How much does it cost to get a building permit?
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Building Permits Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
Building permits or construction permits are necessary documents you obtain from your city or town before starting work on your home. Building codes in most areas dictate that a permit must be obtained prior to new construction, alterations or additions to existing structures, changes in occupancy, electrical and plumbing work, demolition of an existing structure, or the installation of fire suppression systems. Every area has its own list of what types of permits are required and their costs.
The national average cost to get a permit is between $450 and $700. Most people pay around $550 for a house addition permit for a job of around 1,000 sq.ft. At the low end of the spectrum, you can pay $150 to get a permit for a remodeling project of fewer than 500 sq.ft. At the high end, you pay up to $2,000 for a permit for a new construction of a 2,500 sq.ft. home.
Cost to Get a Building Permit
|Building Permit Cost|
|National average cost||$550|
Building Permit Cost per Square Foot
In general, the building permit cost ranges between $0.15 and $0.85 per sq.ft. depending on the project. The exact cost varies depending on several factors, such as the local jurisdiction, the type of permit you need, the type of property you’re building, the fair market value of the project, or the location where you’re doing the renovation or construction. Aside from the permit cost itself, obtaining it comes with a few additional fees. You can expect to pay a technology fee, building permit lodgment fee, planning surcharge, financial recovery, state surcharge, permit issuance fee, processing fee, plan checks, plan maintenance, and state taxes.
Building Permit Price by Type
Depending on the type of permit you need to obtain, you can expect to spend $100 to $3,000, with most of the cost being the labor involved in the process. The building permit cost varies depending on your location, the different parts of the house that you’re building, the cost and scope of the project. Smaller cities have a lower permit cost than some bigger areas, so make sure to check your local regulations to see how much you can expect to pay for a building permit. Below are the most common types of permits and how much you can expect to pay for each.
|Permit Type||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|Demolition||$100 - $550|
|Shed Building||$100 - $1,000|
|Kitchen Remodel||$150 - $900|
|Bathroom||$150 - $1,000|
|Construction||$150 - $2,000|
|Basement||$200 - $1,500|
|Renovations||$300 - $800|
|Occupancy||$300 - $1,000|
|Garage Conversion||$300 - $1,500|
|Roofing||$400 - $1,000|
|Home Addition||$450 - $700|
|Owner-Builder||$500 - $2,500|
|House Building||$1,000 - $2,000|
Demolition permits cost between $100 and $550, with the exact cost depending on what you intend to demolish (a room, unit, or a whole construction). In most cases, the cost of the permit will be included in the quote given to you by the contractor, so you won’t have to get one on your own. Some cities have specific requirements and different types of demolition permits, so make sure to check in with your local authorities to confirm you have everything needed to start the project.
Shed Building Permit
If the shed is more than 100 sq.ft., you would need $100 to $1,000 for a shed permit cost. A shed is a separate building from your property that provides storage, workspace, and added visual appeal to the area. It varies in size, use, and style, so the cost of a building permit for a shed changes accordingly. If the shed is turned into a livable area, it would first have to be inspected and approved as a residential home.
Kitchen Remodel Permit
A kitchen remodel permit costs $150 to $900, with the exact cost varying depending on the overall project value. A permit is required for any demolition, structural, electrical, plumbing, or changing the layout or size of the kitchen. You won’t have to obtain a permit for projects below a certain cost or minimal jobs like painting, flooring, or installing counters, cabinets, and fixtures. Because this area is specific, make sure to consult your contractor to ensure you get the right permit for the project you want to undertake.
Doing a bathroom remodel requires a permit which typically costs $150 to $1,000. If you alter or add walls and flooring, some additional permits may be required, as well as site plans. Usually, bathroom permits are not required if you’re replacing fixtures or the project costs less than $1,000. If the home is in a historic neighborhood, additional fees may be incurred. If you’re adding a new bathroom, you would need to get a more expensive general building permit, typically included in the contractor quote for bathroom renovations.
General construction permits can cost between $150 and $2,000. Any type of project that involves removing or building interior walls, remodeling rooms, repairing ceilings, walls, or flooring, or pouring a concrete basement will require a permit. Remember that even if you’re renovating a fixer-upper, you still have to obtain a permit to do most of the renovations.
