Everyone knows that kitchens sell homes. If done well, the money you spend on renovations will pay off during the sale of the home. 

Even if you are not thinking of selling, a remodeled kitchen can make using your kitchen a pleasure. Plus, it may free up more space.

But do you know which kitchen home improvements need a permit? Read on to find out. 

What Are Permits and Why Do You Need One? 

Building permits are the method that a municipality regulates construction. The city uses permits to govern safety and also ensure energy conservation across all projects.

Though they are extra paperwork and add delays to finishing your kitchen home improvements, they are necessary. 

It's also useful to know that if you start work on your remodel before having a building permit, you will be subject to a penalty fee.

Decide on the Kitchen Home Improvements You Want to Make

Before you think about applying for a permit to remodel your kitchen, you need to figure out what changes you want to make.

A good place to start is to have a conversation with a kitchen remodeling expert

There are so many changes you could make to your kitchen. Are you moving the location of the sink? How about knocking down walls?

These are the choices you need to make now to figure out if you need a building permit.

Once you have a firm plan in place, it is easier to figure out what permits you will need.

Residential Non-Structural/ Non-Floor Plan Changing Kitchen Remodel 

All kitchen renovations require different permits. In Sacramento, simple or minor renovations fall under the category of non-structural.

For these projects, you will not be removing or putting up any walls. You also wouldn't be creating an opening or making an opening larger in load-bearing walls.

Note that you might have to submit your remodel plans in order to verify that a wall is non-load bearing.

Let's say that your kitchen is dated and you want to give it a refresh. You might get new appliances, move or add cabinets, change the floor and wall tile and so on. 

These are all excellent updates that will help your kitchen look clean and modern. They require a permit and the payment of some fees. 

For these types of remodels, you will be required to pay the following fees:

  • Building Permit Fee
  • General Plan Fee
  • Green Building Fee 
  • Technology Fee

Note that if you are simply changing fixtures, you can pay a smaller fee. 

Residential Remodel

The other category that your kitchen project could fall under is called a residential remodel.

A lot of projects fall under this category such as adding an extra bedroom or screened-in porch and adding windows.

When you are doing a complete overhaul of your kitchen, you are probably looking at a residential remodel. For these projects, you are changing enough of your home that it requires a plan review.

If your kitchen renovation involves repairs to electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems, then that falls under this category of residential remodel as well.

The following fees are required for residential remodels: 

  • Building Permit Fee (Inspection & Intake)
  • General Plan Fee
  • Green Building Fee
  • Plan Review Fee
  • Strong Motion Fee
  • Technology Fee

As you can see, some of these fees are those that are included in the non-structural remodels as well as additional ones.

There are also various fees that might be due depending on the scope of your project. These include a construction debris fee, fire department review fee, planning division monitoring or inspection fees, and so on.

If you still have questions, contact the City of Sacramento.

When a Permit Is Not Required

When you are doing superficial changes to your kitchen, you do not need a permit.

For example, painting walls, carpeting, tiling, adding cabinets, changing countertops, and similar projects do not require a permit.

These are often smaller, minor remodeling jobs. If you aren't sure if a project requires a permit, call the City to find out.

How Do You Get a Permit?

The first step in to measure and create a drawing of your kitchen. This drawing will show the way your kitchen is right now, before any remodeling.

Using those plans, you or your kitchen contractor will draw up a new set of plans that shows how your space will look after the remodel.

Your experienced kitchen contractor offers you a one-stop-shop which including drafting the design and submitting the permits on your behalf.


It can take some time for your permit application to be approved. This will depend on how busy the city department is at the time. Typically, you can expect it to take 4-6 weeks.

Also, once you have a permit, you will have to have various home inspections during construction. All work must stop until the inspection is approved. If the inspector isn't satisfied with the work, your contractor will need to fix it and re-schedule an inspection.

This is one of the reasons it is crucial to choose a reputable contractor who can help you avoid delays and arrange inspections. 

Also, be aware that if you live in certain special zones such as near an airport, your plans might need to be reviewed by the FAA.

A Kitchen You Will Love

Thanks for reading. Now you know all about which kitchen home improvements need permits in Sacramento. 

At GVD Renovations, we are your #1 home improvement experts. Contact us for a free in-home estimate. 


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