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Permits, Approvals and Inspections
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Building Permit Processing

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I need a building permit to add an additional bathroom? How can I obtain a building permit?

A. Yes, if it is a commercial building; no, if it is a residence. However, plumbing and electrical permits are always required. The property owner may apply for the required building permit in person by coming to Room 100, County Office Building, 111 West Chesapeake Avenue, Towson, Maryland 21204. The licensed plumber and licensed electrician must apply for their respective permits before the work is initiated. For additional information and permit fees, contact the Building Permit Processing Bureau at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Q. Is a building permit required for a small storage shed in my back yard, and do I need a permit for a permit for an addition to an existing shed?

A.

  • If the structure exceeds 120 square feet, a building permit is required.
  • A building permit is required if the addition to the existing shed increases the size of the shed to over 120 square feet.
  • If it is 120 square feet or less, a permit is not required, unless:
    • it will be used for livestock or human occupancy. - permit required 
    • it is located in a designated "Chesapeake Bay Critical Area" - permit required
    • it is located in a 100 year floodplain - permit required
    • it is located in a "Baltimore County Historic District" - permit required.
  • The accessory structure (storage shed) must be in the rear yard, unless a zoning variance is obtained.
  • If the structure is over 120 square feet, but less than 1,000 square feet, four plat plans are required with the application.
  • If the structure is over 1,000 square feet, five plat plans and two construction plans are required with the application.
  • Even if the structure is less than 120 square feet and requires no building permit, it must still meet zoning and environmental protection requirements.
  • For additional information, contact the Building Permit Processing Bureau at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Q. Do I need a building permit to replace my windows and doors?

A.
Windows and doors may be replaced without a building permit, provided no structural changes to the frame are required, with the exception of historical areas. For additional information, contact the Building Permit Processing Bureau at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Q. How long does it take to get a building permit after the application is filed?

A.
The processing time required before approval and issuance varies for different types of construction projects. Some permits for small projects may be issued the same day. Larger and more detailed construction projects will require review of construction plans and other related issues by one or more different county agencies. For additional information, contact the Building Permit Processing Bureau at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Use Inspection Connection to check the status of a permit 24 hours, seven days a week.

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Q. How can I schedule an inspection and/or check on a permit?

A. Use Inspection Connection to inquire about permit(s), schedule, reschedule, and/or cancel building, plumbing, or electrical inspections, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Q. Do I need a building permit for a small addition to a house?

A. Yes. For additional information, contact the Building Permit Processing Bureau at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Q. When do I need a permit for alterations to a house?

A.  All electrical or plumbing work requires a permit, but a building permit is only required under certain conditions. If your house is on a historic list, or is located in a historic district, a building permit is required for any work on the exterior, or any work that affects the exterior appearance, including repair or removal of any part of a house, fence or accessory structure. For all other houses, a building permit is only required for structural work, or when a new bedroom is created. Permits are not required for siding or roofing of non-historic structures. For additional information and permit fees, contact the Building Permit Processing Bureau at 410-887-3900.

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Q. Do I need a permit to enclose a porch?

A. If you are screening in an existing covered porch or covered deck, a permit is not required, with the exception of historical areas. If you are making a weatherproof enclosure of an existing porch or deck, a permit is required. Because it extends the "indoor" area of the house, enclosing a porch or a deck is considered an addition and is subject to the same setback limitations as the house itself. For additional information and permit fees, contact the Building Permit Processing Bureau at 410-887-3900.

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Q. When is it necessary to have a grading permit?

A.
If the proposed grading disturbs over 5,000 square feet of surface area or over 100 cubic yards of fill material is utilized, a permit is required. For additional information and permit fees, contact the Building Permit Processing Bureau at 410-887-3900.

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Q. How do I arrange for a percolation test?

A.
First, a perc application must be filled out and submitted to Permits, Approvals and Inspections (PAI) along with a $60 fee and four copies of a map (scaled 1:100) of the property showing property lines, topography and nearby streams. Once the application has been reviewed and approved by the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS), the property owner needs to hire the services of a backhoe operator who will then schedule an appointment to perform the tests with a EPS sanitarian. You may review and\or print the percolation checklist (PDF) online. For additional information and permit fees, contact the Building Permit Processing Bureau at 410-887-3900.

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Frequently Asked Questions Overview

Revised December 14, 2012

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