Do you live in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and are considering a home remodel? If you are planning to do the remodel yourself or hire a contractor, there are important pieces of information you must have regarding the Lake Oswego permit process.

What Work Requires a Permit

When in doubt, it is best to check with the city itself to see about the Lake Oswego permit process. They will tell you with certainty if your work is going to require a permit or not. But a good rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution. You should plan to get a permit for any work beyond a cosmetic upgrade to your home. For example, if you are replacing the tile in your bathroom, that does not require a permit. But, if you are changing your bathroom vanity from a single sink to a double sink, that will require a plumbing permit. Furthermore, if you are replacing a window, that won’t require a permit. But, if you are resizing a window, that may require a permit.

What Types of Permits are There in Lake Oswego?

For home remodels in Lake Oswego, Oregon, there are four types of permits – plumbing, mechanical, electrical, and structural. Read on to find out more about each one.

Plumbing Permit

A plumbing permit is required whenever you are add or modify plumbing in your home. If you want to add a washer and dryer to your master bedroom closet, that would require you to apply for a plumbing permit. There are a few ways to do this. If you, as the homeowner, are confident that you can tackle a plumbing permit on your own, you can receive a permit as the homeowner performing the work. Or, if you are working with a contractor, he or she can apply for the permit on your behalf (note that they must have a CCB number and be a licensed contractor). The contractor is required to sub out a plumber to perform the work.

Mechanical Permit

Mechanical permits are required for things related to ventilating your home. A mechanical permit includes things like furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, heaters, chimneys, and fans to name a few. So let’s take the earlier example of adding a washer and dryer to your master bedroom closet. You would also need to obtain a mechanical permit from the city of Lake Oswego to vent your clothes dryer. Again, this should be done by a licensed contractor unless you are comfortable completing the work as the homeowner.

Electrical Permit

Any time you want to alter the electrical components of your home, a permit is required to perform this work. In the same example of the master bedroom washer and dryer, you would need to get a third permit – the electrical permit, because you would likely be adding a special wall plug for the washer and dryer. A licensed electrician is required to do this work, unless you as the homeowner feel comfortable doing it. Furthermore, if you wanted to add outside lights, or even some extra outlets in your home, you would want to get an electrical permit to perform this work.

Structural Permit

The fourth type of permit, a structural permit, is a bit different than the previous three. Plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits are all pretty straightforward and get approved quickly. Structural permits are required whenever you want to change the structural integrity of a home. For example, if you want to add windows to where there is currently a wall, you are going to need a structural permit. This is also true for any work that requires an addition, or changes to the layout of the home. With structural permits, it is best to work closely with both your contractor and the city since these are a bit more work than the others.

What the Process Looks Like

For plumbing, mechanical and electrical permits, the process includes filling out a form for the city that describes your work, has your contact info (the homeowner) and the contractor’s information. There is a worksheet on the form to assess the fees you will incur to obtain the permit. Once you submit this information to the city, they will either approve or deny your permit.

Once you have your permit, it’s time to begin the work. Depending on the permit, there are different checkpoints along the way where the city will want to come and inspect what has been done. This is why having a contractor (vs. trying to do the work yourself) is key. The contractor will know exactly what inspections should be scheduled and when. The ultimate goal of the permitting process is to ensure that all work has been done properly, safely and is up to code.

How to Get Started

If you are considering starting some work on your home and are not sure if you need a permit, it is always best to chat with the city to see what they say. Furthermore, having a contractor on hand to help you with the permitting process is a huge asset. At Boss PDX, we are well informed on the permitting process in Lake Oswego. Let us help you with your home improvement and home renovation projects in Lake Oswego that require a permit.