Fence installation lends itself to DIYing. Nobody could stop you from using sweat equity to minimize your project costs, provided that you secure the necessary permit before commencing construction.
At the risk of generalizing all local government policies, you need to apply for a permit before you could DIY an aluminum fence. If you fail to do so, you will get your comeuppance one way or another, sooner or later.
1.It Could Be Stopped
Not notifying the authorities about your fence installation project does not mean you could finish construction while staying under the radar. You would need all the luck in the world not to be caught in the act.
Even if you manage to finish your project uninterrupted, you are still not out of the woods. Neighbors talk, and building officials roam around neighborhoods to visit permitted home improvements. It is easy for anyone from your town’s permitting office to verify the legitimacy of a fence that was not previously there.
The lack of records in your local municipality is an invitation to scrutiny. A representative from your town’s building and development department could arrive at your door unannounced and question your mysterious structure. If you can’t show proper documentation, your fence could be ordered for demolition.
2. It Pits You Against the Government
Not all of your neighbors would be happy about your house exterior projects. However, a disgruntled member of your neighborhood can’t do anything about your fence if it is permitted.
It is a different story if the government itself does not agree with its construction or its existence. If you did not get the green light to build it in the first place, you could be fined for your violation and shoulder other applicable costs.
3. It May Not Be Possible to Insure
You will be hard-pressed to find or convince an insurance company to ensure an unpermitted feature of your house. In case of weather damage or vandalism, you will have to pay for the repair of your broken fence 100%.
4. It Can Affect the Property’s Cost
A beautiful fence can increase your property’s curb appeal that can translate to actual dollars if you decide to sell your house down the road. But your outdoor structure could do the opposite if it does not have any paperwork.
Unless you choose to sell it in an as-is condition where no questions would be asked, every serious discerning buyer would take issue with unpermitted home improvement. The other party could use it as a bargaining chip in negotiation, pressuring you to lower your asking price. Or it could sabotage the sale itself.
DIYing a home improvement project can save you a ton of money in labor. However, you should know that it can also backfire on you if you do not play the rules. Skipping permit application is a major gamble you do not want to take. If you do not want to waste your time, money, and energy, make an effort to get the nod from the authorities first.