Gary Thomas

Restaurant Construction

What building permits do I need when building a restaurant in NH or MA?

When you are building a restaurant, you will be required to secure numerous permits and licenses before the groundbreaking begins. The best advice is to seek information from the City, County, and Business Development offices where you are building. They can accurately tell you what permits and licensing you may need to move forward.

If there are any environmental issues related to the construction site, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services can help you navigate the complexities of the environmental permitting process, by arranging a “pre-application meeting” for you to meet with representatives of the specific permit programs necessary for your project. If you don’t know what permits you need, check out the New Hampshire website here for assistance.

Here are the types of licenses and permits required for building a restaurant:

Building Permits
Generally, you will need to get a building permit before you start any commercial project that involves construction in New Hampshire, whether it is demolishing, remodeling, or altering an existing building or building a new one. Building permit fees are normally calculated based on the value of the construction or the expected square footage of the completed building. Typically, you will need multiple permits such as a building permit, an electrical permit, a plumbing permit, a mechanical permit for gas and heating installation, or a grading permit for surfacing work. Some towns in New Hampshire have additional permit requirements. Milford, for instance, also requires gas piping permits for all natural gas work. Check with the local town/city offices for details.

City and Fire Permits
In some instances, a restaurant might also need additional permits from the building department, requiring the building to comply with applicable building and safety codes. Another possible permit is from the local fire marshal. Periodically, the fire marshal will inspect the premises and any required fire prevention system. Again, check with local officials about their required permits and codes.

Health Permits
Most states and municipalities provide a manual for architects, building contractors, food service equipment dealers, food service operators, consultants and other interested professionals. The purpose of this manual is to help in the development of plans to meet the health department standards for construction of the building. There are specific requirements for flooring, wall and ceiling product requirements and specs for each construction site. Northpoint Construction Management can assist you in contacting the appropriate permitting municipality so the design elements for the site are consistent with the codes in that particular municipality.

Miscellaneous Permits
Most basic finishing work such as painting, carpeting, and tiling will not require a building permit in New Hampshire. However some towns may require a building permit for roofing, siding, and window replacement. Whether you will need a permit will depend on your local city’s building regulations.

The best advice, is to speak to the local city, county or business development offices before beginning your restaurant construction project, especially if you have never built in that municipality before. Northpoint Construction Management can assist your business in moving your project forward in a timely manner. Contact us at or call 603-546-2000.