Plan around $200 to $1,500 for a permit for a basement remodel. Most cities and towns require a permit to remodel a basement as codes regulate what can be done in the basements. For example, a basement must have a minimum ceiling height of 7 feet. If your basement has a ceiling height lower than this, it may not pass code. Additional permits for plumbing, electrical, or heating and cooling installation may be required. If the space is turned into a livable area, the cost of the permit increases as it would have to be inspected first.
Permits for Renovations
If you intend to renovate a house, make sure to plan $300 to $800 of your budget for a permit. The rooms that get renovated most often are the kitchen, dining room, living room, and bathroom. Bigger remodeling projects like wall reframing, roof replacement, or subfloor replacement are more expensive. This is because the layout of the house changes, requiring multiple permits for demolition and construction.
To get permission to live in a building or increase its occupancy, you need to obtain a permit that usually costs between $300 and $1,000. The permit cost depends on the building size, construction type, and the occupancy classification (residential, commercial, industrial, educational, or high hazard). In most cases, the permit cost will be calculated based on the overall project value, typically ranging from 1% to 5%.
Garage Conversion Permit
If you turn the garage into a liveable area, expect the permit cost to be $300 to $1,500, depending on the size of the garage. Garage conversions are subject to local building codes and regulations and come with a range of costs depending on the final look you want to achieve. Minor cosmetic updates to garages don’t require a permit, although changes to its look, capacity, or renovations will be regulated and require a permit.
A roofing permit costs $400 to $1,000. Because roofing projects are a major task that makes a structural change to the home, you need a permit unless the job is minimal. Since roof installation and updates are complex, labor-intense, and time-consuming jobs, a permit is always required. In addition to this, a licensed contractor has to do the project. Having a permit through a licensed contractor ensures that the roof is built following strict quality and safety standards.
Permit Cost for Home Addition
The average cost of permits to build a house addition is $450 to $700. Home additions include adding new rooms or upgrading the current ones with a major addition. Depending on your location, a home addition can be anything from a sunroof in a room to patios, porches, and decks. Even enclosing the garage may be considered a home addition because it increases the heated space of the home and requires additional electrical installation.
An owner-builder permit usually costs $500 to $2,500 in most cases. This permit is needed if you plan to oversee the construction project in your house. A homeowner can pull an owner-builder permit and do all the electrical, plumbing, mechanical, or remodeling work independently. When this happens, an exemption from standard license requirements is granted. The homeowner takes over the full legal responsibility, financial liability, and insurance risks.
House Building Permit
The house permit cost ranges between $1,000 and $2,000. The cost of permits to build a house is one of the most expensive ones to obtain because it requires multiple permits for demolition and construction and permits to perform plumbing, electrical, and mechanical work. When you build a house, construction plans should be submitted to the building and construction department and done according to the approved plan.
Building Permits by State
Building permit fees vary significantly across different areas of the country. For instance, homeowners in Boston, MA, can apply for a short-form permit ($20 plus $10 for every $1,000 of the cost of the job) covering remodeling of an existing building when the use, exits, living space, and fire protection remain undisturbed. However, if you’re doing structural changes, repairs or updates, modifying the living area of the home, or increasing the occupancy, you would have to get a long-form permit ($50 plus $10 for every $1,000 of the cost of the job.
So, using the example of a 576 sq.ft. detached garage, with an average building cost of $52,830, the long-form permit would cost $578.30. On the other hand, if you do the same project in Frisco, TX, the permit cost would be $150 for the first 300 sq.ft. and an additional $0.50 for each sq.ft. afterwards, up to 1,999 sq.ft. Therefore, for a 576 square foot detached garage, the building permit would cost $288.
How to Get a Building Permit
In many cases, homeowners prefer to have their contractor or architect file the necessary paperwork to obtain a permit on their behalf. However, anyone may obtain a permit, providing they follow the correct protocol. The protocol usually requires you or the architect to visit your town or city hall to get a list of necessary permits required for the planned job. Then, you need to submit a set of plans for the proposed work and any necessary paperwork required by the town. This includes the total cost of the work, materials being used, size and scope of the project, electrical and plumbing layouts if applicable, and a proposed start and end date.
