Residential Kitchen Remodels

A permit is required for all types of kitchen remodel projects. This includes: Replacement of kitchen cabinets. Appliance or fixture relocation. Complete kitchen re-configurations.

Structural calculations may be required for removal and/or replacement of bearing walls. Please note: The requirements below are a general guideline and it is the applicant’s responsibility to include any code requirements that may not be noted here.


  • All work must comply with current building code standards (building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, energy and CALGreen)
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must be installed when the value of the work exceeds $1,000. For more information on alarm locations, please see our Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms handout.
  • Provide a completed City of Hayward Prescriptive T-24 Energy Requirements for Residential Alterations form if applicable.
  • Minimum ceiling height in a kitchen is 7’-0” clear, from the finished floor to the finished ceiling.
  • A minimum of 3’-0” clearance is required between the counter fronts and appliances, or counter fronts and walls.
  • Insulation is required to be installed in all walls, floors and ceilings open for construction between conditioned space and unconditioned space, such as garages, crawl spaces and attics. Type of insulation required: walls 2x4 R-13 or 2x6 R-19, ceiling and floors R-19


  • A vertical minimum clearance of 30” is required above a range to combustibles materials, and a minimum vertical clearance of 24” above the range to the built-in microwave ovens is required. Note: Larger units require greater clearances, refer to manufacturer requirements.
  • Mechanical ventilation will be required in the kitchen.
  • Back draft damper are required on ventilation systems exhausting to the exterior. Point of exhaust vent must be a minimum of 3’-0” from a property line or openings into the buildings such as doors, windows, opening skylights, attic vents.


  • Two 20 amp. dedicated kitchen counter circuits are required. All the kitchen counter receptacles shall be GFCI protected and “tamper resistant”. The counter top circuits required may only be shared with the dining room, breakfast room or a pantry. Dishwashers, garbage disposals, insta-hots, compactors, built in microwave ovens, and the kitchen lighting shall not be on the same electrical circuits (dedicated).
  • Counter tops wider than 12” require receptacles. Receptacle shall be no higher than 20” above the counter. Receptacle outlets shall be installed so that no point along the wall line is more than 24”, measured horizontally from an outlet in that space.
  • All outlets and devices (i.e. receptacles, lighting, hoods, etc.) in the kitchen shall be AFCI protected and tamper-resistant (TR).
  • Islands or peninsulas require at least 1 receptacle. Receptacles may not be more than 12” below the counter surface or be below a counter that extends more than 6” beyond a cabinets end.
  • The maximum length for a garbage disposal cord is 36” and a dishwasher is 48”. Attachment plug and receptacle shall be accessible.
  • Multi-wire duplex receptacles for garbage disposals and dishwashers require a common trip breaker in the service panels.


  • All light fixtures shall contain bulbs that are labeled as JA8-2016 (JA8-2016-E for sealed lens or recessed fixture). Screw base bulbs are permitted, except in recessed lighting fixtures.
  • Recessed lighting shall be listed as IC (zero clearance to insulation) and AT (air tight), be sealed/caulked between the fixture housing and ceiling, shall not contain a screw base socket, and contain bulbs marked with JA8-2016-E efficiency label.
  • All lighting fixtures shall be controlled by either a dimmer switch or by a vacancy sensor switch that requires a manual on activation (does not automatically turn on) and automatically turns off within 30 minutes after the room is vacated.
  • Under cabinet lighting shall be on a separate switch from any other lighting.


  • All new gas piping shall be sized to supply sufficient gas to the appliances. The gas piping shall be tested with 10 lbs. of pressure for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  • Hot water piping ¾” and greater serving a kitchen shall be insulated with minimum 1” wall thickness insulation.
  • All oven and stove gas valves shall be readily accessible and be within 3’-0” of the appliance. Connectors may not be concealed or pass through any floor, wall partition, ceiling, or appliance housing cabinet.
  • A 2” accessible plumbing cleanout under the sink shall be required.
  • An air gap above the sink rim shall be installed between the dishwasher drainpipe and the garbage disposal inlet.


All existing non-compliant plumbing fixtures (based on water efficiency) throughout the house shall be upgraded whenever a building permit is issued for an addition, alteration, or improvement. The following table shows the fixtures that are considered to be non-compliant and the type of water-conserving plumbing fixture shall be installed in place of non-compliant fixtures:

SAMPLE PLAN: Use the drawing above as an example of the key elements that should be shown in the plans that you prepare for review. Please provide an “existing” and “new” plan to show what is changing. In some cases, the entire floor must be drawn for context if the kitchen is expanding or if it impacts adjacent rooms or spaces.