It's springtime, when homeowners' thoughts turn to sprucing up around the house and tackling remodel projects. If you plan to remodel, add a room or build a deck, whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or hire a contractor, consider some tips from the Dublin Division of Building Standards to help the project go smoothly and protect you and your home.

It's springtime, when homeowners' thoughts turn to sprucing up around the house and tackling remodel projects. If you plan to remodel, add a room or build a deck, whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or hire a contractor, consider some tips from the Dublin Division of Building Standards to help the project go smoothly and protect you and your home.

In most cases, you must obtain a permit from building standards before the work begins. Depending on the scope of your project, you might need to get permits from the city's zoning and engineering departments, as well.

If you do the job yourself, be careful not to underestimate the time needed to complete the project. Make sure you understand building codes and standard construction practices applicable to your project. Whether you have the ability to draw plans or have a professional draw them, be certain to submit the plans to building standards for approval and to follow the plans as approved to complete the project.

Here are some things to consider if you decide to hire contractors to perform your remodel:

Obtain competitive bids. Remember, the lowest bid might not always be the best.

Prior to selecting a contractor, obtain and verify references.

Don't pay twice. Make sure the general contractor pays his sub-contractors. Ask for signed lien waivers, indicating full payment, and don't pay ahead even if you're pressured to do so.

Be sure to get a signed contract with the vendor.

Interview the contractor about his or her construction abilities, and be sure he or she will provide all of the necessary construction documents to complete the job in a timely manner.

Make sure your contractor is registered through the city of Dublin.

The required permits vary, depending on the type of project. For example, a patio or landscape project might require only a zoning-compliance certificate.

If you plan to add a room, you will need to submit site plans, construction drawings, mechanical-systems description, model energy code and a light and ventilation schedule. Garages and screen rooms require site plans and construction drawings.

To finish a basement, you will need construction drawings. Before building a deck, you will need to submit a site plan and construction drawings.

All projects except basements require the completion of the appropriate application and certificate of zoning. If you hire a general contractor, he or she should handle all permitting and certifications for you.

For more information about home remodeling requirements and procedures in Dublin, visit www.dublin.oh.us. Click on "Building Standards" at the bottom of the page, under "Departments," or call (614) 410-4670.

Jeff Tyler is Dublin's director of building standards.