If you’re planning a home remodeling project, it’s easy to get carried away dreaming about colors, fixtures, and appliances. But before you get started, you need to ask yourself one very simple, but crucial question: “Do I need a permit for that?”

If you don’t obtain the proper permits for a construction project, you could be shut down midway through the job. And you could even be forced to undo some or all of the work, and redo it a different way. Obviously this would be frustrating and potentially cost a lot of money, so it’s wise to look into the permitting issue before you get started.

No, you don’t need a permit for everything. When in doubt, it’s better to ask. It only takes a few minutes and a phone call to the permit office. But for most remodeling jobs that are purely cosmetic, such as painting the bathroom or installing new kitchen cabinet doors, you won’t need a permit.

But you usually do need a permit for… 

  • Building or adding a new structure to your property
  • Making certain structural changes to your home
  • Renovations involving windows, insulation, lighting, and fire sprinklers (for energy efficiency purposes)
  • Plumbing and electrical work
  • Various other situations in which health or safety might be impacted

When in doubt, ask!

Even if a permit is not required, you could face other complications. Also check your homeowners association rules before starting any renovation project. Some HOAs impose strict rules or guidelines regarding safety, noise, external appearance of the home, and so on.

Ask your contractor. A professional contractor should know exactly what permits are required for any remodeling project. If they don’t know, or if they urge you to cut corners by skipping this step, that’s a major red flag. Any job that requires a permit probably also requires a certain level of expertise to do it right, so that’s something to keep in mind before you attempt a “do it yourself” job.

Call us to discuss your remodeling ideas, and we can help you determine which permits, if any, are necessary.