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Do I Need a Permit?

This section provides some guidance on when a permit is required; but since every project is unique, the best way to determine if a permit is required is to ask a Construction Services representative about your particular project as early in the process as possible.

A permit is required before beginning to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or portion of it. A permit is also required before beginning to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical, plumbing system, or other building service equipment, or piping system. A separate demolition permit is required before demolition of any building or portion thereof, unless the demolition can be approved as part of a building permit.

The following is a list of permit application forms and the work for which they apply. It is important to note that the following examples listed under each permit type are not conclusive, and the best way to determine if a permit is required is to Contact Construction Services:

Building Permit Application
(new residences & commercial buildings, changes of occupancy, additions, alterations, repairs, remodeling, reroofing, decks, ramps, residential accessory buildings over 200 square feet, fences over 6 feet tall, finished basements, swimming pools)

Electric Permit Application
(electric work for new residences & commercial buildings, new or replacement wiring, electric repairs, electric alterations, service changes, temporary pole)

HVAC / Gas Permit Application
(HVAC work for new residences & commercial buildings, new or replacement furnace or other heating appliance, new or replacement air-conditioning unit, new or replacement ductwork, hoods, new or replacement gas piping)

Wet Heat (Hydronics) Permit Application
(new or replacement hydronic heating units, steam or hot water unit heaters, heating coils, radiators, conversion units, hot water pressure reducing stations, fuel-fired cooling towers, continuous baseboard or wall fin heating or ductwork, above-ground heating tanks)

Plumbing / Sewer Permit Application
(Plumbing work for new residences & commercial buildings; new or replacement water heater; new plumbing fixtures; new, replacement, altered or repaired plumbing over 10 feet in length when not involving or connecting to a water heater; outside work such as storm water, water service or sanitary service; backflow preventor)

Fire Protection / Fire Suppression Permit Application
(new or altered sprinkler systems, outside fire lines, added or relocated sprinkler heads, gravity tanks, fire pumps, standpipes, hood suppression or other chemical agent systems, new or altered fire alarm systems, duct detector)

Sign Permit Application
(new or replacement signs greater than 2.5 square feet, signs that are not painted or laminated directly to an existing surface – may still require Zoning approval)

Demolition Permit Application
(demolition of any commercial building or structure over 120 square feet, demolition of any residential accessory building or structure over 200 square feet)

For all One-, Two- and Three-Family Dwellings, the following does not require a permit:

• One-story detached accessory structures with a floor area that is 200 square feet or less.

• Fences that are not over 6 feet tall.

• Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet tall, measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall.

• Water tanks directly on grade that are 5,000 gallons or less; and the ratio of height to diameter does not exceed 2 to 1.

• Private sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade and not over any basement or story below.

• Painting, wall-paper, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and other similar finish work.

• Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches deep.

• Swings and other playground equipment.

• Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.

• Replacing windows, as long as the rough opening remains the same size. Replacement windows in sleeping rooms also cannot reduce the size of the emergency egress opening of the window any less than the existing window provided.

• Vinyl siding, when the existing sheathing is not to be removed or replaced.

When equipment replacements and repairs must be performed in an emergency situation, an application for approval shall be submitted to Construction Services within the next business day. The Building Official will determine whether or not the situation legitimately constituted an emergency. If any work is performed without a permit, and the above emergency stipulations are not met, then penalty fees will be applied.

While a permit is not required to perform minor repairs, Construction Services must be contacted before starting the work in order to confirm that the repairs can be classified as minor.

Please Note:  Some of the most common projects that most people do not realize require a permit are as follows. A permit is required for all of the following:

• Before reroofing (replacing a roof or adding an additional layer of roofing).

• Before replacing a water heater.

• Before replacing a furnace or air conditioner.

• Before installing a swimming pool greater than 24 inches deep.

• Before building a deck.

The above list is not conclusive. Again, the best way to determine if a permit is required is to Contact Construction Services.

Permit application forms are available at Permit Application Forms and Other Information or in our office.

To find out more general permit information, visit How Do I Get a Permit?

Last updated: 1/16/2014 5:06:32 PM