If you live in Davis, California you live in my hometown. I grew up in Davis, California, and had a wonderful time as a child and young adult living in this town. My parents still live in town and as a family, we have been very active in the community for years. Davis is a wonderful university town with many fantastic restaurants, parks, pubs, bars, and of course the famous and sought-after “Green Belt” for biking and getting around the area. Davis is a great community to live and work in. If you have a home here and you want to remodel your bathroom or kitchen, it can be a great experience, if you are prepared. In this blog, we are going to take a look at what is required to do a remodel in Davis, California.
For starters, let’s look at what a remodel or renovation is. A remodel is technically any change in the intended purpose of the space. For example, changing a closet to become a half bathroom, would be a remodel. If you’re keeping the intended use of the space but updating the fixtures in it or modifying the layout, that is a renovation. However, these subtleties generally fall under the larger umbrella of “Remodels” when you go to building departments. In the City of Davis, there are very few things that don’t require a permit to replace or repair. You can replace the refrigerator and fixtures (faucets) without the need of a permit. So what triggers a permit for a remodel in the bathroom or the kitchen?
Generally speaking, countertops. Once the countertops are removed we are walking into the realm of a remodel classification. In Davis, this triggers many requirements. Namely, things must be brought up to the current code. In particular plumbing and electrical. So the question often gets asked, “I like my tile backsplash, but I just want to get new countertops, how can we do that?” The unfortunate answer is that unless the electrical meets the current code of having an electrical outlet every 24 inches and having two circuits for the Kitchen, with dedicated circuits for the refrigerator, microwave, and range oven, it is going to be difficult to keep that backsplash without replacing it. Also, lighting will have to meet Title 24 codes for efficiency. This oftentimes is where our clients get frustrated. They get frustrated because they don’t know and don’t understand the reasoning behind this, they just wanted a new countertop. These updates can add a lot of costs that were not anticipated by homeowners to achieve their goals of updating their kitchen or bathroom. The good news is, it doesn’t have to prevent you from achieving that goal, it just may take a little more planning than first anticipated.
The first step to reaching this goal of a new kitchen/bathroom is to get a design done. The design will take into consideration what you envision for how the kitchen will look and help get those visions out of your head and onto paper (or digital formats) for the world to see. These plans should include how the electrical and plumbing are laid out now and how they will be when the new kitchen/bathroom is finished. These plans should not just be renderings, these plans can include renderings, but floor plans and “blueprints” will be needed as well to be able to get permits issued for the project. In Davis, as long as you are not tearing out a load-barring wall, most of these remodeling projects are subjected to over-the-counter reviews (at the time of writing this post). This means that the permits can be issued faster than say building a new home that may be subjected to several revisions. This is where working with a designer or contractor who knows and understands what the local building department is looking for can help speed up the process.
Permits are the second step. Getting permits issued allows the contractor to start work. During construction at various points along the way to project completion there will be inspections. These inspections insure that the building practices the contractors are using meet the local building standards. Having these inspections signed off leads to the final permit being signed off and completed. These have additional benefits besides having the permit completed.
Your insurance company will want to know if any remodels have been done with permits. If not, any claims to specific areas that were modified without permits may only be able to be “put back to original conditions.” Or the claims could be denied entirely.
Overall Davis has more requirements than some of the surrounding communities, but these requirements aren’t necessarily out of reason. Davis tends to be on the leading edge of enforcing new building codes, energy efficiency standards, and environmental regulations for the disposal of construction debris. These standards allow for better-constructed homes, better energy usage in homes, and better handling of demolition materials. Working with a licensed, local contractor who understands these requirements can really improve the experience of building the Kitchen or Bathroom of your dreams.