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Old 11-02-2010, 08:55 AM   #1
A1an
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Default Permit for any size shed

So I am still in the beginning stages of getting my garages sorted out and organized. Currently my yard equipment is in the garage. In the not so distant future I plan on throwing up a smallish storage shed in the fenced back yard to keep my mower, edger, etc.

Last night I shot an inquiry to my county asking about a fence (making sure we didn't need a permit) and decided I'd throw in a few questions about the shed. They responded within an hour to advise me we don't need a permit for the fence but for any size shed we are required to pull a permit with the county.

I was originally going to build something myself using some plans online to hopefully get this done fairly cheap but not I am not sure what to do. I have zero experience pulling permits, drawing plans, etc. Do I need to hire a contractor or someone to draw up plans to submit to the county on my behalf? Has anyone gone through a similar process for such a small structure on their property?

Once it is built am I subject to a county inspector like I would if I were building a home?
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:58 AM   #2
ErickForest
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

Usually all they want to see is a plan of the shed, which doesn't need to have a lot of detail. Also they would like to see a plan of your yard with where you want to locate the shed.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

I have the same questions in my county. I wonder if the sheds they sell at HD / Lowes require a permit before you plop them down in your yard.

Right or wrong, I plan on building my own like you but not ask permission about it. In my mind, a shed is not occupied or should even be considered a structure that needs to be "up to code". It's a large box to put tools in.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

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I have the same questions in my county. I wonder if the sheds they sell at HD / Lowes require a permit before you plop them down in your yard.

Right or wrong, I plan on building my own like you but not ask permission about it. In my mind, a shed is not occupied or should even be considered a structure that needs to be "up to code". It's a large box to put tools in.
That is what I was thinking. I'm going to build my own after my less than spectactular experience with a kit from Lowes many years ago. If I build my own I could keep the roof line under my 6ft privacy fence and no one aside from the neighbor on one side would be the wiser. Granted I couldn't stand up in the thing but it isn't as if I'll be hanging out in the shed.

I just don't want to be caught with my pants down if we go to sell the place and they find we didn't pull a permit for the shed.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

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I just don't want to be caught with my pants down if we go to sell the place and they find we didn't pull a permit for the shed.
I don't know anywhere in the home buying process (in my area that is) that checks to see if permits were pulled for any project. A home inspector may comment on work not done to code, but that's just info supplied to the buyer, not the township. A shed would be the least of my concerns as a potential buyer.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

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I just don't want to be caught with my pants down if we go to sell the place and they find we didn't pull a permit for the shed.
For most wooden sheds, 10 minutes with a chainsaw and a trip to the dump with a pickup truck would take care of the problem when selling the house.

Keith
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:20 AM   #7
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

In New Jersey you do not need a building permit for a shed 100 sq ft or less. That being said the town or county may require a zoning permit which would deal with set backs,height and things of that nature.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

Every building department varies by municipality so any suggestions I offer might be irrelevant in your area. My experience (in NY) has been that when it's time to build, sit down with a building inspector in person tell them what you'd like to do and ask exactly what you need. It helps if you bring a plot plan so the inspector can visualize your lot. They may have to tell you that you can't do what you would like but often they will suggest an easier to permit alternative. Once you have established a rapport with the inspector they will probably work with you until completion with permitting, making the necessary inspections, etc. For a shed, the plans you intend to buy online will probably be fine, just ask how many copies you need. It might even be a good idea to bring a set with you when you first approach the inspector. Often, for a deck or shed, the permit process may even accept a neat, legible hand drawing. You may require additional plans or diagrams if you intend to add things like electricity or plumbing at the time of construction so keep it simple and it will go easier. FWIW, that's my experience with permitting and acting as my own general contractor for decks, sheds, and garages.

Lou
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

At the beginning of this year our township instituted a new code for sheds. Any shed over 25 sqft needs to have a permit pulled and drawings submitted. Level of drawing detail varies based on size of shed. My neighbor found out the hard way a few days after I helped carry out the the base frame from his garage. A couple of days later I walked over and asked if he needed help with raising the last two walls as I figured it would have only taken a day to put up all the walls, he is retired and it was only a 8x12 shed. He said he got red tagged and his SIL, who is part owner of a lumber yard, was putting together drawings for the building dept. The lumber yard, who supplies a large portion of the building materials in the township, was unaware of the change as well.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

