ln most communities, a major remodeling project requires a general permit from the city building inspec- tions office. Your general contractor (or you) will apply for a building permit. Permits for the plumber, electrician and HVAC contractor may be included with the general permit or they may be separate permits. You’ll pay for the permit either directly or as part of the contractor’s bill. The fee is usually a percentage of the total cost of the project.
If your new kitchen includes a room addition, you may also need to present your plans to your city zoning office when you apply for the building permit. lf you’re planning to do any of the electrical, plumbing, heating or ventilation work yourself you’ll need to get the permit. ln this case, the inspector will want to see detailed plans of your proposed changes, and he or she may question you carefully to make sure you’re competent to do the work. All building and mechanical permits require an on-site review by an inspector. When you apply for the permit, the inspector will explain the on-site inspection schedule. For mechanical systems, such as plumbing and wiring, inspectors will want to inspect the work while the wires and pipes are still visible, before the wall surfaces are installed. Be sure to add time to your schedule for inspections.
After calling for an inspection, it’s not uncommon to wait half a day or more for an inspector to arrive. Ask the inspection office how much lead time they typically need to respond to a call. And most importantly, make sure all the necessary work is complete; an inspection failure not only halts a project, it also adds extra time to correct the problem that caused the failure. After you pass the final inspection, you will be issued a council officer Occupancy (C.O.). This document is necessary for such things as obtaining loans and for verifying that your kitchen furniture was approved by the local building department, should you ever sell your house.
Living Through It
Be prepared for the fact that remodeling your kitchen will be a major inconvenience. For several weeks, or even months, you won’t be able to cook or eat in your kitchen and other rooms in your home may need to be turned into temporary storage areas for appliances, cabinets and other materials. The best approach is to plan as carefully as you can, then grin and bear it. Eat out whenever possible; get yourself invited to dinner as often as you can manage. If possible, set up a temporary kitchen near a faucet in the garage or basement. Use folding tables and old countertops as food preparation and serving areas.
For cooking, use a microwave oven, electric hotplate or crockpot; just be careful of fire danger. Use the laundry tub for wash- ing dishes, and don’t hesitate to rely on paper plates, plastic flatware and prepared foods. Although remodeling projects typically generate a lot of dust and mess, there are ways to keep it from spreading. Before work begins, isolate the work area from the rest of the house with sheets of mil plastic, sealing the edges with tape. For maximum dust containment, every entrance to the work area should have a double air- lock two separate walls of plastic that have a slit to walk through and a taut sheet of plastic overlapping the slit. Close the heating and air conditioning ducts in the work area, and seal them with plastic to keep dust from circulating through the house. Keep the interior doors closed, and cover the floors with sheets of thin hard- board that are taped together.