What types of projects require permits? What doesn't require a permit?

Most construction activity beyond the application of finishes (paint, flooring, window coverings) requires a permit (plan approval). Apply for building permits on the City's CitizenServe platform.

Construction Activity Not Requiring a Permit

The below list specifically details what type of construction work is exempt from a permit.  Please note that certain exterior modifications, additions, and landscape structures require Planning Department approval, even if the work is exempt from Building Department approval and permit requirements. 


  • One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet ( 11.15 m2) and playground structures.  However, Planning Department approval is still required.
  • Retaining walls which are not over four feet (1219 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge.  However, Planning Department approval is required.
  • Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed five thousand gallons (18 927 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed two to one. However, Planning Department approval is required. 
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work where plumbing or electrical fixtures are not being replaced. Replacing cabinets or counters AND installing plumbing or electrical fixtures in the same location WILL require an approval (permit). 
  • Swings and other playground equipment accessory to a one, two, or three-family dwelling. Zoning location regulations apply. Check with Planning Department.
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support. However, Planning Department approval is required.
  • Unattached decks not exceeding 200 square feet ( 18.58 m2) in area, that are not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling, and do not serve the exit door required " by section 311.2 of the Residential Code of Ohio. However, Planning Department approval is still be required.
  • Flat at grade patios. Planning Department approval only required if patio is attached to a driveway.
  • Above-ground storage tanks as defined in rule 4101:8-2-01 of the Administrative Code and the associated tank foundations. However, Planning Department Approval is required.
  • Battery operated smoke or carbon monoxide alarms installed in existing buildings where no construction is taking place.


  • Listed cord-and-plug connected temporary decorative lighting.
  • Re-installation of attachment plug receptacles but not the outlets thereof.
  • Replacement of branch circuit overcurrent devices of the required capacity and type in the same location.
  • Electrical wiring, devices, appliances, apparatus, or equipment operating at less than 25 volts and not capable of supplying more than 50 watts of energy.
  • Repairs and Maintenance: Approval shall not be required for minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.
  • Electrical wiring equipment not connected to building services equipment in and adjacent to natural or artificially made bodies of water as defined in Article 682 of the NFPA 70 as referenced in Chapter 44.


  • Portable heating, cooking, or clothes drying appliances.
  • Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.
  • Portable fuel cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.
  • Gas distribution piping owned and maintained by public or municipal utilities and located upstream of the point of delivery.


  • Portable heating appliances.
  • Portable ventilation equipment.
  • Portable cooling units.
  • Steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code.
  • Replacement of any part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.
  • Portable evaporative cooler.
  • Self-contained refrigeration systems containing 10 pounds ( 4.54 kg) or less of refrigerant or that are actuated by motors of one horsepower (746 W) or less.
  • Portable fuel cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.
  • Heating and cooling distribution piping owned and maintained by public or municipal utilities.


  • The repair of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe; provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drain-pipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, such work shall be considered as new work and an approval shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in this code.
  • The clearance of stoppages or the repair of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures, and the removal and re-installation of water closets, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement of more than one fixture or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.

Emergency Repairs

Where equipment replacements and repairs must be performed in an emergency situation, an application for approval shall be submitted within the next working business day to the building official.

Minor Repairs

Minor repairs to residential structures may be made without application or notice to the residential building official. Such repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof; the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety. Exterior modifications require design review with the Planning Department.  Please check with the Planning Department before proceeding with exterior modifications.

Show All Answers

1. Can I take out a permit and have a friend do the work?
2. How do I obtain a permit?
3. How much do permits cost?
4. What types of projects require permits? What doesn't require a permit?
5. Are drawings required?
6. I'm not doing anything structural ... do I need a permit?
7. I'm only replacing counters and/or cabinets ... do I need a permit?
8. I'm just putting back what was there ... do I need a permit?
9. Does my project require approval from the Planning Department or does it need to go before the Architectural Board of Review?
10. What if a contractor says I don't need a permit?
11. How do I request a Building Permit inspection?