By: Jeanne Ward Martin 

If you are a private homeowner or own commercial property chances are that at some point you will need to repair, replace or install an HVAC system. HVAC is short for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Permits ensure that any work done on your property is within your town’s building code and zoning requirements. They keep you, your family, your employees and your customers safe. 

These are the steps you’ll need to take as a homeowner or business owner to install, replace or make a significant repair to your AC and/or heating system.

Who applies for a permit?

The permit process is the same for both commercial and residential properties. For example, if you want to replace an old oil tank system with a new, gas HVAC system the contractor would apply for the appropriate permits required by your town. The town construction or building code official reviews the application. At this point the application will be marked as UNDER REVIEW. The town may request additional documentation, such as a survey of the property that shows where the outside unit will be placed or technical sheets of the equipment to be installed.There are several other types of permits. The contractor will know which applications to use. It depends on the work being done. In our example, we’d be removing an oil tank. That is an extra step that would require an inspection to ensure the removal was done properly. Then the replacement work can be started.

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What should I do it once I get it?

Once the application is approved the permit can be issued. The application will be marked PICK UP and the town will notify you. There will be a fee at this time. Every town is different. The homeowner/business owner is required to go to their local municipal building or town hall, pick up the permit and pay the fee. At that point the permit is marked as OPEN. The permit should be displayed in an area where people can see it. It will also tell you which inspectors will need to check the work. The most common are electrical, mechanical, fire and plumbing. For commercial properties, you may need building and elevator.

When does the town inspect the work that was done?

Once the new HVAC system is complete final inspections can be scheduled. It’s a good idea that the owner calls to schedule so that it is convenient for you. Someone will have to be at the property to let the inspectors in. When you call the township building/construction department make sure to request that the inspectors coordinate to all come on the same day. There is no additional fee for this. Be ready with three days you’d be available. Remember that you’ll have to be there on the day selected, awake, and dressed as early as 7 am. Inspectors start their days very early in the morning but it can take most of the day to get to you.If you do not pass inspections give your contractor a call with the details you’ll receive from the inspector. The contractor should fix whatever still needs to be done as quickly as possible. A new final inspection will need to be scheduled then but not for everyone, only the inspections that did not pass the first time. Again, the owner should call the town with three possible days, and be awake and ready as early as 7 am on the day selected.

How can I close the permit?

Once the final inspections are passed the permit is marked CLOSED. The owner doesn’t need to do anything about this. You can take down the permit on display but I would still hold onto it. If you plan to sell your home or business you may need to prove the work done was permitted. Town records are not always accurate.

What if I don’t pick up the permit?

If you decide not to pick up the permit you will not be able to have the final inspections done, and the town can levy penalties against you. This may not come up until you try to sell the property but it will come up. Some towns are exorbitant. For example, Lakewood is $5,000 a week until the issue is remedied.

Temp Control LLC is headquartered in Woodbridge, NJ with locations in Freehold and Westfield. We service and install heating and air conditioning systems in Middlesex, Union, Monmouth, and Somerset Counties

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