Have you ever had a surprise knock at your door while working on a remodeling project? It happened to me when my crazy neighbor tried to “catch” me working on my house without a building permit.

Fortunately, when the city building inspector made his unannounced visit, I was able to show him the permit and plan for rebuilding our dilapidated deck. Me: 1. Neighbor: 0.

(Side note: That same neighbor put a note in my mailbox while I was pregnant asking me to stop using perfumed dryer sheets because they allegedly cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. And her dog bit my husband. Lovely.)

The point is, if you have plans to do an addition or renovation, it’s important to understand what you can do legally before you finalize plans with an architect, interior designer, and/or contractor. In our latest data graphic below, learn the basics before you contact your local city permit center (such as this one in Oakland, Calif).

And for those of you who are professional builders or designers and want to educate your clients, this data graphic can also serve to help set expectations about permits before you start a project.

Do you have a nightmare story to share about dealing with building permits or construction codes? Do tell in a comment below!


More Like This


You’re in.

Get smart on the future of making things.

Subscribe to our newsletter.