Building Inspections FAQ

General Permitting Questions

Q. As a homeowner doing my own work, at my home, when am I required to obtain a permit?
A. Depending on the type of project, you may be required to obtain a permit. Please check with the Inspections Division for any requirements regarding the building, mechanical, electrical and plumbing codes and/or any ordinances adopted by the Town.

Q. How long will it take to get my  permit application approved?
A.
Minor Permits-  Swimming pools, patio covers, arbors, signs, fences, fire pits, outdoor grilling stations, storm shelters, etc.
1st round- 5 business days, 2nd round- 3 business days, 3rd round- 3 business days.

Single Family Permits- consist of new homes, residential remodels, guest homes, pool cabanas/house, (screening walls and retaining walls that require engineering or planning review) etc.
1st round- 10 business days, 2nd round- 5 business days, 3rd round- 5 business days.

Commercial Permits-  Standalone buildings, shell buildings, remodels, tenant finish outs, additions, etc.
1st round- 20 business days, 2nd round- 10 business days, 3rd round- 5 business days.

Q. When is a permit required for heating or air conditioning work?
A. A permit is required for removal or replacement of a unit. A permit is not required for repair or replacement of parts only. When a permit is required, the contractor must be registered with the Town and must obtain the permit before performing any work. All work must comply with the Town’s adopted codes.

Q. How long is my permit good for after being issued?
A. Most permits expire 180 days from the date of issuance or the date of your last approved inspection.

Q. Can I install my own irrigation system?
A. Yes, but you must get a permit and list a licensed backflow tester who is registered with the Town to test the backflow assembly. For a list of backflow testers who are currently registered with the Town, please contact our office at (972) 346-3502. Any licensed backflow tester may register with the Town. All other work can be done by the homeowner with proof of a homestead exemption.

Q. Do I need a permit to install a flag pole in my yard?
A. No we do not require a permit but the maximum height for a flag pole is 30 feet. Additional information is listed in the Sign Ordinance.

Q. Why should my contractor pull the permit instead of me, the homeowner?
A. When a contractor is hired, they must pull the permit because they are doing the work and will be responsible for making sure the work meets the Town’s code requirements. They are required to be registered with the Town. Always ask to see the permit before work is started.

Accessory Building (Storage Building) Questions

Q. Is a permit required for an accessory building (storage shed)?
A. All accessory buildings, regardless of square footage, require a permit to ensure they meet the minimum setback requirements and are constructed in a safe manner.

Commercial Permit Questions

Q. Do subcontractors need to pull permits for commercial jobs?
A. No. The general contractor pulls the permit and lists the subcontractors (mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors) that will be working on the jobsite. The subcontractors will, however, need to be registered to work in the Town. If a subcontractor is doing work after the main permit (the permit issued to the general contractor) has been finaled, then the subcontractor would need to pull a separate permit.

Fence & Wall Questions

Q. When is a fence permit required?
A. A fence permit must be obtained from the Building Inspection Division prior to installation. It shall be unlawful for any person to install or cause to be installed, or to permit any person to install a fence, or to make any alterations, additions or changes to a fence, without first having procured a permit to do so from the Building Official. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a permit shall not be required for alterations, additions or changes if repairs do not exceed sixteen (16) linear feet of the area of the fence over a twelve (12) month period

Q. What are the retaining wall requirements?
A. Retaining wall requirements are covered under section R404.4 of the 2015 International Residential Code and 1807.2 of the 2015 International Building Code.
-Retaining walls less than forty-eight (48) inches in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall that are not supporting a surcharge do not require a permit.
-Retaining walls over forty-eight (48) inches in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall require a permit and must be designed by a registered design professional.
Retaining walls up to  forty-eight (48) inches in height are not required to be designed by a registered design professional as the most common manufacturers and products used in retaining walls (pave stone for example) have designs and charts available in their technical resources online.  If the applicant shows a design using unusual materials that are outside of code (railroad ties or bags of concrete spiked in place, for example) then an engineer sealed structural letter would be required at the final inspection.

Foundation Questions

Q. Is a permit required for foundation repair?
A. Yes. The foundation company doing the work must be registered with the Town and apply for a permit. They must submit an original engineering design. Make sure you see the permit before the work is started. At the time of inspection by the Town, verifying the job is complete, a second original letter from the engineer is to be at the job site verifying repairs were performed to engineered specifications.

Homeowner’s Association Questions

Q. My Home Owner’s Association (HOA) is telling me that I cannot build my project. Is this true?
A. While your project may by approved by the Town, you should check your deed restrictions and HOA requirements before applying for a permit. Deed restrictions and HOA requirements may supersede Town requirements. The Town does not enforce HOA deed restrictions and/or covenants.

New Home Construction Questions

Q. Can I receive a temporary final (Temporary Certificate of Occupancy) on new home construction without all items being completed or at least be able to move in furniture?
A. A temporary final (Temporary Certificate of Occupancy) of a residence is available only under extreme circumstances and only after careful review of all outstanding items.

Q. If my sidewalk (flatwork) has already been approved, can I replace a section without a permit?
A. No, all Town sidewalks (even a section) need a flatwork permit and inspection before pouring concrete.

Deck & Patio Questions

Q. Do I need a permit to build a deck?
A. A permit is not required for 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 as required by the IRC.

Q. Is a permit required to build a patio cover/shade arbor?
A. Yes.

Inspection Scheduling Questions

Q. How do I request a building Inspection?
A. By using eTRAKiT you can now schedule, cancel, and view your inspection results online by following this link https://etrakit.prospertx.gov/eTRAKiT/. Cut off time to schedule an inspection is 7:00 am the day of the inspection.

Q. Do scheduled inspections automatically rollover after being canceled due to weather?
A. No, the contractor is responsible for checking their jobsite and rescheduling the inspection.

Swimming Pool/Spa Questions

Q. Do I need a permit to install a self-contained spa?
A. Yes, the inspectors must inspect the electrical and/or plumbing work to ensure it meets code requirements. Pool and spa requirements are listed in our Residential Pool and Spa Guidelines.

Water Heater/Plumbing Questions

Q. Is it true that replacing a water heater in my house requires a permit?
A. Yes, State law requires that the Town perform an inspection of water heater replacements. If hiring a contractor to replace your water heater (gas or electric), the plumber must be registered with the Town, obtain a permit before the work is performed (unless it is an emergency replacement being done while the permit office is closed) and make sure an approved final inspection from the Town is obtained. If the permit cannot be obtained before the work is performed due to the permit office being closed, a permit must be obtained on the next business day. If a homeowner is to perform the work, they must bring proof of their homestead exemption when they apply for their permit. The work must comply with the current plumbing codes and ordinances.

Q. The plumber tells me that my water heater now requires a drain pan. Is this true?
A. Pans are required where a water heater is installed in a location where a leak will cause damage.  Where a pan drain was not previously installed, a pan drain shall not be required for a replacement water heater installation (P2801.6.1 of 2015 IRC). Due to high and variable water pressure throughout Town, PRV’s are required for all new homes.  The vast majority of existing homes have PRV’s necessitating expansion tanks for storage tank-type water heaters.

Q. I am having my water heater replaced and the plumber tells me that it must be elevated. Is this true?
A. Yes, the ignition source of the water heater must be elevated at least 18” above the garage floor. This applies to all water heaters, gas or electric.

Q. Does the building code allow plumbers to install water heater in an attic?
A. Yes, but certain conditions must be followed as required by the International Residential Code (IRC). A permit is required.