Question No. 1
We have lived in Santa Clarita for about 17 years and are ready to take on a kitchen remodel. Can you tell me please, do we need permits for this?
— Linda M.
Answer No. 1
If you are changing cosmetic features and not changing plumbing, electrical or gas, you’re free to move ahead without a permit. Once you start moving or changing plumbing, electrical and/or gas — especially if you are upgrading to higher-end features that require more of these — it is necessary to acquire permits.
This is twofold. Of course, safety is first, but you also will need to ensure that what is being added or changed will be sufficient to handle the appliances you are installing.
I can’t imagine a worse situation than putting a large sum into a beautiful new kitchen only to have it be insufficient with electrical or gas, and the appliances not working properly.
A new gas stove that requires perhaps a larger gas line that is not installed will not work. Electrical that is not carefully planned for each possible scenario in your kitchen can cause breakers to trip during high-use times.
I recommend purchasing the appliances you want first, then move forward with cabinetry choices. Think through lighting and electrical outlet needs for the way you work in your kitchen, and give yourself plenty. Now is the time.
Once you have this all planned, then choose a licensed and insured contractor to handle the remodel of these things. They will need drawings to submit to the city, and they should only begin the work once a permit is required.
Be sure that all work is inspected and do not pay the final bill until you see that the city has approved the work and you have the signed final inspection available. This will be the insurance that the work was done to code and that you’ll be safe in your new kitchen.
If the remodel plan is simply to change out the existing cabinetry, counters and fixtures without changing anything else, feel free to move ahead without permits — they are not required for cosmetic changes.
You can go ahead with smaller contractors for more custom work or choose the big-box stores. I’ve had good experience with both.
Best of luck to you.
Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].