There are some home improvements that do not require a permit – and if no building permit is required, then no inspection is needed either. In New Jersey, changes to what qualifies as minor work and ordinary maintenance for both buildings and residential property can be found in this 2018 NJ.gov document. Most changes to your home that do not involve structural modifications, will not increase the electrical load of your home, and there is no rearrangement of piping systems – generally will not require a permit.
When Do You Need a Permit to Work on Your House?
It is your duty as the homeowner to know which home renovations will require a NJ permit and inspection. Your licensed contractor will be very familiar with city ordinances and building codes in your city. If you’re completing a DIY home project and are unsure if your city requires a permit, you should contact the New Jersey Office of Construction Codes. This is the agency that issues permits for alterations, additions, new construction, and inspections for both residential and commercial structures.
Here we list some of the renovations that will require a permit and possibly an inspection after work is completed:
- Major renovations to bathrooms, kitchens, basements
- Cutting holes for new windows or doors
- Installing new or removing existing plumbing or electrical service
- Footprint/foundation changes – adding a room, some decks, or a new garage
- Changes to load-bearing walls, balconies and porches
- Replacement of the roof or siding
- Installing an in-ground swimming pool
Do You Need a Permit to Remodel a Bathroom in NJ?
The benefit of working with a full-service kitchen, bath, window, and door design and installation company is they will generally handle all the details pertaining to work permits and inspections for your home remodeling project. If we take a bathroom renovation as an example, you will find it all depends upon the scope of the project and the extent of change to permanent building features that are involved.
These bathroom renovations will require a building permit and inspection:
- Footing and Foundation Inspections – Increasing the square footage of the bathroom when the structural foundation is altered or a load-bearing wall is altered.
- Electrical and Plumbing Rough-in Inspections – After walls are demolished and re-construction along with changes to sanitary, storm and water distribution piping and adding additional electrical circuits to main panel.
- Framing Inspection – if the bathroom is extended beyond the existing framework and must be performed before insulation is added and after electrical and plumbing rough-ins are completed.
- Insulation Inspection – is performed before the walls and ceilings are finished and after the framing work is completed.
- Final Building Inspection – after all building permit items are finished, a final inspection of the completed work may be required – depending on the extent of the project.
If your bathroom remodeling project only includes new interior flooring and wall finishes, replacement of existing bathtub/shower and fixtures, replacing old cabinetry and sinks with modern styles, along with the replacement of existing windows and doors – then no building permit or inspections are likely required.
The listed permits and inspections would also apply when this type of work is performed for a kitchen renovation, remodeling a basement into usable living space, or any room additions and/or expansions.
Working Without a Permit Equals Violations in NJ
In New Jersey, homes have been destroyed by electrical fires when shoddy work had been performed without a permit or a building inspection. For each violation found, a homeowner can be fined up to $2000 for each infraction – even if the violations do not pose a safety hazard. Always obtain the proper permits and inspections for your home improvement projects. This way you can avoid potential disaster or hefty fines.
It is ultimately the homeowner’s responsibility to obtain the appropriate Uniform Construction Code (UCC) permits to prevent enforcement actions when the violations are uncovered. RWCNJ is licensed and certified to perform permit work in New Jersey and the surrounding communities.