Building Requirements For Interior Remodeling in Ann Arbor

A checklist of the city of Ann Arbor's requirements for interior remodeling

Remodeling your Ann Arbor home can be an exciting project that can help you to create the home of your dreams. Working with a professional design build firm can help you to determine the best options for adding to your home, or simply renovating your existing home. Even if you're working within your existing footprint, you will need to make sure any work you do, will fit within the codes and requirements of Ann Arbor's Planning and Development Services Department (PDSD).

Before you start planning and demolition, review our condensed list of Ann Arbor's Planning and Development Services of interior remodeling requirements.

Interior Remodeling Requirements in Ann Arbor

Building codes vary within different municipalities. In Ann Arbor, all codes are enforces by the Planning and Development Services Department. This is a condensed list of interior remodeling requirements for you to review before beginning any work on your home. Your design build firm will be aware of all local codes and will design your project to meet all of the legal requirements of the location of your home.

This is just a partial list. Consult with your design build firm or the Ann Arbor  Planning and Development Services Department for a full list of codes and interior remodeling requirements.


Windows are not requires if lighting and an exhaust fa are included in your remodel. If a window is included, it must be at least three square feet and must be openable. You will also need to include a ground fault interruptor (GFI) outlet within 36-inches of the outside wall of the lavatory.


If your interior remodeling plan includes adding additional bedrooms or changing the size of an existing bedroom you will need to provide emergency egress windows. For more information, refer to the PDSD Window Guidelines. New bedrooms and some bedroom remodeling projects require the addition of arc-fault interruptor outlets and hardwired, connected smoke detectors.


If you're just replacing cabinets and counters you do not need a building permit. However if you are moving walls, or performing plumbing, electrical or mechanical work you will need to pull proper permits.

Kitchen remodels have specific electrical requirements:

• All outlets must be grounded

• GFCI outlets are required at all locations above the counter top

• Outlets are required above each counter that is 12-inches wide or wider

• Outlets are required at a minimum spacing of 24-inches measured horizontally

• At least one outlet should be installed at each counter space 24-inches long or 12-inches wide

• At least one outlet is required at any peninsular counter that is 12 to 24-inches long or greater

Smoke Detectors

Whenever a permit is required for structural work, you need to bring all smoke detectors up to the current code. Whenever possible smoke alarms should be interconnected and hardwired. Smoke alarms must be installed:

• in each bedroom

• outside each bedroom in the immediate area

• at least one on each additional level of the home including basements and attics

Additional Building Code Considerations

Along with these basic codes, other areas that may be remodeled where a building permit is required, must also meet specific codes. These include:

• Fireplace inserts, free standing fireplaces or woodstoves must be UL listed and labeled. Installation must meet manufacturers installation instructions and the instructions must remain onsite for the Inspector to review.

• All habitable spaces must contain electrical outlets spaced at no more than 6-feet from each other. Receptacles should be equally spaced whenever possible.

• A habitable room is defined as having a minimum of 70 square feet and must mot be less than 7 feet in any horizontal dimension. Habitable rooms, hallways, corridors, bathrooms, toilets, laundry rooms and basements must have a ceiling at a minimum height of 7 feet. The height is measure from the finished floor to the lowest point of the ceiling.

• All habitable rooms must contain windows of not less than eight percent of the floor area. Natural ventilation must be provided by windows, doors, louvers of other opening to outdoor air.

Floor Plans May Be Required for Obtaining Building Permits for Interior Remodeling Projects

A floor plan should be provided for any work where a permit is needed. A floor plan should be ¼ scale (1/4” equals one floor. The plan should show the entire house, not ust the area being remodeled. It should also include mechanical, electrical and structural work. If structural work is included in the scope of work, you must include information on the structural members proposed as well as calculations and engineering reports if extensive structural work is to be undertaken.

Remodeling your Ann Arbor home is one of the most exciting and satisfying projects you can undertake as a homeowner. Whenever doing extensive work requiring a building permit, make sure to contact the City of Ann Arbor Planning and Development Services Department.

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Forward Design Build is a residential design-build firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is known for its commitment to craftsmanship and communication. We are committed to improving our neighbors quality of life with inspired design and creative remodeling. Our homes are highly functional, exquisitely beautiful, and remarkably comfortable. Contact us to speak with an expert about your new home or remodeling project.