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Do I Need a Permit For a Home Remodel?

If you’re interested in starting a home remodeling project, chances are you’ll need a residential permit (or several). While you won’t need them for every type of project, Oregon and Washington law require building permits for many types of construction projects, repairs, and installations. Read on for more information about the benefits of home remodeling permits and when they are required for your home project.

What is a Permit for Home Repair?

Two home remodeling consultants talking to two homeowners outside.Residential permits are for one- and two-family homes, and while you don’t always need them for smaller home projects, most major home remodeling projects, like a bedroom addition, require a construction permit under guidelines, like Seattle’s Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) guidelines.

Having proper permits in place for your home remodeling project certifies that your renovation is constructed correctly and will pass inspection, ensuring your home is safe for both yourself and any future owners should you decide to sell.

When is a Building Permit Required?

According to Oregon law, a building permit is required to “construct, enlarge, alter, repair, or move a residential building or structure”.

Kitchen with a stainless steel range, marble countertops, and hardwood floors.A few examples of structural repairs and improvements that require permits include:

  • Building, demolishing, or adding a room, garage, shed or other enclosed structure attached to a house
  • Finishing an attic, garage, or basement to create habitable space
  • Adding a bathroom in a new or existing space
  • Moving, removing, or adding walls
  • Building a fence around a swimming pool or hot tub

Besides construction permits, you may need several other residential permits for your project. A few of the most common include: 

  • Mechanical, which covers installation or changes to HVAC, wood stoves or fireplaces, and heat pumps
  • Electrical, which covers hard-wired electrical systems, electrical wall/baseboard heaters, and more
  • Plumbing, which involves installing new plumbing fixtures, repairing or relocating existing piping, or replacing a water heater. 

As you can see, permits aren’t just required for new installations, but rather cover a variety of repairs and replacements as well.

When You Don’t Need a Building Permit

According to SDCI, a permit is not required for minor repairs and maintenance like repainting your house, repointing your chimney, adding a fence under 8’ tall, or replacing your home’s roofing or siding, but only if no structural changes are needed.

The same goes for the city of Portland, where you also don’t need a permit for replacing wall, floor, or ceiling coverings, installing cabinets or shelving, or adding non-structural partitions.

Benefits of Having a Permit in the PNW

Two story home with a two door garage.Let’s cover some of the benefits of having a home remodel permit:

  • Your home will likely be easier to sell because it will pass inspection
  • You’ll know projects were done to code, affording you priceless peace of mind
  • The cost of post-project inspection is included in the permitting fee
  • Getting permits for your project will help you avoid being cited for potential code violations 

Because there are different permitting and inspection requirements throughout the Pacific Northwest, a reputable home remodeling contractor can help you get the appropriate permits for your remodeling project and avoid potentially thousands of dollars in construction permit violations. Additionally, construction permit fees are based on the total estimated cost of your specific home remodeling project, so it can be hard for DIYers to gauge the total cost of permits without a full scope of the work needed.

Let Neil Kelly Project Managers Handle Your Permits

With Neil Kelly Co., permits are taken care of by your dedicated project manager on your projects so the hassle of dealing with paperwork and coordination is managed for you. If you have questions about whether you need a permit for your project, or would like a complimentary consultation with our trusted team of Pacific Northwest remodelers, let’s talk about your project.