Building Permit Requirements

Building permits aren’t just more paperwork for you and your local code department. If you’re doing any type of remodeling, you need permits. Building codes and permits are safety – and health-related. They are the minimum requirements for meeting those safety standards. You want to make sure anything that has to do with structures, fire, safety or sanitation is done properly and inspected. Be sure your custom remodeler can pull the permits for you — that’s one of the big advantages of hiring an experienced professional contractor. He knows which permits to pull for the job. A local contractor will also know any additional building requirements for your municipality.


Each permit has a different reason. Let’s take a kitchen remodeling project, for example. If you’re planning a complete re-design that includes new walls and a walk-in pantry, an adjacent laundry room redesigned for more efficiency, a new kitchen sink, faucet and dishwasher, electrical outlets and lighting fixtures and a new center island with grill top, you will need the following permits:

Structural: for major modifications that include blowing out walls or building new ones. You do not need a permit if you are just changing the kitchen cabinets.

Electrical: Even if you are moving one plug or installing any new fixtures, you need an electrical permit. It’s important to upgrade the electrical system to handle today’s energy needs.

Plumbing: Because you are adding a redesigned laundry room that includes a new location for the sink, you will need a plumbing permit. No permit is needed if the location doesn’t change. However, if you are finishing a basement bathroom where the plumbing was already “roughed in” at construction, you would not need an in-ground plumbing permit. You would need a plumbing permit for installation of the new toilet, shower and sink.

Gas permit: If your new grill top is a gas grill, you will need a gas permit to run a new gas line. If it’s electric, it will fall under the electrical permit.

Local permits: You will need any other permits required by your township or municipality.

Every project is unique and every builder should know what permits are necessary, based on his understanding of the job, and he should provide the permits for your records. Future home buyers will want to have them on file, as well.