Permit Types

The Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE) issues the following types of permits:  residential building, commercial building, building trade, use and occupancy,
temporary use and occupancy, raze, signs and site/road permits.

When Is a Permit Required?

Project Categories

Projects listed are grouped into four general categories:

  1. Accessory Buildings (includes sheds)
  2. Home Improvement and Repair Projects
  3. Appliance Installations (includes replacements)
  4. Miscellaneous

Type of Permit and Symbols

The symbols listed below appear in the permit/plans column to indicate the type of permit required. The symbols denote:

B — Building Permit

E — Electrical Permit

M — Mechanical Permit

P — Plumbing and Gasfitting Permit Issued by Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission 

G — Grading Permit

N — No Permit or Plans Required

Y — Plans Required


1. Accessory Buildings

​Permit ​Plans
​Build shed that is more than 150 square feet ​B ​Y
​Build storage shed that is 150 square feet or less (only one allowed per lot without permit) ​N ​N
Any shed that is attached to a building or carport​ ​B ​Y
​Build farm building (on farm property, agricultural use only) ​E* ​N

2. Home Improvement and Repair Projects

Permit Plans
​Install exterior siding ​N ​N
​Replace roof shingles (no structural repair involved) ​N ​N
Replace roof sheathing​ ​B ​Y
Panel interior walls without partitions​ ​N ​N

Put up partitions and finish rec room (electric/plumbing, separate permits required)​

​B ​Y
Exact window and/or door replacement (no structural alteration)​ ​N ​N
Install pre-fabricated fireplace​ ​B ​Y
Build masonry chimneys for stove​ ​B ​Y
Build masonry fireplace​ ​B ​Y
​Construct entrance way/area way into basement ​B ​Y
Construct, dig or enlarge a basement under existing dwelling​ ​B ​Y
Driveways and paving​ ​B ​Y
​Foundation waterproofing ​B ​Y
Build patio less than 500 square feet on grade (no steps; cannot be used to park vehicles)​ ​N ​N
Build above-grade patio​ ​B ​Y
Build patio covers​ ​B ​Y
Replace or install carpeting​ ​N ​N
​Painting ​N ​N
Replace or install kitchen counter or bathroom counter​ ​N ​N
Replace interior or exterior door​ ​N ​N
Enclose carport​ ​B ​Y
Build or replace porch or deck​ ​B ​Y
Repair steps​ ​B ​Y
Relocate stairs​ ​B ​Y
Pier​ ​B,G ​Y
Bulkhead​ ​B,G ​Y
Boathouse​ ​B ​Y
Mooring Pile ​B,G ​Y
Boat lift​ ​B ​Y
Build Dormers​ ​B ​Y
Install a hardwood or asphalt tile floor on a subfloor​ ​N ​N
Install kitchen cabinets​ ​N ​N
Replace switch plates​ ​N ​N
Replace electrical wiring​ ​E* ​N
Relocate switches, outlets, lighting fixtures and sub panels​ ​E* ​N
Relocate service entrance cable or change the size of service​ ​E* ​N
​Install smoke detectors (if connected to house wiring) ​E* ​N
Replace circuit breakers​ ​E* ​N
​Replace kitchen stove exhaust ​E* ​N

* Electrical and Mechanical Contractors License required to obtain Electrical and Mechanical 
   Trade permits.


3. Appliance Installation

​Permit ​Plans
Install electric air conditioning* ​E,M* ​N
Install gas air conditioning​ ​M, P* ​N
Install heat pump​ ​E,M* ​N
Install well-water pump​ ​E* ​N
Install humidifier​ ​E* ​N
Install boiler (gas, oil, etc.)​ ​E,M,P* ​N
Install portable cooling unit (i.e., window A/C)**​ ​N ​N
Install electronic air cleaner​ ​E* ​N
​Install attic fan ​E* ​N
​Install oil furnace ​E,M* ​N
Install gas furnace​ ​E,M,P* ​N
Install electric furnace​ ​E* ​N

  * Electrical and Mechanical Contractors License required to obtain Electrical and Mechanical 
    Trade permits.
** Cord and plug connection does not require permit.


4. Miscellaneous

​Permit ​Plans
Build retaining walls (over 2 feet high)​ ​B ​Y
Build brick or block privacy wall (over 4 feet high)​ ​B ​Y
Install hot tub/spa/pool​ ​B, E* ​Y
Construct fences (over 4 feet high/6 feet limit)​ ​B ​Y
Install outdoor gas barbecue (if served by Washington Gas Light Co.)​ ​P ​N
Install swimming pool (if connected to WSSC, permit required)​ ​B,E* ​Y
Install solar heating system​ ​M,B,E* ​N
​Erect freestanding radio or TV antenna or satellite dish 18 inches or more in diameter ​B,E* ​Y
Demolish building (RAZE Permit)​ ​B,P** ​N

  * Electrical and Mechanical Contractors License required to obtain Electrical and Mechanical
     Trade permits.
** Requires disconnect letters from all utility companies.