Most home renovations fall under the general categories of public and personal safety, plumbing, electrical and natural gas.
Home renovation projects that fall under these categories will most often not require permits.
Usually, your local building code will determine if your home renovation project needs a permit. Its code governs each municipality and, in turn, has its permitting requirements.
These building codes mirror regional issues. For instance, some areas with warmer weather may have building codes that focus on safety considerations caused by humidity and heat.
However, in areas prone to forest fires, the building codes might have strict fireproofing requirements.
Depending on the scope of your home renovation, it is also important to verify if you would need special system permits, such as electrical, plumbing or mechanical permits.
For instance, you may need to obtain a plumbing permit if you plan to install an underground lawn sprinkler. Or, you may need a mechanical permit if you plan to install a central air conditioning unit.
Although this may differ from each region and city, home renovation projects that are most likely to require a building permit change the structure or use of a building or have the potential to create unsafe working conditions. For instance, you will likely need a building permit to:
• add or remove walls
• change the use of a room (such as by converting a garage to a living room)
• change the piping in your house
• re-roof your house, or
• demolish a portion of your house
Projects that don’t usually need a permit include:
• repainting your house
• adding kitchen cabinets
• replacing certain kitchen appliances
• repaving your driveway
• installing floor coverings, or
• erecting a small fence
However, it is crucial to consult your city building and permit office to determine the specific permits you may need for your home renovation. You may find most of this information online, or you could even contact them over the phone for further information.