Updated: Sep 10
Welcome to the start of your "permitted remodel.” Yes, today we're discussing the sometimes-bewildering realm of permits for home remodels. Buckle up, because this rollercoaster ride is a bureaucratic jungle.
The Forbidden Toilet – Imagine you've embarked on a bathroom remodel that involves moving the toilet from one corner of the room to another. Seems harmless, right? Wrong! In the world of permits, relocating a toilet can be as complicated as negotiating a peace treaty. Who knew that the porcelain throne had such strict zoning laws? The Mystery of the Vanishing Stairs: In your efforts to create open living space, you've decided to tear down a wall and relocate the stairs. Hold your horses! Those stairs didn't just magically appear there – they were placed under the watchful eyes of the permit gods. Stairs have specific needs that vary from place to place. The allowance between the rails will save you, your children, visitors and even your pets from danger when done right! The Epic Battle of the Open Kitchen: You dream of opening a wall to your kitchen and putting in a 10-foot island that would make Joanna Gains weep with envy (ok, admittedly that would be hard to do). Armed with your power tools, you set to work, oblivious to the lurking beast of electrical, structural, plumbing and other permits. This formidable foe demands engineering drawings, calculations, and perhaps a small sacrifice to the patron saint of kitchens. Don’t let the lack of permit postpone your Thanksgiving plans! The Haunting of Unpermitted Windows and Doors: You've decided to brighten up your home with a few new windows or a great sliding door to a new deck. What could be wrong with cutting a hole in the wall? The "unpermitted window" or the “unpermitted door” may seem innocent enough – after all it’s your house - but keeping a dark secret like installing without proper city blessings could mean that plywood covering the hole you cut will be a permanent fixture until everything is signed off!
Permits are like the Gandalfs of home remodeling – you might not fully understand their magic, but you need their guidance. From stairs to updated decks, your remodel likely needs a stop at the township. If you’re in the Yardley area, here is a helpful link to be sure you start this ride buckled up, arms and feet inside and following the rules: https://www.lmt.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/LMT-General-Instructions_2021.04.01.pdf. If you’re outside of the area, a simple Google search will get you going. Before you put a down payment on your remodel, consult the township or your architect on what you’ll need to stay on the up and up!