If you have plans to undertake any significant home projects, chances are you’ll need a permit from the city of Ada first.

Many residents are unaware of the permit process, but most builders and repairmen know about it. Either the homeowner or the authorized construction agent can obtain a permit from City Building Official David Daffern. A permit costs between $10 and $25 on average, depending on the work being done.

“There are a lot of people out there who may not know they need a permit, but those they hire to do the work know it,” Daffern said. “It is the responsibility of the homeowner to make sure a permit is obtained, if necessary. In some cases, the contractor will have already picked up a permit for the job. The homeowner should always check to be on the safe side.”

The city permit ordinance applies to a homeowner’s efforts “to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure” as well as any efforts “to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert, or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system.”

There are exemptions to the permit requirements, usually involving smaller projects that do not alter the framework of a structure or impact its electrical, plumbing, gas, or mechanical systems. Major emergency repairs are also allowable, provided a permit is obtained within the next working day.

A homeowner or authorized construction agent in violation of the permit ordinance may be fined up to $200 plus court costs. Daffern urged any contractors currently not in compliance to contact the city as soon as possible in order to avoid potential fines.

“The bottom line is homeowners who are unsure should check with the city first,” Daffern said. “Obtaining a simple, inexpensive permit is a much better alternative than the fine. Plus, it’s important for insurance purposes. Damage caused by projects that were not officially permitted may not be covered by some insurance companies.”

Permits, or more information about them, may be obtained by contacting Daffern at (580) 436-8150 or by visiting the city’s North Annex building on the southwest corner of 12th and Townsend streets.