How Much Does a Building Permit Cost?

Typical Range:

$447 - $2,313

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 122 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated March 24, 2022

Reviewed by Cati O'Keefe, Expert Home Building & Sustainability Contributor.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Cost to Get a Building Permit

The national average cost of a building permit is roughly $1,380. Homeowners spend anywhere between $447 and $2,313. Depending on which city you live in, the cost may be as high as $7,500, whereas small towns may only charge $150 for one.

If you intend to take on a building project or remodel a home, permits are serious requirements upheld by state and local authorities to ensure compliance with building code safety. You usually need a building permit for structural additions, renovations and even electrical or plumbing projects for your home.

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National Average $1,380
Typical Range $447 - $2,313
Low End - High End $150 - $6,000

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 122 HomeAdvisor members.

Building Permit Cost

Type of PermitAverage Cost
Building a House$1,200 – $2,000
Garage Conversion$1,200 – $1,500
Electrical$10 – $500
Roofing$255 – $500
Fence$20 – $60
Plumbing$50 – $500
HVAC$250 – $400
Construction$150 – $2,000
Bathroom$175 – $2,000
Deck$225 – $500*
Shed$0 – $2,000*
Pergola$0 – $150*
Building Inspection$200 – $500
Basement$50 – $2,000
Window$50 – $200

*$0 price ranges mean that a certain project may not require a permit depending on the complexity of the work.

Building permits can be tricky to price because it depends entirely on which types you need for your project. Below is a helpful table of various permits and the average costs you can expect for each one. Learn more in the sections below about the details of each permit including when or in which regions it might be required

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Garage Conversion Permit Cost

A permit for a garage conversion costs between $1,200 and $1,500. In most cities, this type of project is considered an extension of the home and will require an overall building permit to execute work. The price is higher due to building aspects like wiring, HVAC installation, outlets, air ducts, and vents.

Electrical Permit Cost

You will pay anywhere from $10 to $500 depending on the amount and complexities of your project's electrical needs. The cost of electrical work varies according to:

  • Total number of circuits

  • Amps

  • Sockets

  • Outlets installed

Individually, these components are affordable, but when you are dealing with large quantities and higher voltages, the price can skyrocket, which increases your permit costs. Tiny repairs (like replacing light fixtures or fixing a ceiling light) do not need a permit, whereas any projects that require wiring installation or rewiring to a new placement do require one.

Roofing Permit Cost

If you're planning to re-roof a home or structure, then you can expect to pay between $250 and $500 for a permit. Your initial building permit covers roofing when remodeling a home, so you can save money if you fold other projects into one license. However, a roofing permit is a separate requirement for one-off projects. Typically, it covers you up to the first 1,000 square feet, but you may need to pay more for any additional square feet after that. Your contractor should be able to include the permit in your final roofing cost.

Fence Permit Cost

You can expect to pay between $20 and $60 for a fence permit. The need for a fence permit depends entirely on where you live. For instance, if you live in an urban city with lots of people, then chances are you'll need a fence permit. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that fences under 6 feet tall typically do not require a permit. That being said, you should always confirm costs with your local building department and ask your contractor to provide a permit in the final cost of your fencing project.

Plumbing Permit Cost

The average cost of a permit for these projects is between $50 and $500. Plumbing operates in a similar fashion to electrical work, meaning that its complexities have comparable pricing and permit models. Anything that needs the following will require approval:

  • Re-piping

  • Drain replacement

  • Sewer replacement

  • New plumbing installation

  • New water heater installation

Plus, licenses for each plumbing project costs something different. You can get around these fees by planning a complete remodel of your home or bathroom. This way, you can pull one permit to cover all aspects of the job, rather than bits and pieces.

HVAC Permit Costs

Since these projects involve installing air ducts and vents throughout a home, they typically incur permit costs between $250 and $400. Altogether, they fall under a general building permit requirement, and a contractor should be able to include this fee into the total price of installing a heating and cooling system. Even if you're replacing a broken appliance of this type, you need a permit to pass a final inspection.

Construction Permit Costs

These permits cost anywhere from $150 to $2,000. Some permits for individual projects cost as much as a new-home building permit, such as a whole-house renovation, but in other cases they are a fraction of the cost. Here are some examples of projects for which your municipality may require a permit:

  • Removing or building interior walls

  • Pouring a concrete basement

  • Building a patio

  • Remodeling a kitchen

  • Repairing a ceiling related to construction

Be sure to check with a contractor, architect, or engineer when mapping out the final cost of building a house to ensure that you're meeting all the right permit requirements. They should be able to include an estimate for one into your final price.

Bathroom Permit Costs

Doing repairs to a bathroom or adding one to your home requires a permit, which can cost between $175 and $2,000. You’ll need a permit to execute each of these tasks to pass inspection:

  • Plumbing

  • Electrical

  • Construction

  • HVAC

Some municipalities may ask for individual permits for these or may have a formula based on the square footage of the project. A contractor should be able to give you the permit fee in the final cost to remodel a bathroom or you can check with your local building department for a list of applicable fees for your project.

