Which projects need permits?

I realize that the laws will vary from place to place but when you’re rehabbing a house, are there any general guidelines for what work requires you to pull a permit and what stuff you can just go ahead and do?

I’m mostly interested in anything that would require a permit while doing a kitchen or bathroom remodel


Here, very little kitchen/bath work needs permits. If you are doing somehting with gas (water heater/furnace/etc.) you need a permit. If you are adding to the square footage by certain amount, you need a permit.

I would check with the permitting authority (city/county/parish/etc.) and see what they require.


better yet talk with someone in trades and/or a handyman. they can probably give you a good feel for the real “rules” and what currently the county/city may be strongly enforcing.

I’ve done a lot of work on properties in San Bernardino Co in Calif (its the largest co. in country, bigger than some states!). While the country rules are the same all over, how they are enforced is not.

Mike in Calif.

Put newspaper on the windows, haul all the debris out of the house after 6pm into an enclosed vehicle (rent a uhaul) and bring in the new items after 6pm (in the same Uhaul) .Finish the project ,
unpaper the windows and walaaaaaaa what remodeling this bath was like that when we bought it ;D

hey campebell…I’ve actually done that (the demo’ed the entire inside of the house). One day my wife was talking to the neighbors and they made jokes about “you have really big noisy rats” and her reply was "just one big one (me).

With my Milwaukee recipocating saw, a crowbar and a 12pack of beer, I bring about the demise of any crappy kitchen or bathroom in my way. ;D

If your tearing out walls, you usually need a permit since it could be a load bearing wall and cause your structure to collapse

Locally here, anything structural, ( usually meaning going bigger on windows and doors or moving and adding some ) Then of course utilities, even though the homeowner can do their own, just need a permit for it.

In my small town in Central Wisconsin they go by dollar amounts. Anything over $500. Which means you “technically” need a permit for just about anything as $500 can be spent in seconds. A homeowner can do their own electrical in my town, but not plumbing. The building inspector says he can’t believe it himself, but that’s just the way it is…