Home Improvements

Home improvements
Whether you plan to do your own work or hire a contractor, you should be familiar with the process for managing a home improvement project. Properly constructed improvements will add to the value of the property and increase your enjoyment of your home or office well into the future.

Hire a Licensed Contractor
If you plan to hire a contractor, check first to make sure he or she is licensed to do the work. Home improvements contractors are required to have a license, even if their work doesn’t require a building permit.
Click on "Licensed Contractors" to see whether your contractor has a valid New Castle County license.

Electrical permits

Electrical permitting and inspections are handled through the State of Delaware.  If the homeowner is planning on completing the electrical work themselves, PLEASE  call 302-744-4500 before beginning the work for questions regarding electrical requirements.  NCC recommends homeowners hire licensed electricians who  can obtain electrical permits and who schedule inspections for their work by third party inspectors authorized by the State of DE.  Regardless if the homeowner completes the electrical work or hires a licensed electrician to complete the work, an electrical permit and inspections will be required through the State of Delaware before the final Certificate of Occupancy can be issued by New Castle County.

Building Permit Requirements
You can download a document with more complete information on permit requirements and on many standard home improvement projects.Generally, permits are required for:
  • A new roof requires a permit if 25% or more of the sheathing needs to be replaced
  • Finishing the basement and adding dormers
  • Fireplaces
  • Garages
  • Home additions
  • New decks and porches
  • Sheds over 200 square feet
  • Structural changes including altering existing spaces
  • Swimming pools - both in-ground and above ground
A building permit is not required to:
  • Add a fence, sidewalks, and driveways (although a new entrance onto the roadway may require a permit from DelDOT)
  • Concrete slabs / patios (unless you plan to eventually construct a porch)
  • Replace kitchen cabinets
  • Replace roof shingles
  • Replace windows and doors (using the existing opening without adding structural framing)
If you are unsure whether a permit is required, a quick email or call to the Department of Land Use will provide you with the information.