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Understanding What Work Requires a Construction Permit in NJ?

I get asked this question all of the time from my clients and the list of construction projects in NJ that DON’T require a permit is rather small.

Major Work – Permit Required

In general anything major related to structure, electrical and plumbing require permits. This applies to work both inside and outside of a house and includes things like moving gas lines, replacing or expanding electrical systems, foundation repair, removing walls and so much more. Permits for all of the major items must be obtained before starting work.

The list of projects covered here is exhaustive so I won’t list them all here, but as I rule of thumb, I always tell people if the construction project involves changing structure in any way or anything to do with electrical or plumbing (baring small repairs), then it is best to assume a permit is needed.

Minor Work – Permit Required

There is another category of projects which requires permits but which can be obtained at any time during the project and these are classified as “Minor work” items which are defined in NJAC 5:23-217A in the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code (UCC).

Some examples of this type of work include:

  • Construction or replacement of a porch or stoop that does not provide structural support for anything else.

  • Renovations or alteration work in a structural that does not involve any structural changes

  • The removal and replacement of more than 25% of a home’s siding

  • Replacement of existing plumbing

  • Installation of fire detection or mitigation device

  • Installation of burglar alarm or wired security system

  • Installation of communication wiring that penetrates a fire related assembly

  • & more

Ordinary Maintenance – No Permit Required

Anything in this classification does not require a construction permit in New Jersey.

Some examples of this work include:

  • Exterior & interior painting

  • Wallpapering

  • Power washing

  • Fixing Walls (as long as it is 25% or less of the wall area)

  • Door and window replacement

  • Fixing broken glass in a window

  • Interior & exterior wood trim

  • Repairing roof (as long as it is 25% or less of the total area)

  • Replacement of flooring and/or carpeting (only in one or two family structures)

  • Gutter replacement

  • Insulation

  • Repair or replacement of fixtures

  • Repair or replacement of a sink, tub or toilet (replacement must be of similar type)

  • Closet Organizer installation

  • Replacement of any electrical receptacle of 20 amps or less

  • Repair or replacement of doorbell

  • Repair of small sections of duct-work

If you would like to see a full list of everything requiring permits, I recommend reading the NJ Universal Construction Code Document. It can be a little hard to understand at times but if you have any questions or concerns, I recommend you contact your local municipality.


John Bottone

JL Bottone Signature Homes & Renovations (732) 322-7466

Serving North and Central New Jersey

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