Does your home improvement project require a permit? That is the question you must ask yourself at the beginning of every home remodeling project. The nuances of when you need and do not need a building permit can be difficult to understand, so it is important to read up on the requirements set forth by your county or town and follow them closely.

Building Permits

A building permit is an approval issued by the local government that allows you and your contractor to undertake a construction or remodeling project on your property. They are doled out based on an inspection that ensures the project adheres to the local standards regarding land use, zoning, and construction.

If you need a permit, the first step is usually to complete an application to get your plan approved by your local government. Once the plan is approved, you can begin work, but you must be prepared to schedule inspections from the government. Inspectors will want to make sure you are following the plans. If you stick to the plans and finish the project, you will obtain final city approval.

When Is a Permit Necessary?

Building codes are not exactly the same from state to state. But the general rule is that a project will require a building permit if it involves the changing of the building’s current footprint, plumbing, or electrical system. Some examples of projects that would likely require a permit include:

  • The adding or removing of walls
  • Changing the pipes in the house
  • Demolishing a section of the house
  • Installing new floor coverings
  • Erecting a tall fence

Some of the above remodeling efforts are far more involved and time-consuming than others, which makes it difficult for the layperson to know if your home improvement project requires a permit. Since building permits are needed for such a wide array of home improvement jobs, you must always check to see if you will need a permit before you undertake the work, no matter the project’s size.

When Is a Permit Not Necessary?

But not every home improvement activity will require a permit. In instances where you are not changing the building’s footprint, plumbing, or electrical system, you can carry on without that one bureaucratic hurdle. Instances when a permit will not be necessary include:

  • Fixture replacements in your kitchens and bathrooms without plumbing line modifications
  • Erecting a short fence
  • Building one-story detached buildings, such as storage sheds or workshops, assuming it does not require plumbing or electrical work
  • Replacing countertops

There is a fine line between work that should and should not require a permit. When it comes time to make a change to your home, make sure you do your homework and learn if you will need a permit. If you going to begin home renovations in Portland, OR, you can work with C & K Custom Remodeling to get some guidance.