Once the building inspection fees and the other residential building permit fees have been calculated, you need to pay them before proceeding with the project. After you start the project, it must be completed by the time set out on the permit. If necessary, extensions can be obtained, usually at a rate of around $30 for each extension. After the work is completed, an inspection of the work takes place to ensure it meets proper building codes. In some areas, there is an additional fee for the inspection. If the structure passes the inspection, the permit is closed.
Permits Cost by Type
When you’re building or renovating a room or a house, you may have to spend an additional $50 to $1,000 for other types of permits. These permits are not directly related to the building and construction process but are necessary to be able to complete the project. They are also needed for smaller projects and renovation tasks where specialized work is involved. If you’re doing any outdoor addition or construction in your house, you would also need a permit. Below is a table with some of the most common additional permits required for building projects.
|Permit Type||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|Window||$50 - $200|
|Plumbing||$50 - $400|
|Electrical||$50 - $500|
|Gas||$60 - $350|
|Mechanical||$60 - $600|
|Fence||$70 - $400|
|Driveway||$70 - $400|
|HVAC||$80 - $1,000|
|Carport||$100 - $300|
|Patio||$100 - $400|
|Pergola||$100 - $450|
|Deck||$100 - $500|
|Water Heater||$100 - $1,000|
|Pool||$200 - $300|
The cost of a window permit is between $50 and $200 per window. Most cities won’t require a permit to replace or install windows, as long as the replacement doesn’t require structural changes to the wall, or the new window has the same size as the old one. Some cities and locations require a permit regardless of the type of window. Check with your town or city hall for more information.
The average cost of a plumbing permit ranges between $50 and $400. Like electrical and plumbing projects, the main factor determining the cost of the permit is the complexity of the project. Small projects like sewer caps and water or gas service are easiest to do and may not require a permit. Bigger projects like remodels and installations of hot water tanks require a building permit or a licensed contractor. Licensed plumbers can do work in some cities without pulling a permit.
Electrician permits cost from $50 to $500. The exact cost of the permit depends on the complexity of your project, including the number of circuits, amps, sockets, and outlets installed. These items cost very little individually, but when you’re changing the whole electric installation, the price stacks up. Small electrical repairs don’t require a permit at all. Some cities won’t require an electrical permit on projects that cost less than $100. However, bigger projects that require wiring installation or rewiring to a new location will require a permit.
Expect to spend $60 to $350 for a gas permit. Replacing a gas dryer, furnace, stove, or water heater will cost less, while a permit for replacing gas appliances in restaurants will be at the higher end of the scale. You need a permit to install a new gas line. Speak to your town or city hall for more information.
The cost of a mechanical permit ranges from $60 to $600. Most states require a mechanical permit for any installation, maintenance, and alteration of mechanical systems that are permanently installed in the house or are used to control the environmental conditions and processes in a building. This may include the HVAC installations, ductwork, boiler, pressure vessels, water systems, appliances, exhaust systems, and piping lines.
Fence permits cost $70 to $400. Installing a fence requires estimates, obtaining permits, planning, preparing, post-setting, and installing the railings and boards. Aside from the fence building permit cost, you will probably need a land survey to establish the property lines where the fence can be installed. If the fence is lower, the permit will cost less. However, if you’re installing a fence that is 6’ or higher, you need to obtain a permit that usually has a higher cost.
Installing a new driveway requires a permit that runs around $70 to $400. A permit is usually required for new driveways to ensure it meets all municipality requirements, but not for repairs and updates. If there is already a paved apron connecting the house to the public street, some municipalities may waive the permit fee. Check with your town or city hall to see if this exemption applies to you.
If you want to add, change, remove, or install a new HVAC system, expect to spend between $80 and $1,000 for a permit. The law requires an HVAC permit to ensure that the home is up to the heating and cooling codes. This law varies from state to state, so make sure to check your local regulations. Once the project is completed, the system must be inspected, which is included in the cost of the permit.
If your carport is more than 200 sq.ft. in size, you likely need a permit which usually costs $100 to $300. The cost of the permit is based on the valued price of the structure. Temporary or portable carports don’t usually require permits, but permanent structures do. In some areas, you may need a permit regardless of the carport size. Always check with your town or city hall for the correct information before starting your project.
