FAQ

Do I need a permit for…

Deck

Yes, for assistance on code compliance with decks please view our Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide.

Wall framing

Yes, any alteration to the frame of a structure requires a building permit.

Electrical work

Electrical work is permitted through Columbia Power and Water

Plumbing

Yes, unless exempt as follows:
1. The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drainpipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, such work shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in this code.
2. The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures, and the removal and re-installation of water closets, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.

Retaining wall

Yes, height of the wall (from toe of the slope to the top of wall) is over 4 feet.

Swimming Pool

Yes, if it is deeper than 24 inches.

Fence

No, fences over 6 feet are prohibited by the Zoning Ordinance, so all compliant fences will be exempt from permitting requirements.

Demolition

If a permit would have been required to build the structure, then a permit will be required for demolition of the structure.

Septic and Sewer

Septic and Sewer permits are handled by the Wastewater Department.

How much does permit cost

Please see our Fee Schedule.

How long does it take to get a permit

  • 3-5 days for the processing of a residential permit
  • 10-14 days for the processing of a commercial permit

How long is it good for

The permit is valid for the extents of the work, unless work is ceased for 180 days.

Who can get a permit

Contractors must be licensed in their particular specialty (for example, electrical, gas or plumbing) to obtain a permit. Homeowners do not need a license to obtain a permit. However, there may be State permitting requirements depending on the nature, extent, and overall cost of the work proposed.

What is a certificate of occupancy

It is a document stating that all inspections were made and the structure is ready to be occupied.

Exemptions

  • One story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses. Provided the floor area is not greater than 120 square feet (11 m2)
  • Fences not over 7 feet (2134 mm) high.
  • Oil derricks
  • Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet (1219 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II, or IIIA liquids.
  • Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity is not greater than 5,000 gallons (18,925 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width is not greater than 2:1.
  • Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route.
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, and similar finish work.
  • Temporary motion picture, television, and theater stage sets and scenery.
  • Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy that are less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep, are not greater than 5,000 gallons (18.925 L) and are installed entirely above ground. 
  • Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems.
  • Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one- and two-family dwellings
  • Window awnings in Group R-3 U occupancies, supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
  • Non-fixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters, and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches (1753 mm) in height.