Deck Permit Cost

The final cost to build a new deck may include a permit fee of $225 to $500, but you are not usually required to get a permit for repairs or updates to existing decks. The good thing about decks is that they usually don't require any special building components, such as wiring, roofs, outlets, etc.

In some cases, you may have to hire a land surveyor to assess how far from the house your deck can extend. Your contractor or local building department should be able to provide you with the necessary permits for your deck project.

Shed Permit Cost

If you are building a shed that involves electricity, plumbing, a foundation, etc., you will need to pull a building permit. This can cost up to $2,000. Permits for most simple sheds that are over 200 square feet will run approximately $250.

Depending on the square footage of your shed, you may not need a permit to build one. Installing a shed that's 8 feet by 8 feet or smaller, for example, generally doesn't warrant a permit. In fact, you can purchase pre-made sheds from your local hardware store that are a great space for extra storage with minimal upkeep.

Each county has different requirements, so be sure to check with your area before starting and working that total into the final cost of your shed project.

Pergola Permit Cost

Most pergolas do not require a permit for installation because they are not outdoor buildings. Generally, they do not have a covered roof, posts supporting the structure do not penetrate deep into the ground, and they usually don’t have complex lighting systems or electrical wiring. Those that require permits tend to cost anywhere from $30 to $150. The cost to build a pergola can increase quickly on account of its design, so consider purchasing a pre-made pergola kit that removes the need for a permit and is easy to set up if you're concerned about approval factors.

Building Inspection Fees

Once your project is complete, you may need to hire a building inspector to approve the work or offer an appraisal on your home. On average, the cost to hire an inspector is just over $300 for this service, with a typical range between $200 and $500.

Make sure to do some research and get different quotes from inspectors. Also, keep in mind that factors such as home size, the complexities of your home, and overall inspection time play a significant role in determining a final price. Something else to consider is that if you obtain a building permit for a project, it should come with a free inspection.

Basement Permit Cost

For a full basement remodel, you can expect to pay between $1,200 and $2,000 for a permit within the final cost for a basement remodel. Your basement is inside your home and typically involves adding or altering electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling. The project may require heavy construction work for structural reasons, a new sewer line, or extensive waterproofing. For less intensive basement updating, you might pay anywhere from $50 to $500.

Window Permit Cost

To repair or replace existing windows, you may need a permit costing anywhere from $50 to $200. The reasons for a window permit are that your new ones must meet certain standards to ensure safety and energy codes. For instance, there are standards for egress, tempered glass, and energy efficiency.

The good news is that permits for windows can be bought over-the-counter on a per window basis. A permit for one window installation may cost $50, whereas 2 to 5 windows may cost $200. Make sure to check with your local authorities to map out pricing before starting your project.

Demolition Permit Cost

"Don't be a 'permit scofflaw' when it comes to demolishing a structure. If you get caught without a permit, you may have to pay up to 200% of the cost of the permit plus the permit fee. On a $200 fee, that would run you $600."

Cati O'Keefe, Expert Home Building & Sustainability Contributor.

When hiring a demolition service, you can expect to pay an average of $200. On the other hand, larger cities may charge much higher prices for demolition, so be sure to check with your local authorities to nail down an exact price. Contractors should be able to include the cost of demolition and permit for the cleanup of your project in your estimate.

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Residential vs. Commercial Building Permit Cost

These two project types are similar when it comes to obtaining permits, but commercial buildings tend to be more expensive.

Commercial Buildings

Building permit costs average $1,300, ranging from $150 to $6,000
  • Represent businesses

  • Requirements and approval processes are more strict

  • Permit and inspection fees are demanding and costly

Residential Buildings

  • Represent living spaces for individuals, couples, or families

  • Requirements and approval process are on a case-by-case basis and often less strict

  • Permit and inspection fees depend on county regulations, location, and type of work completed

Commercial buildings must apply for the same building permit as a residential space would for any new construction or remodel, although an additional valuation applies to the total cost along with the permit application fee. In most cases, anywhere from 1% to 5% of the contract's value in addition to the building permit applies. Also, commercial buildings are subject to demanding inspection fees to comply with local and state regulations, whereas residential properties are only subject to county rates that are often a part of a building permit's package. For accurate prices for these two property types, check with your local authorities before starting construction.

What Is a Building Permit?

A building permit is an official document required to begin legally sanctioned construction or renovation on a property. Every jurisdiction—including states, counties, cities or towns—has different requirements for issuing permits, along with different building codes and fees associated with the permits. Essentially, the Board of Permits and Inspections or Building and Zoning Board knows what the homeowner permit is for once a plan is submitted by a builder. Once fees are paid, permits are issued. Later, the agency will have the construction inspected to make sure it passes building and energy codes.

Why Are Permits Needed?

