Why do I need a Permit?

Why do I need Building Permit?

The term "building permit" is often used as a generic term that includes the permits required for structural work, electrical work, mechanical work, or plumbing work. Most construction projects will require a permit, but there are some exceptions. Below is information on the types of permits needed and available through the Building Department.

You will need a building permit to construct, enlarge, alter, move, or demolish any one- or two-family dwelling or related structure. Other examples of when a building permit is required include:

  • Building a deck more than 30 inches high

  • Adding a room

  • Building, demolishing, or moving a carport, garage, or shed that measures 200 square feet or more in area or greater than 10 feet in height

  • Finishing an attic, garage, or basement to make additional living space

  • Cutting a new window or door opening, or widening an existing opening

  • Moving, removing, or adding load-bearing walls or adding walls that affect exit patterns or fire and life safety

  • Applying roofing when all of the old roofing is removed and new sheathing is installed

  • Building a stairway

  • Building a retaining wall

  • Putting up a fence more than 6 feet high

  • Adding an in-ground swimming pool

  • Installing or altering a sign

  • Changing the use of a structure;
    • For example, you'll need approval from Planning Division and a Building Permit to convert a single family residence into a shop or restaurant, or to convert a garage into an apartment.
  • Also, when doing any improvements on the exterior of your structure or if your work affects trees on your property, please check with the City's Planning Department. If you are not sure you need a building permit, call the Building Division at 503-635-0290.

  • A full demolition of a single-family residence also requires an erosion control permit and a tree protection or removal permit. Please see Public Works and Planning for these requirements prior to submitting the application for demolition to the Building Division.