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Building Permits 101

With warmer weather approaching, it is the perfect time to start making upgrades to your backyard. Picking your dream shed, barn, or garage is the easy part. What to do next can be confusing and overwhelming. If you are putting in a new building, you more than likely need a permit. Here are the facts you need to know to help get your new structures in motion.  

What is a Building Permit?

A building permit gives a homeowner the permission to do construction on their property. This ensures the homeowners are doing the work safely and following local guidelines. If you do not secure a permit, your shed could be removed for going against zoning codes. You will need to apply for a building permit before you want to start construction because permit approval is not always quick.  

What Factors Determine if You Need a Permit?

Size: Whether you need a building permit for your shed depends on the size of your shed and the zoning codes of your city, county, and state. Smaller sheds may not need a permit at all. 

Placement: Some cities also have regulations on where you can build a shed on your property, how much of your yard you can use for construction, and how close to your house, property lines, fences, and trees the new structure can be. 

Intended Purpose: A shed that will be used as a work, living, or business space will need a permit almost anywhere you live. Additionally, if you want to put electricity or other utilities into your shed, you will most likely need a permit. 

Homeowners Association: If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, you should always check with it first if you want to change your property. Every HOA has different rules that must be followed. 

How Do I Get a Building Permit?

Get your paperwork ready. You will need to have the building plans of your shed ready when you apply for a building permit. These will need to include the size, foundation type, siding, roofing, lumber size, number and placement of doors and windows, information about the walls, floors, and roof, information about any other customizations, what you will use your shed for, and where on your property you want to build the shed. You should also check with your city or county for other application requirements. 

Contact your local zoning department and planning department. Find out what your local zoning board requires and allows when it comes to the structure you want to put in.

Complete an application and provide the necessary documentation. Find out if you can fill it out online, where you need to go in person, or if you have to mail your application. 

Pay the required fee and book an appointment for an official to come view your property. After your shed is constructed, it will also need to be inspected.  

Check on the status of your permit by calling your city office or using an online portal. Once your permit is approved, you can start the construction or installation of your shed. This also applies to structures like modular homes and garages.

How Much Do Building Permits Cost?

Fees vary by the specifics of your shed and by city and county in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Permits can cost between $150 and $2000, depending on how large and complex the structure you are putting in is. 

How Long Does it Take to Get a Permit?

This can vary depending on the complexity of your shed and how many permits your city is processing, but expect it to take one week to two months. 

While JDM does not help with building permits, we want to ensure you have the overall smoothest shed installation experience possible by providing as much information as we can. We can answer questions about your structure that you may need to obtain a building permit, like information about its foundation, structure, walls, and size.

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