Do I need a city permit to do remodeling work at home?

Replacing a ceiling-mounted light fixture with a ceiling fan is a fairly simple do-it-yourself job: You just need a drywall saw, some screws, a new electrical box that’s sturdy enough to support the weight of the fan, a bit of adhesive and your fan kit.
Plus, you’ll need a city building permit.
That’s right. Phoenix, Tucson and most other cities want to know when you’re replacing a light fixture with a ceiling fan so they can send an inspector over to make sure you’re not trying to hang the fan from a box designed to support the considerably lighter weight of a simple, stationary light fixture rather than a heavy, vibrating fan. The permit will cost you around $75 or $100, depending where you live, and the inspector could save you from becoming the victim of a poorly anchored fan that lands on your bed while you’re sleeping in it.
In fact, you’re supposed to get a city permit whenever you work on the electricity, plumbing or structure of your house.
When you replace your water heater, you’re supposed to get a permit. Before you put up a fence in your yard, you need a permit. If you build a retaining wall, you need a permit. When you replace all of your roof shingles or reroof over old shingles for the third time, you need a permit. 

You need a permit if you change the location of a toilet, sink or tub. You’re supposed to get one before you convert your carport or patio to an enclosed room or garage. If you add electrical outlets, change a window to a door, replace a small window with a bigger one, remove or move a wall inside your house or alter your driveway, you need a permit. 

And, of course, if you add a room to your home, install a pool or do other major construction, you’ll need a permit.
It doesn’t matter if you get the permit or if your contractor does, but you’re the one responsible for making sure a permit is issued. So either get it yourself or ask your contractor to show it to you. The size or price of the job doesn’t affect your need for a permit. It’s the nature of the work that  determines whether you have to get one. If you’re not sure, call the city and ask.
Rosie and Romey Romero, Every Arizona Homeowners Best Friend
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