Does My Renovation Project Need a Permit? Check This List Before You Start!

April 12, 2017 (Published by )

permit expediters

It’s finally spring, which means many homeowners are planning to take on some renovations. But if you’re planning to remodel your home, you may very well need residential building permits to do so. Typically, any kind of renovation or build will require a permit, but you may need one to perform certain repairs or replacements, too. For instance, in Chicago, minor repairs on an existing residential building that contains three or fewer units, has fewer than three stories, and is not mixed occupancy will not require a permit. But because every area has different regulations and every project will vary, it’s important to find out definitively whether your plans will require one. Below, you’ll find a basic overview on which projects will typically need permit approval. However, you’ll want to check with local contractors and permit expediters for authoritative answers for your specific renovation.

Home Improvement Projects That Require Permits

  • New windows
    Replacing one window with one that’s the same size won’t require a building permit. But if you want to cut a hole for a larger window, you’ll need a permit for that. This also applies if you’re planning on adding a skylight or putting in a bigger door. Essentially, any project that requires cutting holes in your home will need to be permitted.
  • Plumbing and electrical replacement or installation
    If you’re adding or replacing plumbing or electrical wiring, you’re going to need a permit. This applies even to moving outlets or installing a ceiling fan. The only electrical jobs that don’t are smaller repairs or installation of light fixtures.
  • Fencing
    Not every fence will require a permit, but many of them do. Many cities have height restrictions for fencing, especially for those that are non-permitted. If you’re planning on putting in a fence that’s above five feet high, you’ll definitely want to check with local contractors and permit expediters to find out the cut-off point. And if you repair your fence, you may need a permit for that, too.
  • HVAC changes
    Planning on replacing your water heater or changing your current ventilation system? You’re going to need a permit. In addition, if you’re making changes to gas or wood fireplaces or to your ducts, you’re likely going to need permit approval. However, you don’t need a permit when you change out your filters or hire a specialist to clean your heating and cooling system.
  • Home additions and structural changes
    Of course, you’ll need a permit if you’re going to be making any kind of structural amendments to your home. This means that if you’re putting on an addition, remodeling a room in your home, or are spending more than $5,000 on a renovation project, you’re most likely going to need a permit. Some simpler home remodeling projects that don’t require a permit are painting, wall papering, floor repairs or replacement, landscaping (in most cases), adding in a faucet, or countertop replacement.

Planning to make some improvements on your home? Make sure you know whether it will need to be permitted. Not only are permits required by law, but they will help keep you and your family safe. Our permit expediters will ensure the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible. To find out more about how our permit expediters can help you on your next remodeling project, contact Scout Services today.