When any home renovations or repairs need to be carried out, permit requirements are one of the most important parts of planning for the project. While we think about these permits for most other repairs, we often assume plumbing projects don’t need special permits.

Actually, it turns out a lot of them actually do. In this short read, we’re going to introduce you to everything you need to know about plumbing permits.

What is a plumbing permit?

plumbing permits

A plumbing permit is a permit issued for plumbing jobs in accordance with local and national plumbing codes. The purpose of these permits is to ensure that plumbing systems are installed in a manner that is safe and addresses the welfare of the inhabitants of the building in question and the local community.

Permits also ensure local tradespeople, who work hard for their licenses, are protected and that the county also makes some money because of it. 

How does a plumbing permit protect homeowners?

Your home is a major investment, and one that you’d want to protect. If in the future, you want to sell your home, getting plumbing permits for major plumbing jobs is proof for your potential home buyer that every plumbing repair and modification to the home was done in accordance with the law.

Otherwise, you may find yourself in trouble if the buyer were to schedule an inspection prior to closing the sale.

Plumbing contractors will know what plumbing jobs need a permit. These permits also guarantee that they follow the highest standards of safety and that their work is of the highest quality. 

Understanding plumbing codes

permit approval

There are national plumbing codes that are in place to make sure that there is a standardization of procedures followed by plumbing contractors across the country. However, those are superseded by state and county codes. This is why it is important to always check local building and plumbing codes before you begin work on a project.

Local plumbing codes differ from county to county, so always check local laws to know what kind of projects require permits and what projects do not. Considering these are in place to protect the public, it is best never to ignore them.

Every county has a building and safety department, and you need to visit the one in the county where you live to learn if you need a permit for your plumbing project or not. Nowadays, you could even pull up this information online. All you need to do is type “Plumbing permit” followed by the name of your county, and you ought to get a list of the kind of jobs that require you to get a permit.

However, if you are still unclear about whether you need to apply for a permit or not, it may be best to visit the building and safety department in person. 

In most cases, any major plumbing work will require a permit. Any licensed contractor will be aware of this requirement. Minor jobs that property owners tend to tackle by themselves, like unclogging a drain, will generally not need a permit.

What kind of jobs require a plumbing permit

plumbing permit and plans

While these laws do vary from one county to another, here’s a list of plumbing jobs that generally require a plumbing permit.


Re-piping is a major plumbing job that requires all the water supply piping systems of a home to be replaced. This requires a permit and the expertise of a licensed plumber.

Drain line replacement

This is also a major plumbing job that requires a license in most cases.

Sewer related jobs

Any sewer-related plumbing jobs need to adhere to safety codes, and will, therefore, require a permit.

Water heater replacement

Replacing a water heater in family dwellings is considered a major plumbing repair. Also has safety regulations that need to be followed. In most cases, this will need a county permit as well as the services of a licensed master plumber.

Shifting plumbing

Moving plumbing from one location to another is considered a home remodel. It will also require you to obtain a plumbing permit to be able to do it.

How to apply for a permit and what it costs

You could fill out a plumbing permit application online or fill one out at the building and safety department. The application will require the plumbing contractor’s license number. It will also require contact information, and a description of the plumbing work to be conducted.

The cost of a plumbing permit varies between $50 and $500 on average. In some cases, there is a per plumbing fixture cost that varies depending on the fixture.

Everything you need to know about plumbing permits was last modified: February 8th, 2023 by Narayan Shrouthy
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