When are Permits Required?
Permits are required for nearly all improvements done to a residential or commercial property. Fences, driveways, roofing, swimming pools, as well as any electrical, mechanical, plumbing, or general construction of a structure, requires a building permit. A structure includes the main building as well as accessory buildings such as a storage unit, gazebo, etc.
The dismantling of a structure also requires a permit – a demolition permit. Nearly any commercial dismantling or remodeling will also require an Asbestos Survey (required by the State of Texas).
The Texas Department of State Health Services has been charged with enforcing State and Federal asbestos laws:
(1) Texas Asbestos Health Protection Rules (TAHPR)
(2) National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), 40 CFR, Subpart M
These laws regulate asbestos in renovations and demolitions. They require that, before renovation or demolition work is conducted, an asbestos survey must be conducted by a person who is accredited to safely and accurately collect representative samples. The person must be licensed by the DSHS to perform an inspection in a public building. Samples taken from a public building must be analyzed at a state-licensed laboratory. DSHS must be notified ten (10) working days prior to renovation and demolition activities.
*EXEMPTIONS: Renovations and demolitions of private residences. Renovations and demolitions of apartment buildings with no more than four (4) dwelling units are exempted. Only if they are not part of a public or commercial project or a NESHAP installation.
Understanding General Building Permits
A Building permit is required in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. It does so by providing the means for City officials to review the project design and to inspect the construction for minimum standards as required by the adopted Building Code and the City Code.
A building permit is required for new construction, additions, alteration, change of occupancy, renovations, relocations, and repairs or rehabilitation of a building or structure. Electrical, Plumbing and A/C, and Heating may also be required. Your licensed contractor will know the requirements applicable.
The City requires all contractors to register before doing any work within the city limits. A list of licensed contractors is available in the Planning and Development Department.
For residential construction, such as detached accessory structures, fences, swimming pools, etc., a site plan must be submitted with certain requirements.
Projects Which Require Permits
- Finish previously unfinished spaces such as rec. rooms, family rooms, basements, and converting garages to dwelling spaces. Etc.
- Installation of Mechanical Equipment that is not portable
- Repair and underpinning of foundations
- Installation/replacement of wood stoves, fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, and condensing units
- Installation of pools in-ground or above ground if over 24 inches deep
- Residential Sheds (over 120 square feet), garages, etc.
- Commercial Accessory Structures (over 120 square feet)
- Fences over 7 Feet
- Adding/modifying/replacing a sidewalk or driveway approach
- Retaining Walls over 4 feet
- Replacing electrical service panels or adding circuits
- Adding or moving plumbing fixtures
Projects Which Typically Do Not Require Permits
- Painting or Wallpapering
- Installing Hardwood Floors
- Countertops and similar finish work
- Minor electrical repairs that do not involve new service or moving existing service
- Replacement of a faucet
- Swings and other playground equipment
- Window awning supported by an exterior wall that does not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and does not require additional support.