Should I get a permit for my kitchen remodel?

Over the years we have been asked this question again and again. For various reasons, most people have developed a visceral aversion to the idea of getting a building permit… The answer to the question is however, almost always yes.

Each city is a little different, but most require a permit for any work valued over $1000.  Additionally, even the most simple kitchen projects usually require electrical and /or plumbing work and these things often require permits regardless of the valuation.

The good news is that most kitchen and bath remodels can be approved “over the counter”.  That is to say that the plans can be looked at by a counter tech or engineer and be approved at that time without having to be logged in for plan check.  Projects that can be done over the counter can usually be permitted in a matter of days.   For this type of project, we are typically required to provide a site plan, existing and proposed floor plans, and a lighting and electrical layout.

If a project is more involved, it may require submittal for plan review.  The submittal process takes several weeks to get through because your project is forced to get in line behind other projects and wait its turn to be looked at in detail.  If the project includes the addition of living space or changes to the structural system of the home, then we can count on having to submit the plans for review.  Projects like this often require additional plans including but not limited to: exterior elevations, framing and foundation plans, cross sections, etc.  This type of project also often requires the work of other team members such as structural engineers, title 24 energy consultants, land surveyors, etc.  You can figure out pretty quickly that this is often considerably more expensive because each of these professional services comes at a cost.

Despite the cost and time involved, it’s my opinion that permits are a good thing.

-They help to insure that the work is inspected and done to code.
-They help when you go to sell the home.
-Your home owners insurance will not be compromised.
-You have all your “ducks in a row” if a nosy neighbor tries to start trouble!

In this, as in all areas of our work we want our customers to get the best service possible.  We are more than capable of providing drafting services for any required permits, or we are just as happy to work with an architect of their choosing.

The bottom line is this:  Don’t be afraid of getting a permit.  It’s a good thing to be above board, and we will help you every step of the way.