical systems, may be restricted to licensed professionals.

Due to variations in permit requirements from one region to another, consulting with local authorities and learning about permit-required activities before starting a project can save both time and money.  Keep in mind that obtaining a construction permit comes with a fee. This fee can vary based on factors like the project’s location, scope of work, and the specific local authority issuing the permit.

Here are some examples of projects that may require a construction permit:

  • Building a new residential or commercial structure on a vacant lot
  • Constructing a large structure like a garage or barn on a property with an existing building
  • Adding a large swimming pool to a residential property
  • Expanding or demolishing an existing home or business
  • Adding or removing walls in a home or business
  • Plumbing, electrical,  and sewage system work

Types of Construction Permits

There are numerous types of construction permits that can be obtained before initiating a construction project. Additionally,  each country, city, and region may require different permits based on their specific conditions and laws. Learning about the legal regulations in your area before applying for a construction permit is important to understand which activities necessitate a permit.  Some of the general categories of construction permits that apply in most places include:

  • Foundation Permits: This type of construction permits approves the plans solely for the foundation, serving as a good starting point for construction. By obtaining this permit,  you can begin your project by laying the foundation while waiting for the necessary permits for the rest of your project.
  • Demolition Permits: Demolition decisions involve various factors, leading to separate evaluations for demolition permits in different regions. For instance, if the area to be demolished is significant,  you might need both a demolition permit and a construction permit if you plan to build on the cleared site.
  • Residential Housing Permits: Residential permits encompass single-family homes, as well as multi-family dwellings like apartments and condominiums. These permits constitute a broad category that local governments often subdivide into more specific classifications.
  • Non-Residential Permits: Any structure not intended for residential use falls under the non-residential category. This includes commercial constructions,  non-residential additions,  and parking facilities.  This category,  too,  varies widely from region to region.
  • Alteration Permits: Alteration permits encompass changes made within non-residential buildings. These include tasks like mechanical work,  partitioning,  and fire systems.
  • Plumbing and Electrical Permits: Large-scale plumbing and electrical projects generally require construction permits.

The Building Permit Process

While the details may vary based on the area where the project will be carried out,  the process of applying for a construction permit is generally as follows:

First and foremost, contact the construction department of the local authority and explain your project.  If you need permission for your project,  you will be provided with the necessary documents for the application.  For minor alterations,  you might not even require a permit.  However,  for larger-scale projects,  you may need to obtain multiple permits.

Once you determine whether a permit is necessary,  prepare your application and include the plans and drawings of the project prepared by authorized individuals.  These drawings typically include architectural plans,  site layouts,  utility drawings,  sewage system plans,  and more.

Submit your application and remember that you’ll need to pay a zoning fee during the application process.

After the application is reviewed,  it will either be approved or denied.  If it’s denied,  you’ll need to address the identified issues and reapply.

Upon receiving approval,  you can begin construction.  Display the construction permit document in a visible location at the construction site.

As work progresses,  contact the inspection unit to request site visits by inspectors.  Address any changes requested by the inspector and then have them return to reevaluate the work.

After the inspector approves the work,  you won’t need to display the permit document again.

Construction Permit Application

A construction permit is an essential document that indicates the suitability of constructing a real estate property,  thus it is necessary to obtain it before starting any construction.  In this context,  it is imperative that the construction permit document is approved by the relevant authorities in order to initiate construction. This document is mandatory for all buildings to meet criteria of quality,  durability,  and safety,  as well as adhere to the required legal regulations. The approval of a construction permit application signifies that all types of construction work outlined in the project on the property have been authorized,  taking into account the ownership structure and other pertinent information.

Construction Permit Validity Periods

According to the zoning law,  the validity period of construction permits is 5 years. Construction must commence within 2 years from the date of issuance and be completed within 5 years.  If this rule is violated,  the permit loses its validity.

Regarding these regulations,  the zoning regulations state,  “Buildings that have not commenced construction within 2 years from the permit date or have not been completed within the 5-year permit period and have not had their permit renewed within the specified time frame will be considered unauthorized constructions. ”

In this context,  for constructions exceeding 5 years,  a new permit must be obtained; otherwise,  the construction will be halted.

Okan Ergin

Okan Ergin

Okan Ergin has been working as the General Coordinator at Ergin Makina since 2005.