Starting a home improvement project right now, while we’re still dealing with a global pandemic that has impacted millions of people, could either be a great idea or a terrible one, depending on perspective, location, and what type of project you’ll be embarking on.

For DIY enthusiasts, this might be the perfect time for you to take on a home improvement project. If you’re spending more time at home because your workplace is temporarily closed, you can squeeze in renovations between your Zoom meetings. If you’re hiring a contractor, then you’ve probably asked yourself how comfortable you are with the risk of having non-family members in and out of your home, especially if you’ll still be living in it while the remodel is happening.

Home Improvement Permits During COVID-19

Man applies for a permit for his construction project in Vancouver, WA

First thing’s first. Have you obtained the proper permits for your home improvement project, and do you even know if the permitting office is open? Most likely you’ll need to apply online; for some people this is a relief but for others it might seem like an unnecessary headache. Walking into a permit office where you can talk face-to-face with someone sometimes makes things much simpler!

While we operate in more than a dozen municipalities in Oregon and Washington, here are three of the primary areas we operate in, with information about their permitting process right now.

Home Improvement Permits in Vancouver, WA

The City of Vancouver requires permits for most renovations, fence installations, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, demolition, and other types of home improvement projects.

Like most city services, their office is currently closed for in-person applications, but you can access their ePermit system here.

Home Improvement Permits in Portland, OR

The City of Portland’s Permit Center is currently closed for walk-in services, but you can schedule an appointment to meet with someone to discuss your permitting needs. With that said, like Vancouver, most permitting is being done online.

For information about what types of home improvement projects in Portland require permits, and for links to applications, check out the City of Portland’s Development Services permit page.

Home Improvement Permits in Salem, OR

Like the other two cities listed above, most of Salem’s permitting for your home improvement project can and should be done online. If you’re building a fence, demolishing a structure, building an ADU, or similar, you’ll need to apply for a permit.

Information about permits, including who needs one and how to apply, can be found here.

Purchasing Materials for Your Home Improvement Project

Shopping at a Portland, OR home improvement store

2020 will be remembered, among other things, as the year of the Great Toilet Paper Shortage. It’s also the year of the Above-Ground Pool Shortage, the All Purpose Flour Shortage, and the Hand Sanitizer Shortage.

People are buying certain materials and products in greater quantities than normal. Coupled with the fact that the pandemic has interrupted global supply chains, it can take significantly longer to get what you need for your project. If you’re planning a home improvement project for this summer, make sure to order the supplies ASAP.

Your local hardware and home improvement stores might be out of the products you want, and having them shipped may take quite a bit longer than normal. Create a comprehensive list of everything you’ll need, and start shopping now.

Services and Rentals for Your Home Improvement Project

You may be doing a lot of the construction yourself, but will you need a plumber, an electrician, or similar expert to help you out? If so, contact your preferred professional soon to ensure that they have time for your project and that they, too, can pull the necessary permits.

Also, do you want everyone who comes into your home to wear a mask or take other preventative measures? Make sure the people you hire follow those protocols if they’re important to you. Not all plumbers and electricians are taking the same precautions, so make sure to have that conversation ahead of time if it’s something you require.

Finally, if your project involves plumbing or an extensive bathroom remodel, contact us to reserve a portable toilet for your home improvement project.

We serve the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA areas, along with Salem, OR and many other towns in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington state.