FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What type of work on my house requires a Construction Permit?
A: Some home maintenance does not require a Construction Permit; however, there are maintenance projects that do. Listed below is a general listing of items requiring a permit. If your project is not listed, please call the Building Department to confirm whether you need one or not.
A/C, New & Replacement
Furnace & Boilers, New & Replacement
Lawn Irrigation Systems
New Detached Garage
Oil Tank Demolition
Oil Tank Installations
Sheds (over 100 sq. ft.)
Water Heater Replacement
Window & Door Replacement,(Only if size or function of window or door is changing)
Q: Why should I get a permit?
A: Getting a permit brings you the services of the Building Department's inspectors for building, plumbing, electric and fire. The inspector approves each phase of the construction process while checking to see the work is done safely and properly.
Q: I like to do my own home improvements around the house and I'm not going to use a contractor, so why do I need a Construction Permit?
A: Work without a permit is illegal and can pose serious complications for you when you sell your house. Penalties for failure to obtain a permit prior to construction are up to $2,000 for each offense [N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.31 (e)]. Work done by the homeowner requiring a permit must be inspected to ensure the work has been done according to code. There are also legal and financial liabilities if you don't obtain a permit. Any fire and homeowner's insurance you have will be invalidated if you do work without a permit. If there is a fire in your house, the insurance company may use the illegal work as an excuse not to pay on your claim.
Q: How long will it take to get my permit?
A: The size and scope of your project will determine the length of time for the review process--i.e.. a roofing permit will take a couple of days, an addition/alteration could take several weeks, a new home could take several months. The completeness of the information submitted with your permit can greatly assist with the review and approval process.
Q: How much will by permit cost?
A: The cost of permit is determined by the size and scope of your project. Two fees are determined for the permit. The first fee is determined by local ordinances and the second fee is determined by the New Jersey State Department of Community Affairs based on either the dollar amount of the work to be done and, if applicable, the total cubic volume of the new space to be built.
Q: I will be using a contractor for my project; however, he said I didn't need a permit for the work?
A: A reputable contractor should determine whether a permit is needed before the work is performed. Different municipalities have different requirements; therefore, check with the Building Department to confirm what is required in the Borough of Mendham.
Q: Who calls for the inspections?
A: Either the homeowner or the contractor can schedule inspections. However, if you are using a contractor, be sure to establish who will be calling in for inspections before the work begins.
Q: My contractor said that the work was finished and I paid him, why do I need a final inspection?
A: Final inspections should be completed before the final payment. A contractor who hasn't received final payment is more likely to come back and correct a failed inspection versus a paid one. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Rule: N.J.A.C. 13:45A-16.2(a)10.ii states: "FOR INSPECTION ON CONSTRUCTION PERMITS FOR: BUILDING, ELECTRIC, PLUMBING, FIRE PROTECTION OR ELEVATOR, FINAL PAYMENT TO THE CONTRACTOR IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE MADE BEFORE A FINAL INSPECTION IS PERFORMED."
Q: I am selling my home and I had some work done without a permit, now what do I do?
A: Please call the Building Department so this can be corrected. A "retro" permit can be generated requiring the same fees and inspections as a regular permit. Please note, since this is a time-sensitive situation and the permit may take several weeks to process, please call the Building Department as soon as possible to get the process going.
Q: I obtained permits for all the work done on my home, do I get a certificate?
A: Yes, when the final inspections required are completed and passed, you will receive the appropriate certificate stating so. Permits open and permits close. If you have had work done on your home with a permit but did not receive a Certificate of Approval or Certificate of Occupancy, please call the Building Department to check the inspection status of the permit. If needed, we will schedule the necessary inspections to close the permit and issue the required certificate.