What can I do without getting a Building Permit?

Application or notice to the code official is not required for ordinary repairs to structures. Ordinary repairs are defined as work which is associated with the normal maintenance of a property and which effects only the surface or finish characteristic of a structure.  Always check with the Department of Building, Zoning, and Licensing Services to make sure, but examples of the types of work where you don't need a permit are:

Building:

  1. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge.
  2. Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.
  3. Walkways
  4. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
  5. Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches deep.
  6. Swings and other playground equipment.
  7. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.

Electrical:

  1. Listed cord-and-plug connected temporary decorative lighting.
  2. Reinstallation of attachment plug receptacles but not the outlets therefore.
  3. Replacement of branch circuit overcurrent devices of the required capacity in the same location.
  4. Electrical wiring, devices, appliances, apparatus or equipment operating at less than 25 volts and not capable of supplying more than 50 watts of energy.
  5. Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles. 

Gas:

  1. Portable: heating, cooking or clothes drying appliances.
  2. Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.
  3. Portable-fuel-cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.

Mechanical:

  1. Portable heating appliances.
  2. Portable ventilation appliances.
  3. Portable cooling units.
  4. Steam, hot- or chilled-water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code.
  5. Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.
  6. Portable evaporative coolers.
  7. Self-contained refrigeration systems containing 10 pounds or less of refrigerant or that are actuated by motors of 1 horsepower or less.
  8. Portable-fuel-cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.

Plumbing:

  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 reinstallation of water closets, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.

In general, for a work element to be considered a repair or replacement, the item which is being repaired must already exist.  The above items are intended to represent individual replacement or repair work.  When one or more of the above items are included in general renovations to structures, then all such items will be included in the construction cost.

Ordinary repairs do not include the cutting, removing or altering of any structural beam, joist, rafter or bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or requirements. Ordinary repairs also do not include additions to, alterations of, replacement or relocation of any fire protection system, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical equipment or other work affecting public health or general safety.