Do I Need A Building Permit For A Shed?

If you are like many people, chances are you live in a home with a small garage – or perhaps no garage at all! In which case, you will probably need to buy or build a shed to keep your automotive, garden, and woodworking tools. Perhaps you are wondering if a permit is necessary for a shed? Well, I have the answer for you below, unfortunately, it is not simply a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response:

It depends on where you live and your area’s zoning regulations. Different cities have different building codes. The size of the shed, where it is located on your property, and what you intend to use it for will often determine if you require a permit or not. Therefore, it is best to research your city’s government website or call your local government office for information on building a shed legally.

Now that you know a building permit may or may not be required for a shed, depending on where you live and the size of the structure, let us explore this topic further and in more detail below. We will discuss (among other things) what happens if you build a shed without a permit, what size of shed requires a permit, and what the 3 main reasons are for getting a permit, regardless of shed size.

So, if you are ready to learn more about sheds and permits, then please read onward…

* This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

What Happens if You Build a Shed Without a Permit?

When it comes to home building or improvement projects, permits are often required.

If you build a shed without a permit and it does not comply with the zoning regulations in your area, you could be fined or instructed to take the shed down.

As well, if the shed is set too close to the property line, then you will likely have to take it down and start all over again.

To avoid the hassle, it is best to inquire online or in-person with your local government office regarding residential accessory building requirements.

Each city has its own rules and regulations when it comes to the size and location of sheds or storage units on residential property. Taking the time to some permit research in advance is recommended.

What Size Shed Can I Build Without a Permit?

If you intend to build a shed that is less than 10 square meters in size, then you do not need a permit.

A storage unit that is over 10 square meters large and is not attached to any other structure will require a permit.

Other stipulations often include being only 1 storey (approximately 3 or 4 meters) high with no raised platforms and not covering an area greater than half of that surrounding the house.

Instances whereby a permit may be required, even if the shed complies with code sizing regulations include if you want to wire it for electricity if you plan to use it to conduct business or as a possible living space, or if you intend to attach it directly to your home.

If you reside in an HOA-regulated home, contact your local homeowner’s associations for any additional bylaws regarding outdoor buildings.

What are the 3 Reasons Why You Get a Permit for Your Shed?

Three good reasons for applying for a shed permit include ensuring the land around it will not sink!

The town/city building inspector will come out and observe both the ground the shed is situated on as well the structure itself.

Should there be any signs that the roof could possibly cave in or blow away when hit with strong winds, he/she will inform of the problem and advise you on the best course of action.

Another reason is to ensure the proposed building site is not violating any zoning restrictions.

You do not want your shed to straddle your neighbor’s property line, encroach on a wetland reserve, or sit directly atop a septic system.

If you live in a historical preservation district, you may not know that it is often illegal to change or add anything outside of your home without permission.

The third reason is that if you build a shed on your property without a permit and it is deemed ‘unfit’, then you must either modify or move it immediately.

Otherwise, you could be fined and forced to take it down completely. This would likely be far more costly than the permit fee itself, not to mention more laboring and frustrating.

How Close to My Property Line Can I Build a Shed?

Typically, you cannot build a shed within 10 feet (or 3 meters) of the rear property line and/or 15 feet (or 4.5 meters) from the side property line.

There must be sufficient space between your storage unit and your neighbor’s yard. That is why it is best to research building and zoning codes beforehand as it will save you both time and money in the long run.

If you encroach on your neighbor’s estate and he/she contacts the local government office, you could be slapped with a monetary fine.

The best-case scenario would be a request to either take down or move the structure and a verbal warning cautioning you against doing home building projects without a permit in the future.

How Much is a Building Permit for a Shed?

The cost to obtain a building permit for a shed depends on where you live. In most cases, permit fees are paid upfront at the time of application. Minimum fees often range from $50 to $100 (but can cost upwards of $2,000 to $3,000) and are calculated based on the work you propose to do.

The size of the unit, where it is located, and what you intend to use it all factor into the final price.

In some cities/towns, the permit fee is based on building costs, and a flat rate is charged depending on the type of construction.

What is Required for a Building Permit Application?

When applying for a building permit, you must include all relevant contact information such as your full name, address, and telephone number.

You will also need to include a site plan and where you intend to build the shed.

As well, you will need to know the square footage of the storage unit and its estimated value.

You may also be required to pay a service or processing fee upfront.

Do Shed Kits Require Permits?

Regardless of whether you use a shed kit or build the storage unit yourself, a permit may be required and it is your responsibility as a homeowner to inquire and obtain one in advance, if necessary.

Investing in a shed kit can make the job easier, especially if you have little to no woodworking skills.

Chances are, choosing from Amazon a smaller prefabricated unit such as the 4X6 Keter Factor Resin Shed (Affiliate link) will not require a permit.

Resin or plastic sheds are a great choice in that they resist outdoors elements such as bugs, wind, rain, and sun better than wood or metal units.

Conclusion

To conclude, getting a permit for a shed depends upon where you live and your area’s zoning codes.

Different towns and cities have different building bylaws, which is why you should always consult your local government office in advance and obtain information in advance on what is required to build a shed legally on your property.

The size of the storage unit, where it is situated, and what you intend to use it for are often the determining factors on whether a building permit is required or not.

As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to get any necessary information to avoid the potential consequences – including a fine and/or having to tear down the structure – should it not comply with local building regulations.

Hopefully, this article has been of help to you. Thanks for reading and good luck!

Cheers, tools owners!

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Hi there! My name is Jack and I write for ToolsOwner. I have a passion for everything related to tools and DIY projects around the house. You often find me in my workshop working on new projects.