The rationale behind building permits includes public health and safety, uniformity of construction quality, and easier property valuation. The most crucial of these is health and safety. Buildings that are constructed, wired, or plumbed improperly can lead to dangerous conditions that would affect more people than just the owner or occupants of a property. These conditions could include risk of fire from poor wiring, disease from poor plumbing, and bodily harm from poor structural integrity.

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When Is a Permit Needed?

The answer to this question depends on local regulations regarding construction and renovation. In general, urban and suburban areas require more permits than rural areas. However, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

The following are circumstances that frequently require building permits:

New Construction

Constructing or building a new home or other structure requires a permit. This category includes structures like guest houses, garages, storage buildings, and gazebos. Many areas also require a special building permit for fences and privacy screens if they are set in concrete.

Room Additions or Conversion

This includes adding new rooms or a sunroom to a home, but it also encompasses the construction of patios, porches, and decks as well, depending on local codes. Enclosing a garage may be considered an addition because it would increase the heated space of the home and require additional electrical work.

Major Renovations

This can include everything from restoring an older home to renovating a dated kitchen or repurposing a garage. Many new homeowners who have purchased a fixer-upper get in trouble here by not applying for permits to renovate their vintage home or by deviating too substantially from submitted renovation plans.

Structural Changes

Structural changes generally involve alterations to the bones of the structure, including the addition or removal of walls or finishing an attic or basement space. Demolition is another example. These permits can be especially important when changing load-bearing portions of the structure because if these are altered in an unsatisfactory way, the structure could be condemned as unsafe.

Electrical, Plumbing, and Mechanical Work

These three areas encompass an enormous amount of potential construction or renovation work and may require separate forms in addition to the actual building permit. Some examples of this type of work include installing outdoor lighting, adding a hot tub, or replacing garage doors. Depending on the area, some of these projects may require a permit. In other locations, they may not. The installation of a sophisticated home automation system may also require a permit.

How to Get a Permit

The homeowner or contractor must complete the appropriate forms and return them with fees to the local body that governs building permits depending on the property's location. The permit may be immediately approved, require changes or undergo additional review. This can be a complex process. Construction should not begin until after final approval is granted and the building permits are issued.

What Is a Permit Service?

A permit service is a company that manages the building permit application process on behalf of a homeowner or contractor. On average, you can expect to pay between $35 to $70 per hour when hiring a building permit service or expeditor permit service. Plus, you may have to pay additional fees for travel, copies, mileage, and extra time if the process is especially difficult. Here's a rundown of the services they offer:

  • Fill out paperwork on your behalf

  • Track fees and inspections to avoid extra or unnecessary costs

  • Streamline the process with superior knowledge of permit requirements

  • Allow you to focus on the enjoyable parts of construction or renovation

A permit service can make certain that every form is completed properly and that every permit is exactly as it should be, preventing difficulty further along in the process. Permit services help homeowners avoid fines, stop-work orders, or legal action regarding their projects. Having one reduces the potential for bad inspections or inadvertent permit violations. Overall, permit services take some of the stress and frustration out of the building equation.

The actual permit costs depend on the location of the property and the type of work that will be performed. For many homeowners, the process of applying for a permit may seem daunting, but it cannot be avoided without risking fines or worse. These services are a great alternative for homeowners who'd rather not deal with all the paperwork themselves.


How much do permits cost for building?

The final cost of building permits depends on the type of project and its complexities. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000 in permit fees when executing large-scale building projects. For instance, a great room addition permit may cost $1,500, whereas renovating a bathroom may cost $500. Check with your local authorities to get accurate estimates and plan ahead.

What requires a building permit?

Projects that require a building permit include:

  • Any new construction to your home

  • Room additions or conversions

  • Major renovations to your home or outdoor living spaces

  • Structural changes to your home or outdoor living spaces

  • Any electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work done to your home or outdoor living spaces

How long does it take to get a building permit?

After submitting your application, it usually takes two weeks for residential properties to receive a building permit, whereas commercial properties may take up to four weeks for approval. Some permits for smaller jobs may be received the same day, but you must check with your local authorities to see what documentation is needed and what jobs qualify for quick turnarounds.

What happens if you build without a permit?

If you're caught building without a permit, you may be forced to shut down your project and pay hefty fines in order to gain compliance. In some cases, violations to permit licensure may result in costs that match or exceed the project total itself, so it's always a good idea to obtain a permit before starting any work on a project.

Can a homeowner pull their own permits?

Yes, a homeowner can pull their own permits by making an inquiry to their local agencies and providing them with their address and personal information. This is a handy resource for homeowners or contractors who have lost their permits and need additional copies.

What is an owner-builder permit and do I need one?

An owner-builder permit is a type of permit that makes you personally responsible for the work being done on your project. You should get this type of approval if you plan to do all of the construction yourself and serve as your own contractor.

Overall, you save money by not outsourcing this job to someone else who may charge additional fees to hire sub-contractors and day laborers. However, the major downside to this type of permit is that you are subject to great financial risk in the event deadlines aren't meant on time or if a worker you hire gets hurt on the job.

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