Do I really need a permit for my remodel?

Author's Note

When I'm not writing articles for Discovery, I work in marketing for a property management and development group. Over the years, I've witnessed lots of construction projects, from full-blown renovations to small repair jobs. I can't say that we've gotten permits for every single job we've ever done, but I can say that the number and type of jobs we permit has increased proportionately over the years. The more experienced our project managers get, the more clear it becomes that it's better to do a job the right way from the start than to have to deal with the consequences of inexperienced tradesmen and low-grade materials later.

These days, we always hire licensed professionals. They know when it's necessary to obtain permits, and they also know how to help us cut through the red tape to get them quickly. Part of me wanted to be able to write, "Eh ... it's your house! Do what you want!" But experience has taught me that "better safe than sorry" is more than just a silly cliché, especially when it comes to the business of construction and remodeling.

Related Articles


  • Clark County Washington. "Residential and Remodel Projects." Feb. 13, 2012. (May 2, 2012)
  • The Building Department, LLC. "Permits protect the safety and value of your home." (May 2, 2012)
  • The Independence Hall Association. "Reforming the Bureaucracy." 2012. (May 2, 2012)
  • The Internet Movie Database. "The Money Pit." Amblin Entertainment. 1986. (May 2, 2012)
  • Lupton, Jeff. Licensed contractor, Lupton Design + Build. Personal Interview. May 2, 2012.
  • McQueen, M.P. "The New Rules of Remodeling." The Wall Street Journal. April 24, 2010. (May 2, 2012)
  • Parker Scheer LLP. "Defective Stairway – Back Injury and Exacerbation of Depression; $50,000.00." (May 2, 2012)
  • Woodson, R. Dodge. "2006 International Building Code Companion." McGraw-Hill. 2007.

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