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Permits, Approvals and Inspections
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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. If it is a commercial building, yes; if it is a residence, no. However, plumbing and electrical permits are always required. The licensed plumber and electrician may apply for their respective permit before the work is initiated. The property owner or designee may apply for the required building permit in person by coming to:

County Office Building
111 West Chesapeake Avenue, Room 100
Towson, Maryland 21204

For additional information and permit fees, contact Permit Processing at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday from 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?

A.
If the structure exceeds 120 square feet, a building permit is required.
If it is 120 square feet or less, a permit is not required unless:

  • It will be used for livestock or human occupancy
  • It is located in a designated "Chesapeake Bay Critical Area"
  • It is located in a 100-year floodplain
  • It is located in a "Baltimore County Historic District"

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 plot plans are required with the application.

If the structure is over 1,000 square feet, five plot 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 Permit Processing at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday from 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.
Unless the property is in or part of a historical district, doors may be replaced without a building permit, provided there is no structural work, and the location or size of the door or window does not change. For additional information, contact Permit Processing at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday from 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 Permit Processing at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Q. How long is my permit valid and can it be extended?

A. Permits are valid for one year with an option to be extended for one additional year at the time the application is filed. If the permit has expired, you will need to file for a new permit. If your permit has not expired or just recently expired, you may request an extension by contacting Building Inspections at 410-887-3953.

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

A. Use Inspection Connection to schedule, reschedule, or cancel building, plumbing, or electrical inspections, available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Call Permit Processing at 410-887-3900 to check on the status of your permit.

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

A. Yes, any additions to the house require a permit. For additional information, contact Permit Processing at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday from 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.  A building permit is required for structural work or when a new bedroom or kitchen are created. Permits are required for siding or roof repair. However, if your house is in or part of a Baltimore County Historical District or is on Baltimore County's Landmarks List, 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 the house, fence or accessory structure. All electrical or plumbing work requires a permit and must be obtained by a licensed electrician and plumber.

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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. Enclosing a porch or deck is considered an addition because it extends the "indoor" area of the house and is subject to the same setback limitations as the house itself. For additional information and permit fees, contact Permit Processing at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Q. Do I need a permit to put a fence on my property?

A.
All fences over 42 inches high require a permit. Fences 42 inches or less in height do not require a permit unless located in a proposed or designated Baltimore County Historic District or on the Baltimore County Landmarks List.

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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 Permit Processing at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Q. How do I arrange for a percolation test?

A.
First, a percolation application must be filled out and submitted to Permits, Approvals and Inspections 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 Permit Processing at 410-887-3900, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Revised June 13, 2014

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