The average cost of a patio permit is $100 to $400, depending on the size and whether it will be an open or a covered patio. Patios can be installed in a home and used as a bistro area, entertainment area, or outdoor living room. Permits are not always required if you want to install a patio, although they are a must if you dig or excavate on the land because it involves changing the look of the area.
The cost of a pergola permit ranges between $100 and $450, depending on your location. Pergolas are often found on decks, patios, and other areas near an entrance to a home or building to provide shade. Sometimes, you won’t need a permit to build a pergola. However, as it’s often seen as an extension of an existing house or an addition, you may be required to obtain a permit to build it.
The deck building permit cost is $100 to $500 in most states. It’s a fast and easy permit to get since the contractor or local building department can provide you with it. You’re not required to get a permit for updates or repairs to existing decks because no major building components are being changed. However, in most cases, you would have to hire a land surveyor for them to assess how far the deck can extend.
Water Heater Permit
If you want to installa a new water heater, expect to spend about $100 to $1,000 for a permit before starting the project. Most areas require a permit if you’re changing the system type of the water heater. The exact cost of the permit depends on the type of water heater you want to add and the amount of work needed to install it. Consult your plumber and contractor to ensure you have the right type of permit for the work you want to do.
If you want to build a pool, expect to pay $200 to $300 for a permit. The exact swimming pool permit costs depend on the location and the type of pool you intend to build. All in-ground pools and spas require a permit. Any above-ground pool greater than 5,000 gallons would also require a permit. Before being allowed to use it, your pool must be inspected.
Hiring a permit service helps you save time when you need to obtain multiple permits or you’re starting a large job. Permit service companies file the permit on your behalf. The benefits of this include saved time. The service will often send you the permit number the same day. You can file it with them over the internet and save on costs. Because the permit service knows exactly what permits you require, you won’t have to worry about filing for additional permits that may not be necessary for your job, which can save you money.
In some cities or towns, you can take out a permit online without having to pay any additional fee aside from the permit cost. In other areas, a separate company deals with the permit process for you at an additional fee of around $60 per hour. Only one hour is usually sufficient to get the work done. In some cases, however, if you are unsure of what permits are required for your job, the permit service office will search for this information for you, helping you get all the necessary paperwork. This may take three to four hours at a total cost of $180 to $240.
Contractors, architects, and building firms usually file the permit for you. Because they understand what permits are necessary, they save you time and expedite the process. Occasionally, there is no extra cost for this. However, most architects and other professionals use a permit service to get the job done and pass on the fee to you, which may run as high as 40% to 45% of the building budget.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Building Permit?
Once you file your application, expect to obtain a permit within three to ten days for a regular house project, although the exact time depends mostly on the type of project. Small, easy projects with one permit might take one to two days to review and issue a permit. Medium projects are typically reviewed within one to two weeks. On the other hand, complex buildings like hospitals, banks, or similar institutions may take longer to get a permit, usually up to 30 days.
Are Building Permits Really Necessary?
In most areas, permits are required for work to ensure that the building or structure meets proper code. If no permit is filed and the work is reported to the town or city, a fine may be levied at the owner, the contractor, or both. This fine may be more than $500, depending on the location and the scope of the work.
Even if the work is not reported to the town or city hall, it can be difficult to sell a property if work has been done with no permit or inspection attached. Many banks won’t approve a mortgage, and insurance companies won’t insure a home or mortgage when the property doesn’t have the proper paperwork. In this case, additional fees and penalties will be necessary to obtain the needed inspections to sell the home. This can cost $1,000 or more depending on the number of inspections required.
Getting a Building Permit After the Fact
A permit is required to ensure that the building meets the minimum required standards of safety and construction practices. If you have performed construction, renovation, or additions in your home without a permit, it’s still possible to obtain one after the fact. This is also known as a retroactive permit. When this happens, the permit department assigns an inspector to do an in-depth inspection of your house. They check the whole property, including wiring, plumbing, deck footers, insulation, and framing, to confirm the correct value of the projects performed. The town may require a blueprint of the renovation or addition along with a current survey. Depending on your jurisdiction, you may also be charged a penalty fee for after the fact addition. Assessment fees, along with other fees, may also be part of the charge.
