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The purpose of a building permit is to ensure the building project meets minimum construction, safety, fire and zoning requirements established by the City of Plano and required by the Adopted Building Codes (I-Codes) and International Fire Code. Building permits are reviewed by City staff for compliance with zoning and city code requirements and inspected by the City’s building inspectors for compliance with the Adopted Building Codes.
A building permit gives an applicant legal permission to “start construction of a building project in accordance with the approved drawings and specifications.”
Homes are a large investment. If a construction project does not comply with the codes adopted by the City, the value of a person’s investment could be reduced. Property insurers may not cover work done without proper permits and inspections. If a person sells their home or building, the potential buyer may examine City records to make sure the proper permits and inspections were obtained.
To find out if you need a building permit, email firstname.lastname@example.org, read this information or call 972-941-7140 before beginning construction.
The following projects typically require building and/or zoning permits: (1) re-roofing and re-siding; (2)building a deck or porch; (3) installing a fireplace, chimney or fire pit; (4) modifying load bearing walls; (5) adding a garage or room addition; (6) replacing a window involving a change in size of 25% or more; (7) doing electrical work; (8) installing plumbing; (9) changing or installing heating or air conditioning; (10) installing a water softener or water heater; (11) installing a swimming pool; (12) building a retaining wall at or above four feet in height; (13) building a shed or garage larger than 120 square feet; (14) building a canopy; (15) constructing a fence; and (16) replacing or constructing a driveway; irrigation systems; or sidewalk.
Building permits are not required for the following projects: (1) replacing cabinets in a kitchen or elsewhere, (2) installing carpet or other floor coverings, (3) installing wallpaper or paneling on finished surfaces, (4) redecorating without structural changes and (5) simple landscaping projects.
The City of Plano Fee Schedule outlines the building permit costs for projects.
The City of Plano relies upon the integrity of contractors and the honesty of Plano citizens to ensure building permits are being used when they are required. The City also relies on staff assistance from all departments and citizen comments to identify construction projects that have begun without proper building permits.
Once a building permit application is approved, the applicant is given a “permit." This “permit” is to be displayed at the construction site. The absence of a “permit” is a likely indication that the construction project has not been approved or reviewed by the City of Plano.
The contractor you hire to complete your project is responsible for compliance with the City adopted Codes. They should be licensed by the state (when required) to perform the work. If there is ever a question as to whether or not some aspect of a construction project complies with the code, the contractor is the responsible party.
If you are performing the work yourself, then you are responsible for building code compliance.
Some small home improvement projects or miscellaneous simple permits (including re-roofing, plumbing repairs, and air-conditioning replacement) are reviewed by Building Inspections permit technician staff and turnaround is expedited as soon as possible. Larger projects (including buildings and new construction) require a turnaround time not to exceed 10 working days for comments to be delivered to an applicant.
Building permits may expire if the work authorized by the permit has not begun within 180 days of issuance.
A setback is a zoning term for the distance required from nearest point of wall of structure to a property line. For example in Plano’s SF-7 and SF-9 zoning districts, the front setback (distance from the property line to the front of the structure) is a minimum of 30 feet. The City does not allow any structure to be built in the setback (driveways and similar items are excluded). A utility easement is a grant by the property owner of the use of a designated portion of land by the public, individuals, groups or corporations for specific purposes. All newer subdivision developments have utility easements clearly delineated on the plat maps. The intent of easements is to allow utility companies sufficient room to build and service their infrastructure (phone lines, cable, natural gas, water, sewer and electricity). The City does not allow any permanent structure, including garages, decks, pools and sheds, to be built on top of any easements.
Prefabricated metal sheds and carports are considered accessory buildings. The City of Plano requires that all accessory buildings, whether permanent or temporary, shall (1) be securely affixed to the ground in a manner that will resist movement from storms or vandalism; (2) meet the setback requirements. The City of Plano does not require a building permit for an accessory building that is 120 square feet or less. In instances where the building does not need a permit, the building still needs to meet the setback requirements of the City of Plano Zoning Ordinance. For accessory buildings of more than 120 square feet, a building permit is required. The City’s building inspectors will inspect the structure to ensure it is securely anchored and installed in accordance with manufacturer specifications.
When looking for a contractor, find out how long the contractor has been in business in the area and check references to make sure they are valid by contacting those for whom the contractor has performed construction work. Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been registered against the company. Check to be sure the contractor is registered with the City of Plano and has insurance coverage. The City of Plano cannot recommend contractors.
Most contractors are required to be licensed (electrical, mechanical and plumbing contractors); there are some exceptions. General contractors do not have any licenses, but a property owner should ask their contractor if they are registered with the City of Plano before beginning. If a contractor asks you to apply for the building permit, chances are that they may not be registered because the City verifies applicable contractor licensing with the State for all building permit applications. Resident homeowners do not have to be licensed to perform work on their own home. If you have questions about contractor registration, contact the City of Plano Building Inspections Department at (972) 941-7140.
No, do not take out a building permit for any contractor. When the contractor signs the permit, the contractor is agreeing to do the work according to code. If you sign for the permit, you are liable for correcting the contractor's work if it should fall short of the City adopted code standards. Before your project begins, insist on seeing the permit. During the course of your project, monitor your contractor’s inspection records. This will protect you from being responsible for code violations and ensure project completion.
No, the City does not provide homeowners this type of inspection service. Independent inspectors can be hired to do these types of troubleshooting inspections.
If you are planning to do any digging, you must call 811 before you dig to arrange for utility companies to mark buried utility lines in your yard.