Well, do I need a permit for a parking pad? Yes and no. It depends on the jurisdiction of where you live. In the US, the county that you live in determines what permit is required, if any at all. If the “parking pad” is for your front driveway, then, most likely, you will need one. If it is for a patio pad in the backyard, you may not.
Do I Need a Permit for a Concrete Slab?
Again, it depends. We recommend that you contact your local municipal office for further information concerning this type of permit. Some regulations are relaxed, and some may be stringent.
In Fairfax County, VA or Sacramento, CA or and Prince George, MD counties – you will need a permit to do these. However, Beaverton County in Oregon does not need you to have a license to construct a concrete slab patio in your home.
Do I Need a Permit to Build a Patio?
Before we get into permits and patios, what are they anyway? Your patio is that paved extension adjoined to your house. If you carefully design and build your patio, it could become a beautiful extension of your home into the outdoors. Your patio can take after the floor design of your house, and you can use similar materials as your house floor to build it.
So, back to the question. Do you need a permit to build a patio? This question has no exact answer so we will go with, “it depends”. In some counties, you require a permit, whereas in others it is not. It depends on where you are — each county as its regulations regarding the building of patios and other home improvements.
Most counties have adopted the International Residential Code. Because of their nature, patios receive similar treatment as driveways and walkways as they are a form of hardscaping. Patios are least regulated as they cause no obstruction, do not require rails or stairs, are not attached to buildings and do not need foundations or unique connections. Most patios don’t even need expert construction knowledge or skills to build.
This fact does not exempt patios from regulation, however. Counties can regulate how close a patio can come to your property boundaries. Patios are also required to be a certain distance from the street or sidewalks. Specific water conservation and drainage laws may also dictate how and where patios are built, and these are the key things to look for when applying for permits.
Fortunately, this information is readily available online, including any additional requirements you may need to meet before acquiring a permit. The most important thing for you to do is contact your local county office and find out if you are required to have a license to build your patio.
Home Owners Associations also play a significant role in determining whether you can build a patio on your property or not. HOAs also regulate how development happens within an estate or a neighborhood (their jurisdiction). You often have to seek permission from your local HOA boards to build a patio on your property
Sacramento and Prince George’s counties, for example, require that all homeowners intending to get patio extensions to obtain a permit before they do so. They want to ensure that the improvements meet the minimum requirements of California and Maryland Building Codes, respectively.
The reason why many counties have regulations concerning patios is your safety as a homeowner. These improvements have a direct impact on your home safety and may affect your home insurance policy.
How Big Does a Parking Pad Need to Be?
You build a parking pad according to the unique needs of your home. Some homes may be as close as twenty feet from the street while other homes may be half a mile away. Some homes may require a simple parking stall structure, whereas others may need to have space for vehicles to turn around. You build your parking pad based on your exact needs.
A parking pad has to be long enough to accommodate the length of your car. The width, however, varies depending on how many vehicles you have or intend to park in the pad. We recommend that you give each car 10 feet in width and 20 feet in length. If you want to park your cars side-by-side, you want to make sure that you build a double-wide parking pad 20 feet wide.
Most driveways have walls, and you have to consider them when building your parking pad. We suggest that you leave a buffer zone of one foot or two from the wall. This buffer zone prevents you from bumping your car doors against the wall. It will also allow you enough space to open and get out of your car comfortably.
Do I Need a Permit for a Driveway?
Unlike patios, most municipalities require you to have a permit to build a driveway. Driveways are more complicated than patios as they fall under zoning laws and regulations of public rights of way and easements. We recommend that you contact your local county office for further information about this. You may also visit their website to know their requirements. Below are examples of counties that require you to have permits to build a driveway.
Harris County in Houston, Texas requires that anyone building a new residential driveway, widening of existing driveways, and repairs all require a permit from the county to perform. These permits are available on their website, and you can fill them online.
Multnomah County in Portland also requires you to file for a permit if you need to build or renovate your current driveway. Application for these permits take three weeks, and you are required to pay a fee of $90. You will also pay a $1000 driveway deposit that will be refunded to you once you complete constructing one and it has passed county inspection.
Lee County in Florida also requires you to have a permit to go ahead with the construction of a residential driveway. The fee you pay is dependent on whether it is a single or double driveway, with the latter incurring a more substantial fee. Lee County will impose double the fee in case a driveway is built without a permit.
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Because of the nature of materials used to construct paver patios, you may not need a permit to build them in many counties. Home Owners Associations also do not regularly restrict the building of paver patios because they are not permanent. However, because of the International Residential Code, they are still required to meet grading and drainage requirements. They may also fall under zoning and building code
requirements that are standard for all patios.
What happens if I need a permit but I don’t apply for one? Will I get in trouble?
The penalties for violating a County law on permits will most likely involve fines and building inspections for the violations. In many cases the fine is