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Originally Posted by z28snksknr View Post
I don't know anywhere in the home buying process (in my area that is) that checks to see if permits were pulled for any project. A home inspector may comment on work not done to code, but that's just info supplied to the buyer, not the township. A shed would be the least of my concerns as a potential buyer.
Uhh I do. I work as an appraiser and I call about permits all the time. In my area you can build a 120 sf shed w/o a permit but ask me about this in another month. I built a 14x18 w/o a permit right in the back corner of my lot. When I went for permits they asked for the location of all sheds, pools and outbuildings. I can shrink it, permit it or remove it prior to getting my final. I've been advised to roll the dice since it might get overlooked when they do the final inspection. The stupid thing is I could have as many 10x12 sheds as I want wherever I want as long as they were 6' apart from each other.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:01 AM   #11
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

Do they require permits for "temporary structures" in your area?

Locally, I can build a shed without a foundation (skid floor, etc) without a permit.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:33 AM   #12
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

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Do they require permits for "temporary structures" in your area?

Locally, I can build a shed without a foundation (skid floor, etc) without a permit.
Same thing here. No foundation and under 120 square feet, no permit, setbacks ect, ect....
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:19 PM   #13
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

Here in Irondequoit NY (Monroe County suburb of Rochester) permits are required for sheds, fences, and swimming pools. Also, there was a law here (maybe still is) that you couldn't have a fence on your property between the front of your house and the sidewalk (or street if there is no sidewalk.)

I've heard that one of the applications of Google maps and the similar programs is the building depts. looking them over to corrolate whos been naughty and nice with un-permitted construction.

People who have bought/sold houses around here lately have been required to search permit records for what work was done.

All that being said, there is the Zoning Board Variance route you could go if you have to. I'm underscoring that because in my dealings with that (once) you need to have your ducks in a row or you will get shot down. If your neighbors don't like the idea you will get opposition from them. Also you need to present alternatives and why you could not do them.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

I can confirm that our building department uses google earth and streets to check up on people. Prior to that they used to subscribe to an aerial photomapping service.
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:00 PM   #15
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

Check with Planning and Zoning. It varies of course by towns and states. I think generally if it is under xxx sq feet they do not need to approve plans. In my town, it is 600 sq ft.
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Old 11-04-2010, 03:57 PM   #16
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

Many of the local building departments around the Seattle region have fliers and hand outs that help walk home owners through a permitting process. And I've found the building department officials can be helpful letting you know the next steps you need to take. Might be worth stopping in the office for a visit.



And as others have said, it varies whether or not you need a permit.

In my home town, any shed under 200 sf does not require a permit, nore does it need to conform to setbacks. And there don't seem to be any restrictions on the number of 200 sq ft sheds either, only an overall impervious coverage limit for a building lot.

The codes also didn't say anything about restrictions on foundations or not so . . . I'm in the process of building this as my shed, it has 3 ft tall foundation walls, almsot 4 ft if you go down to the bottom of the footing:




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Old 11-04-2010, 05:42 PM   #17
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

We have to get a permit for any structure. For small sheds they are more interested in the location. It has to meet setbacks, be spaced from other buildings, not interfere with drainage, not be located in an easement for utilities, etc.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:10 PM   #18
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

No permit needed here. Under around 500 sq ft you are fine (I think it's 460 or 480 but I don't remember for sure).

Even on a house they just need inspections on the septic and foundation and that is pretty much it. You can get inspections on other stuff I am told, but I think 98% of the time it's just pencil whipped anyhow.

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Old 11-04-2010, 06:33 PM   #19
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

I just finished adding a 16' x 16' deck to my house. Where I am this required engineered plans, permits, inspections, the whole shebang. This was the first time I'd ever done permitted work, so I had no idea what I needed to do. I found my local building inspector folks to be very helpful -- a quick call to them and I had all the information about what I needed to give them for the permit process.

Be very careful about the "beg forgiveness" method. If your local building folks get wind of it, it's quite possible they can make you tear it down. Again, I didn't find the permit process difficult or particularly expensive, and now I've got all the paperwork to prove that the work was done to code.

Every local municipality is different and has different requirements -- I'd give the city another call and they'll be able to tell you exactly what the process entails.
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:15 PM   #20
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Default Re: Permit for any size shed

Check my avatar. These are two portable shipping containers with a roof that meets county snow load requirements. Portable = no permit in our county.

Speaking of google, I'm seeing businesses listed in residential areas that are not permitted!
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