When do you need a permit to work on your house? Here are the basics

by Marsha Collins-Mroz 03/29/2023

When do you need a permit to work on your house? Before beginning a major home improvement project, it's crucial to understand your local building codes and regulations. Not only will a building permit ensure your project is done safely, it can help you avoid nasty fines

Renovations that likely require a permit

Any major structural changes to your home may require a permit. These changes include:

  • Adding or removing walls.
  • Converting an existing room for another purpose (i.e. garage into bedroom).
  • Replacing the roof.
  • Demolishing a portion of your house.

Other times when you may need a building permit

Other projects require permits, especially if you're modifying systems in your home. You will likely need specific permits for electrical or plumbing.

For example, installing an underground sprinkler system requires a plumbing permit. Extending power to a separate structure like a shed or detached garage will also need a permit.

Renovations that do not require a permit

There are still plenty of renovation projects you can accomplish without getting a permit. Some examples include:

  • Repainting your home's exterior.
  • Installing kitchen cabinets.
  • Replacing large appliances.
  • Repaving your driveway.
  • Building a small fence.

For outdoor projects, it's best to double-check with the local permitting office to make sure you're following the rules for proper land use.

How do I get a permit?

The process to get a permit starts with filling out an application and preparing the details of your plan for approval. Next, you'll need an official inspection before work can begin. Once you have your permit, you can begin work according to any requested revisions. When your project is complete, you must have a final inspection for city approval.

Building codes & permits protect homeowners

Some homeowners might wonder, "Why do we need building permits?" The permit process may seem tedious and unnecessary at times, especially for DIY-savvy homeowners. However, making sure your renovation is in compliance with building, construction, and zoning codes will keep you and other homeowners safe.

The more prepared you are for your renovation project, the smoother the experience will be. Permits are an important part of the experience, so make sure you take all the necessary steps to ensure the safety and compliance of your renovation.

About the Author

Marsha Collins-Mroz

“Whether moving across town or around the world.. My Global Partners and I will handle all the details”

Marsha Collins-Mroz, Broker, "Global Partners in Real Estate"

Marsha brings her combined 46 years of successful real estate brokerage experience and expertise to every transaction. Recognizing the overwhelming demand for personalized and objective consulting services and assistance, Marsha expanded her business model to a national and international scale. She consults and oversees the acquisition and disposition of primary residences, vacation/second homes, and commercial real estate. And presents on U.S. opportunities in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Her personally vetted network of Global Partners are uniquely skilled and positioned to assist with the needs of her clients; focusing on advancing their knowledge of local markets and opportunities, empowering them to make informed decisions.