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Depending on the size of the shed, you may be required to get a building permit. The zoning of the land, the area you live in, and the type of storage shed will all determine what kind of permits are required.
Does your shed require a building permit? Building a shed usually requires a building permit. In some areas small sheds do not require a permit, but large ones almost always will. Permit requirements vary by municipality, so you will need to check with a local building inspector to ensure that you are abiding by building ordinances.
The intended use of the shed, size, and placement will all determine what kind of permit you need. Keep reading for a detailed description of how building permits work for storage sheds.
Building Permits for Storage Sheds
It is important when you add any construction to your property that you follow the local building codes. Violating local building ordinances can come with hefty fees, penalties, and you may lose the financial investment of building the shed. Check with a local building inspector before you begin construction.
Things to Consider About Building Permits for Storage and Garden Sheds
The first thing to consider about building permits for a new shed is what city and state the shed is being built in. Both state and local building codes will apply to most sheds. In some places all sheds need a permit, and in other places it is only large sheds that will need a permit. The type of anchoring system used to hold down the shed may also be affected by the local ordinances considering the soil and land itself.
In some cases sheds are only allowed to be installed in the backyard of homes. It is less common to install a shed in the front lawn, and some home owners associations may oppose the shed if they see it as an eyesore.
Some things that can vary about the placement of the shed is whether or not it is attached to the home or freestanding, how close it is to trees, fences, and other structures, and how close it is to other properties. Some people may not want a storage shed installed close to their property line because of how the foundation could affect the land on their side (such as water run off, plants, etc).
One of the major safety concerns about building sheds is that they can become airborne during extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or any storm with very high winds. The type of foundation and anchoring system required may be affected by the local weather conditions. You can expect there to be more local ordinances and restrictions on storage buildings in areas with windy weather and frequent tropical storms.
Another thing about the weather that can change how a shed needs to be built is the freezing level. The soil under the shed may reach a freezing temperature that causes the moisture to expand. This can offset the stability of the foundation or the shed and even destroy it. In cold weather climates the type of shed foundation that can be used will be different than in warm areas.
A major, major factor to consider when it comes to whether or not you are going to need a building permit is how large the shed is going to be. Small storage sheds which are less than 10 ft long or wide will usually not require a building permit, although this depends on the area still. The height of the structure is usually restricted more than the width.
Large structures, including storage sheds, are almost always going to require a building permit of some kind. There could be restrictions imposed on how large the shed can be especially height wise. Another thing to consider about the size is what kind of foundation is needed. Large sheds usually require the installation of a heavy duty concrete base.
The local building codes and laws are not the only set of rules you must follow. If you live in a neighborhood that has a homeowners association you will also have to abide by their regulations.
They may require you to only build sheds in your backyard, they might not allow external storage buildings, or they may impose other restrictions. To avoid fines and arguments, it is best to always receive permission from the homeowners association before you begin any kind of construction.
You may want to install electricity in the shed so that you can see with overhead lights, or so you can use the shed as a workspace. If you are planning on wiring electricity in the shed then you will need to receive permits to do so.
Unless you are an experienced electrician yourself, you will need to hire an electrical contractor to run the wiring for you. An experienced professional electrician should be able to advise you on what the laws are regarding permits for electricity in sheds.
How you plan on using your new shed will also be a determining factor on whether or not it is allowed. If you are going to work out of your shed or even use it as a living space, then the area will need to be properly zoned as commercial or residential. This is a matter for the local zoning department.
They will need to send a building inspector to your property to evaluate the safety of the shed as a living space or a workspace. Using a shed as a workspace or living space without abiding by the zoning laws of the area could land you with a bunch of fees and penalties. Always be honest with the building inspector about what the intended use of the shed is so that you can avoid any hiccups with the permit application process.
Sheds are usually stand alone buildings, but they can also be attached to a home, garage, or other structure. There may be local restrictions on whether or not the shed can be attached to another building.
An important aspect of building a new shed that should not be ignored or forgotten is the foundation. The foundation itself may be restricted by a set of local rules or regulations. Large sheds typically need a concrete base, but other types of foundations include gravel, wood, and concrete blocks. Gravel is good for draining water and moisture away from the shed.
Building Permits for Sheds Made Easy
The easiest way to make sure that you are abiding by all of the local rules and regulations is by leaving the process up to the professionals. If you are buying a pre-made shed or hiring a contracting company to build a custom shed from scratch, then the company who is installing the shed should be knowledgeable and experienced on how zoning laws work in the area.
Make sure that you inform the building company or shed dealer about what you intend to use the shed for. If you tell them it is for storage, but you plan on using it as a workspace, they may not know that they need to get additional permits.
Be open and honest about what purpose the shed is going to be used for so that the professionals can cover all the bases for you. Ideally, they will handle the paperwork and inspection process and you will not have to do anything. If they want you to get the permits yourself, they should at least guide you through the process if they are a reputable shed dealer or builder.
Building Permits for DIY Sheds
When you are building a shed yourself using metal or wood, you will have a lot of bases that you personally need to cover. To make the process easier on yourself, make sure to consult with local building inspectors before you go ahead with your building plan.
You might be able to find the local ordinances for building online or at a local government office, but to make sure that you are not missing anything, get in touch with a professional building inspector right away. Working with the same inspector from the planning stage to the final completion may help the entire construction go more smoothly.
Submitting an application for a permit can be a confusing process if you have not done it before. Hire a professional to submit your applications for you to make sure that you get approved.
Small sheds may or may not require a building permit. A premade shed from a reputable shed dealer will guide you on whether or not you need one to install the shed that they sell you. If you are building your own shed then you will want to work with a local building inspector to make sure that you tie up any loose ends with the legality of building the structure.
Large sheds will almost always require a building permit. If you are going to live or work in the shed then it will need to be appropriately zoned for such. Make sure you are following all of the local permit and zoning laws for shed construction to protect the safety of you and your neighbors, and to protect yourself from unwanted fees and fines.