This article was submitted by Rachel Matthews, from the Wilton Building Department.

This is a reminder to all homeowners that most work done to your home requires a permit from the Town of Wilton. While there are few things that do not require a permit it is advised that you contact the Wilton Building Department directly for guidance (203.563.0177).  We hear, “My contractor told me we didn’t need a permit,” or “my contractor said he took out all of the necessary permits.” Our advice to you is call before you begin work to make sure everything is being done with proper permits. Always ask for a copy of the permit or call our office to confirm permits have been obtained.

Renovations done to your home without a permit will almost certainly surface when refinancing or selling your home and can hinder the sale of your home. It is much easier to be sure the proper permits are obtained before you begin any project no matter how large or small. The process is simple for most projects.

Another common issue is we get calls from homeowners complaining about their contractors not completing work or doing work beyond the scope of the original agreement and charging extra for this work. Our advice would be to make sure you have a contract in place, read it carefully, make sure that if any changes need to be made you both sign a job change form so you have back up in writing.

As you should know you can’t be too careful and verbal agreements may not be valid if you have to put forth any civil claim. Typically, what is in writing outweighs verbal agreements. If it is necessary to take legal action against your contractor or file a complaint with Consumer Protection it is imperative that that you have a contract in place and the contractor is licensed and insured. For your protection you should only hire contractors that are registered with the State of Connecticut and properly insured. Always check the status of your contractor’s registration throughout the job as this could change at any time. Consumer Protection can change the status on a contractor’s registration pending investigations of complaints.

Remember that you get what you pay for and the lowest bid is not always the best one. Take a proactive part in your project.  Have the contractor provide you with all the information such as subcontractors’ names, licenses and insurance information as well as copies of your permits from the town for your records. Know when your inspections are to be done and what the outcome is. In other words do your homework, get verification of information relayed to you by your contractor if you feel uneasy. You should be involved for your own good as it is the homeowner who is ultimately going to be responsible for work done on their home. If there is any question in your mind about any stage of your project, call the Building Department.

On a final note:  you must be confident in your contractor and trust him. If you suspect them of being less than honest with you from the beginning or trying to cut corners, chances are that it will continue through the duration of your project. Remember, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”