HOMEOWNER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Q: What type of work on my house requires a Construction Permit?

A: Below is a general listing of  Home Maintenance Projects that require a Construction Permit. 

  


Additions/Alterations
A/C, New & Replacement
Bathroom Renovations
Decks
Detached Garages
Electrical Upgrades
Finished Basements
Furnace & Boilers, New & Replacement
Generators 
Kitchen Renovations
Lawn Irrigation Systems
New Detached Garage

 
Oil Tank Demolition
Oil Tank Installations
Pools/Spas/Hot Tub
Radon Remediation
Roofing
Sheds Over 200 sq. ft.
Siding
Signs         
Stone Pillars       
Water Heater Replacement
Window & Door Replacement (Only if size or function of window or door is changing)

Q. Does my project require Zonning Approval and/or a Construction Permit?

A. See Chart.

Activity

Zoning Approval

Construction

Permit

*Additions

Yes

Yes

Air conditioner (central): Install or replace

Yes

Yes

Asbestos abatement

No

Yes

Basement: Refinishing or remodeling

Yes

Yes

Bathroom fixtures: Direct replacement

No

No

piping changes

No

Yes

Boiler: Replace or Install

No

Yes

Burglar Alarm: Install

No

Yes

Carpeting

No

No

Chimney: Repairs

No

Yes

* Commercial signs (exterior)

Yes

Yes

* Deck: Add or replace

Yes

Yes

* Demolition

No

Yes

Dishwasher: Install

No

Yes

Door (exterior): Replace existing with same size and type

No

No

Door (exterior): Adding, enlarging or eliminating

No

Yes

Driveway: Repair or repave

No

No

Duct work: Install new

No

Yes

Duct work: Repair or replace

No

No

Electrical: Any modifications or improvements

No

Yes

* Fence, Add or Replace                            

Yes

       Yes 

If Fence is around a pool or spa or if over 6ft in height

 

 

 

 

Fence:

Repair 50% or less of existing fence

No

No

Fireplace: Add

No

Yes

Furnace: Replace

No

Yes

Generator: Stand-alone

Yes

Yes

Gutters: Replace or repair

No

No

Landscaping work

No

No

Lawn sprinkler

No

Yes

Lead paint abatement

No

No

Ordinary repairs

No

No

*Outdoor kitchen

Yes

Yes

*Painting (exterior or interior)

No

No

*Patio, Brick or Pavers

Yes

No

Plumbing:

Any modifications or improvements

No

Yes

Remodeling or alterations (interior)

No

Yes

* Retaining walls, over 4 feet in height

Yes

Yes

Roof:

Repairs involving less than 25% of existing roof

No

No

*Roof: Replace

No

Yes

See Note 3

Roof top unit

No

Yes

Satellite dish

No

Yes

Septic system: Construct or abandon

No

Yes

Issed by Board of Health

Sewer system: Connect to the public system

No

Yes

Issued by Engineer

* Shed or Utility Building over 200 sq. ft: Construction

Yes Yes

Siding: Add or replace

No

Yes

See Note 4

Smoke Detectors: Add

No

Yes

*Solar Panels - Ground or Roof mounted

Yes

Yes

Spa/hot tub

Yes

Yes

Storm windows/doors

No

No

Stove: Replace electric with gas

No

Yes

Swimming pool: Add or replace

Yes

Yes

Tennis court: Installation

Yes

Yes

Underground Fuel or Septic Tank: Remove

No

Yes

Water Heater: Replace

No

Yes

 

Wall Repairs:

Remove and replace sheet rock or plaster

No

 

Yes

See Notes

1 & 2

Windows:

Replace existing with same size and type

No

No

*Windows:

Adding, enlarging, or eliminating

No

Yes

*If your project is within a historic district or The Main Street Corridor Historic Preservation Commission approval is requried prior to Zoning Approval & Construciton Permit.

Notes: Ordinary maintenance in one‐ and two‐family dwellings

  1. Finishes Installation, repair or replacement of interior finishes of less than 25 percent of the wall area of the dwelling. This shall include plastering and drywall installation. (1) Vinyl wall covering of any amount is ordinary maintenance; (2) Paneling is not ordinary maintenance. 

  2. Non‐structural components – The repair or replacement of any non‐structural component, such as a partition.

  3. Roofing – The repair or replacement (including total replacement) of any amount of existing roof covering on detached one‐ or two‐family dwellings.

  4. Siding – The repair or replacement of any amount of existing siding. Exception: The repair or replacement of polypropylene siding is not ordinary maintenance. 

Q:  Why should I get a permit?

A:  Work that requires a permit that is done 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)]. 

Through the permitting process the Construction Department's inspectors 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. ie roof vs new home. 

Permitting can take several weeks or a couple of 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. 

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 Construction Department so this can be corrected. 
A "retroactive" permit can be generated requiring the same fees and inspections as a regular permit. 

Please note the permit may take several weeks to process, please call the Construction 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.  

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 Construction 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.

Q: Do I need a CCO on the resale or refinancing of an existing single-family dwelling?

A: The Borough of Mendham does not require the issuance of a Certificate of Continued Occupancy on the resale or refinancing of an existing single-family dwelling or commercially zoned building.

There is a requirement for an inspection from the Fire Prevention Bureau on the resale of any residence or change of occupancy of any resicential rental unit.

If you are in the sewer area you must also obtain a sewer connection inspection.