Apply For A New Jersey Building Permit

At what point should I get a building permit in New Jersey?

Building permits are generally required for any project that will involve construction or substantial electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work in New Jersey. This includes building new buildings and altering or remodeling existing buildings. It can also include building decks, fences, sheds, tree houses, detached garages, and other separate structures depending on your town’s building regulations. Some towns in New Jersey, such as Ridgefield Park, also require building permits for installing new dishwashers, hot water heaters, and fireplaces. Because local building regulations vary, it is important to check with your local Building Department before starting any major project.

When would a building permit not be required?

Most finishing work such as painting, carpeting, and tiling does not require a building permit in New Jersey. More extensive cosmetic work such as siding, roofing, and fence building may require a permit depending on local regulations and the size of the project.

Now that I know that I need one, where do I get a building permit?

Building permits are issued at the local level in New Jersey so you will need to file your permit application with the Building Department in the town or city where you’ll be doing the work. In order for your permit to be issued, your project will need to meet all state and local building codes and regulations. You must get your building permit before you start construction. Working without a required permit can subject you to fines and penalties from your local government and affect the completion of your project.

Do I need to be licensed in New Jersey to work on my own house?

Generally, for single family homes you do not need to be licensed to work on your own house, but you must do the work yourself. If you enlist friends or family to help you, they must be licensed. Even if you are doing the work yourself, you will still need to get a building permit in New Jersey before starting the work and the project may still be subject to city inspection. For all other types of buildings, including two family homes and family owned businesses, all electrical and plumbing work must be done by a state licensed contractor.

Do contractors need to be licensed in New Jersey?

Some contractors do need to be licensed by the state in order to work in New Jersey while others do not. Carpenters do not require a state license but all plumbers and electricians must be licensed to legally work on a construction project in the state. General contractors do not need to be licensed, but they do need to be registered with the state. New Jersey has passed laws to protect homeowners from unlicensed contractors, however if you apply for the building permit yourself and your contractor is unlicensed or unregistered, you forfeit all the protections granted to you under the law. Your local Building Department should have more information on licensed contractors and where you can find them in your area.  


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