Do I Need A Permit to Build a Shed?


This question is one we hear frequently.

“Shed” can define many structures one may build in a residential yard such as, garages, carports, workshops, greenhouses, playhouses, gazebos, and pergolas.

To get your answer you must ask yourself some additional questions.

Will your shed:

  • Be over 200 square feet in size?
  •  Have plumbing?
  • Be over 15’ in height?
  • Have two stories?
  • Attached to your home?
  • In a floodplain?
  • Have electricity?

If the answer to any of these questions is, “Yes”, than you will need some form of permitting.

If the only “yes” was in regard to electricity you can build your shed without a building permit but you will need to acquire a “stand-­‐alone” (not attached to a building permit) electrical permit. A licensed and registered electrician must complete electrical work requiring changes to your main electrical meter.

For any other “yes” answers, a building permit will be required.

When designing your shed you will also need to be aware of any setbacks, easements, impervious coverage, and trees on your property.

A Setback is the area measured from your lot line into your property to your build line. Generally the build line will be 5’ from your side lot line, 10’ from your rear yard line and 25’ from your front/street lot line. If your shed is more than 15’ in height than you will want to place it 10’ from your side yard line as well.

An Easement is an area within your property on which a government, utility company or neighbor has the right to build or change. Any shed you construct in an easement could lead to fines or forced demolition.

Impervious Coverage is the total amount of area on your lot that is covered by roofs, concrete, decks or anything that does not permit rainwater to flow freely into the ground.

Trees of a certain size may be protected and can determine where on your lot you will be allowed to place your shed. If you’re planning to have a pre-­fabricated shed installed the same questions should be asked and answered. Any “yes” answer, get a permit.

It should be noted that a shed is not a “dwelling unit”. A shed is a building used primarily for storage. Nobody should be living in a shed, playhouse, etc… unless that
body is a chicken.