Building Permit vs Planning Permit
In some areas, you may be required to obtain a planning permit in addition to a building permit, which usually costs $20 to $90. Planning permits give you permission for certain land use and development and must be obtained before submitting plans for the use of that land. On the other hand, a building permit costs $450 to $600. It’s required after obtaining the planning permit and gives you the permission necessary to carry out the planned construction. Planning permits are not necessary for additions or changes to existing structures or homes, only new structures on certain areas of land.
|Type of Permit||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|Planning Permit||$20 - $90|
|Building Permit||$450 - $600|
Zoning Permit vs Building Permit
A zoning permit costs $100 to $250, compared to the cost of a building permit that ranges between $450 and $600. Getting a zoning permit is the first step in the development process, just after applying and getting a building permit. The zoning permit only enforces the local regulation zoning code and determines how the project fits into a community (a zoning district). A building permit is oriented towards ensuring that a property is built following appropriate standards and is safe for use. The zoning permit determines the adequacy of the house project within the local community to ensure that it’s laid out in the most convenient and efficient manner.
|Type of Permit||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|Zoning Permit||$100 - $250|
|Building Permit||$450 - $600|
Development Permit vs Building Permit
Development permits cost from $50 to $400. Building permits cost $450 to $600. Development permits are required for new projects, changes in use, or additions to existing structures. It’s written permission that authorizes a person to perform the development project in accordance with conditions specified in the permit. The development permit is in accordance with the zoning and planning permit. While building permits are similar, they ensure that the construction is done following the safety standards and local codes. Development permits ensure that the construction is done according to a specific development plan.
|Type of Permit||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|Development Permit||$50 - $400|
|Building Permit||$450 - $600|
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Building permit application fee. In many cities, you will be charged a Plan Check Fee or Plan Review Fee. This fee pays for the labor required to review your submitted plans. Furthermore, various fees, taxes, and surcharges will be paid for every project, varying from city to city.
- Natural disasters. By law, a natural disaster does not change the need for a building permit before you can begin repairs on your home. In some areas, damage due to flooding may require additional permits if your town assesses the damage on a widespread scale. To find out more, you will need to contact your town or city following a disaster or await instructions from your town before rebuilding.
- Additional projects. A building permit, in some areas, does not include certain jobs like electrical, fire protection, or mechanical. After securing a building permit, a permit application with plans for these specialties may be required. You can find specifics of these requirements on your city’s website.
- Type of property. For the most part, the process is the same for pulling permits in a particular city, whether the property is commercial or residential. However, commercial properties often have a higher percentage of valuation cost for permits. They may also fall under the purview of county and state authorities, with additional costly inspection charges required on top of the permit cost.
- Building permits fees. A fee may not be needed if the project doesn’t alter the look of the land or doesn’t involve digging, excavation, or significant work performed.
- What happens if I don’t have a building permit?
If a building inspector from the city visits and you get caught without a permit, you will be subjected to fines. The fines range from double permit fees to a fine per day or even having a lien put on your home.
- How much does a building permit cost?
The cost of a building permit depends on several factors, including location, size, and scope of the project. While we can safely offer an average permit cost of $450 to $700, it is necessary to check your city's website and talk to an experienced contractor before budgeting your permit costs.
- How much do permits expediters charge?
Some cities, depending on the job, might require a single form and a 15-minute visit to the town offices. Others expect more. Regardless, you can expect to pay a permit expediter an average of $60 per hour plus miscellaneous fees (admin, research, travel). For new home construction, an expediter will charge $2,000 or more. For remodeling jobs, they charge a minimum of $300.
- What kind of home improvement requires permits?
Remodeling of almost any kind requires a building permit in most areas. Any time a project expands the living area, extends the roofline, requires significant structural change, such as the demo of a load-bearing wall, or adds to the exterior of the existing structure (for instance, decks and fences), you will need a permit. A building permit will be needed when the project involves changing the sewer, plumbing, electrical installations, and fire protection.
- How do building permits work?
In most cases, you need to fill out a form and submit it with a set of plans, including drawings, costs, materials, dimensions, and specs for plumbing and electrical. You will also need to specify a start and end date. If the work is not ready for inspection by that end date, there will be an added cost for an extension of the permit.