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Building & Renovating

Renovating Your Condo? Here Are the Permits You Need

Avoid delays and comply with admin rules with these reminders

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Photography: Town of Clayton and Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions (Main Photos)

You’ve finally decided to give your space a new look and you’re all set on the budget and theme. Before you call your go-to team of professionals, make sure you’ve prepared all the necessary permits and paperwork to ensure a smooth sailing home improvement project. Don’t let the legwork stress you out, a design professional can help you breeze through this process. Take note of these insights from the experts:

1. First things first—familiarize yourself with the building’s rules and regulations about renovation.

Before you even purchased the unit, we’re sure you’ve asked about the development’s house rules. Make sure you review these and that you comply with each to avoid problems. If there are policies that aren’t clear to you, set a meeting with the administrator or consult with an interior designer. According to interior designer Joy Adriano, he or she “can interpret the guidelines for the owner and design around the restrictions.”

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2. Work with a trusty and reliable contractor.

A contractor can help you secure the needed permits, be on top of the whole renovation process, and help you save on costs. “[A good contractor] is equipped with experience, can provide skilled labor, is decisive, and can resolve issues quickly and without delay,” shares interior designer Hannah Acab-Faustino.

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RL Tip: When choosing a contractor you can work with, you also need to look into his capability to supply labor, materials, and the needed equipment. Work with one who can implement the plans of your architect or designer and can arrange the schedules for inspection.


3. Before starting the renovation, make sure you’ve filed all the necessary permits.

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“To renovate a condo or an apartment, you need to secure the plans to be checked by the building/property manager for their approval. After paying the construction bond, [you need to] determine if it’s a major or a minor renovation,” says architect Angelo Siochi. Get started by filing a renovation application form and securing a permit from the building administration. These are the common requirements that you need to submit:

a. The architectural, engineering, and interior design plans of the project that are signed and sealed by a licensed architect, an interior designer, or an engineer. The application form and the drawings are reviewed by the admin department to see if the design will meet the admin’s and development’s construction criteria. “If there’s no need for revisions, construction is usually allowed to commence right away,” says architect Ivy Tablante-Darilag. The building admin and/or the development’s construction guidelines will state the format (size of drawings and paper size) and number of copies for each set of plans.

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RL Tip: Make sure your plans are complete. “Renovating is best when one has complete plans—from structure to interior finishes and furniture,” says Hannah.

b. Aside from submitting the plans or drawings, you need to pay a construction bond. The bond amount differs per administration or developer, so always ask beforehand. “The building admin will usually require the payment of a construction, which will be returned after the renovation has been completed,” says Ivy. Keep in mind that there are instances wherein you won’t be able to get the amount back in full. Damages to property and failure to meet deadlines may incur costs and will be deducted from the bond.

c. The contractor also needs to file a work permit to cover for the carpenters and other professionals involved in the project. In most developments, construction can only be done on certain days and specific hours in respect to the other unit owners.

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d. Another important permit that needs to be secured is the delivery permit, which requires the list of materials that will be delivered to the unit. This includes lighting, furniture, and other essentials that go into the space.

e. You may be asked to submit a Contractor’s All Risk Insurance. “[This is to] insure the safety of the people working on the project [and] the people they work with within the building,” adds Joy.

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f. Some properties require the payment of association dues and common area fees. Check with your building admin if you need to settle these as well.

RL Tip: According to Angelo, all permits will be provided by the admin and can be approved weekly or based on the policies of the developer.

Once you’ve done all these and filed all the permits, you will be given a Notice to Proceed. “It outlines the scope of work to be done in the unit, as well as the duration of the contract as requested by the contractor,” explains Joy.


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4. Maintain a healthy relationship with your contractor and partner professionals.

Schedule update meetings and visit the site regularly so you’ll know the status of the renovation project. It’s important that you’re all on the same page to avoid extra costs and miscommunication.

5. Stick to a timeline.

Prior to the renovation, inform your contractor about your target completion date. This can help you stay within the budget and avoid penalties based on the plans you submitted to the building administration.

With additional interviews by Katherine Lopez and Hannah Dormido | Main photo: Town of Clayton

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