What do I Need a Permit for?

Many common household upgrades and repairs require a permit where the average homeowner or property owner is not aware of the need for a permit. As a general rule when in doubt, ask!! Who answers these questions? And where does a property owner go to get these answers? Best place to start is with the Development Services Department or Building Code Department for your community. A quick internet search can usually lead you to a phone number and often a list of what needs a permit and what does not. It may seem like a hassle obtaining a permit. But there are safety issues that the layperson may not think about.

Depending on the project, other public work departments may require a permit for the work where the Development Service or Building Code Department may not. When talking with a representative from the Development Services or Building Code Department, ask a very important question, “Is there any other department I should check with before I start my work.” Please keep in mind that as much as it may seem inconvenient to obtain a permit, the intent behind a permit is to keep you safe from faulty installation and construction.

Please note not every type of project is listed here. Below you will find a list of common house hold and general construction projects that require a permit and that do not require a permit.

The following common house hold items that need a permit;

  • A/C unit—non portable
  • Deck (greater than 30 inches above finish grade or floor level)
  • Driveway
  • Electric outlets or fixtures installation, new
  • Dishwasher, new
  • Fireplace, new
  • Screening in of porches
  • Solar system, PV or Water
  • Wood burning stove
  • Window replacements
  • Skylight
  • Water heater new or replacement
  • Roof work (structural)
  • Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.
  • Tents or membrane structures
  • Swimming pools (including residential prefabricated that are minimum 18 inches deep, exceed 5,000 gallons and are installed entirely above ground).

Common construction projects that require a permit;

  • Agricultural buildings
  • Demolition of building or structure
  • Electric reconnect of services disconnected longer than 36 months.
  • Fixtures including sinks, toilets, tubs, etc.
  • Pipe work, new
  • Propane tank
  • Public Right-of-Way work
  • Remodel improvement
  • Replace existing electric outlets or fixtures
  • Septic only
  • Sewer connections
  • Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems.
  • New siding work
  • Signs

Common house projects that do not require a permit;

  • Addition of attic insulation without remodeling a space.
  • New carpet,
  • Clearing or the repairing leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures
  • Temporary decorative holiday lighting
  • Door replacement
  • Drywall (unless shear or fire walls are affected)
  • Painting, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops, etc.
  • Portable cooling unit
  • Portable evaporative cooler
  • Portable heating appliance
  • Portable ventilation equipment
  • Replace existing evaporative cooler with like cooler
  • Replace/new gutter
  • Roof work tile/shingles (re-roofing with like material)
  • Non-retaining walls/fences of maximum 7 feet in height
  • Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one- and two-family dwellings (duplex)

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