Remodeling a kitchen, bathroom, or another room of your house makes for an exciting project. It’s easy to get carried away picking out new colors, new countertops, new cabinets, and new fixtures… But don’t forget the first step! Before you get started with your remodeling project, you must obtain the proper building permits according to state or municipal rules.

This is also an issue to discuss with your contractor. He or she should be knowledgeable about the different types of permits described below, and able to guide you through the process of obtaining the correct permits. If not, that could be a warning sign that your contractor is not completely on the “up and up”.

Structural building permit. In order to comply with certain safety codes, you will need a structural building permit if you’re adding an addition to your home and for certain other projects.

Plumbing permit. Plumbing permits are immensely important for bathroom and kitchen remodels, and anything else that requires plumbing. Taking this step ensures that the work is done correctly, and prevents major problems and disasters due to improper plumbing.

Gas permit. If your remodel has anything at all to do with gas lines, definitely do not overlook this permit! A gas permit ensures that gas lines are installed correctly and/or not disturbed by the remodeling project such that they can create a serious hazard.

Electrical permit. Electrical work presents another serious safety concern. You definitely want to ensure that all new electrical wiring is installed correctly, and in accordance with building requirements. Otherwise you could end up with an unsafe situation or be required to redo the work later (probably at great expense).

Aside from those listed above, various other types of permits might be required depending upon the type of remodeling project you’ve undertaken. The important thing to remember is that you should always seek the appropriate permits before beginning work, rather than finding out halfway through the job that something must be remedied. Discuss these issues with your contractor upfront, and you can prevent unpleasant surprises.