Building Department

When Do I Need a Permit?

Before a building or structure is constructed, altered, enlarged, repaired, moved, improved, renovated, or demolished, a building permit is required. (Section 106 of the Building Code).

Unless specifically exempt, a permit is required. For example, the following types of projects do require a permit:

 

  • replacement of existing decks
  • addition of a 5' X 5' entryway
  • major repair and replacement of interior or exterior walls
  • a roof over a 12" high deck
  • accessory buildings built on skids (if larger than 120 square feet)
  • tearing down an old building
  • excavations or fills more than 2 feet deep
  • installing boilers or "Monitor"-type heaters

 

Some work is exempt from permit. The common exceptions are:

 

  • one story detached buildings such as sheds, playhouses and similar uses provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet
  • retaining walls not over 4 feet
  • platforms, walks, decks, and driveways not more than 30 inches above grade (surrounding ground surface)
  • roofing, if the underlying sheeting or framing is not disturbed
  • siding replacement
  • window replacement if framing is not disturbed and no change in the rough opening size
  • fences not over 8 feet high

Even work exempt from permit must comply with zoning regulations, such as setbacks from property lines.

 

Why are Building Permits Required?

The City and Borough of Sitka, like most state and local governments, has adopted building codes for oversight of building activity. Codes provide for safety of owners, tenants, and the public. Building codes work hand in hand with zoning laws to balance the interests of communities and neighborhoods with individual property owners' freedom to build on and use their property.

What if I Don't Get a Permit?

The code requires the normal permit fee be doubled if work was begun without a permit. The Building Department may also order work stopped until a permit is obtained. Structures erected without a permit may be ordered removed or repositioned.

Also, bank financing or insurance may be difficult or impossible to obtain if work was not inspected by the city building department for structural and safety concerns during construction.

 

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