It may come as a surprise to some people when they discover that all but the simplest kitchen renovation jobs require permits. Significant modifications will be needed affecting the amount of light, ventilation, fire resistance, or outdoor outlets. Replacements that don't require new pipes, cables, or ventilation aren't usually a problem either. The main reason cities require residential building permits for major home improvements is to keep a record of changes made to your home so that they can register with the government.
While you can ask local authorities for the necessary permits, it's often easier to seek the help of professionals. It's important to note that most improvement work that is structural, mechanical, electrical, or plumbing in nature will require a residential building permit. If a neighbor or other person reports you and discovers that you are illegally renewing without a permit, you will be fined heavily. The best way to know if you'll need a permit for your kitchen remodeling plans is to register with the city where you live.
However, this is only a general guideline, as the exact requirements may vary depending on the state or city you live in, so it's a good idea to check with local officials. If you're making structural changes to your kitchen during a remodel or adapting wiring or plumbing, you'll likely need to apply for a permit. Categorizing your renovation as a cosmetic or structural project is a simplistic guide, and not always as clear as it seems. Inspectors have the authority not to approve the inspection and request changes that require an additional visit for approval.
No matter how much cheaper your quote is, avoid hiring a trader who is happy to complete the job without the required permission. Also, when it's time to sell your home, having permits on file shows lenders and prospective buyers that your renovations comply with local building codes. Not to mention, you'll probably have to go back and redo parts of the renovation if they weren't built according to code.