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When Is a Permit Required?

A permit is required for the following project categories. When you apply for a permit, remember you will also need an inspection. If you need a permit, then you will need an inspection, whether it is for commercial building, site road development or a homeowner permit.

The four project categories below cover general homeowner types of permits.

Project Categories

The projects listed below are grouped into four general categories:

  1. Accessory Buildings (includes sheds);
  2. Home Improvement and Repair Projects;
  3. Appliance Installations (includes replacements); and
  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 (WSSC)
  • 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

*Electrical and Mechanical Contractors License required to obtain electrical and mechanical trade permits.

 

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 prefabricated fireplace B Y
Build masonry chimney 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 carpet B Y
Build or replace porch or deck 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 Installations Permit Plans
Install electric air conditioning** E, M* N
Install gas air condition 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.