Four Home Improvement Projects That’ll Likely Require Permits

There’s virtually no home that couldn’t be improved at least a little bit by some DIY projects or new construction. With hundreds of unique project ideas, deciding which ones are right for your home can be challenging. Homeowners have to consider both the functional and aesthetic value of each improvement before making any changes.

However, there are a variety of home improvement projects that may not be as simple as paying a contractor or taking a trip to the hardware store. Some projects require permits in order to proceed, making it a bit more difficult to get things going.

Let’s take a look at four common home improvement projects that may require one or more permits, depending on where you live.

Standalone Buildings

Want to build a new office, garage or guest house on your property? Home expansion is a common home improvement project for families who have outgrown their homes or who otherwise need some extra space.

However, that extra space may not be so easily acquired. In most jurisdictions, you’ll need permits to begin any construction on a building or structure that is not connected to your existing home. In certain cases, you can avoid permits. This can typically be achieved with steel buildings. In some cases, such as residential steel buildings from Armstrong Steel, permits may not be needed depending on the state and municipality, but even then, those living within HOAs and/or subdivisions may find it difficult to secure approval for select standalone buildings.

Various Landscaping Plans

Most people don’t think about the effects that landscaping can have on the local ecosystem. Likewise, many people assume that their yards and lawns can be altered in whatever way they see fit. However, this isn’t always true.

Any type of landscaping project that might alter the flow of rainwater, result in new retention walls or remove various trees from a property could require a permit. This is because landscaping changes can ultimately have an impact beyond your own yard and may affect others’ properties in the process.

Doors, Windows, and Walls

Planning on adding new windows or doors to a particular room currently lacking them? Want to eliminate a wall that separates two smaller rooms? Then you may need to take a trip to your local planning office for a permit.

Depending on the zoning of the property, its jurisdiction, and exactly which areas are being altered, the addition of new doors and windows may require a permit. This is to ensure that the overall integrity of the home isn’t harmed in the process. The same also applies to removing select walls; if they are load-bearing walls, then they’ll definitely require a permit.


Last but not least, any removal or destruction of elements on your property may require permits if they were part of the property when you purchased it. In addition, structures such as barns, sports courts (basketball, tennis, etc.) and swimming pools may need permits for removal due to the environmental and/or safety concerns they pose during the removal process.

Home improvement projects ultimately add value, reduce unsightliness and provide better living conditions for the inhabitants of the property. While many small projects such as residential steel buildings may not require permits, those that change the landscape and/or function of a home or property do need approval for construction and/or demolition to begin. Now that you’re aware of these obstacles, you’ll be better informed to take the appropriate and legal steps when renovating or improving your property.


  1. NJ Nowoselski says

    Good reminders! I love home projects and can’t wait for spring to start a few 🙂

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