Building Permits

What is a Building Permit?

A building permit is a license, which grants legal permission to start construction of a building project. Most importantly beside making for safer construction – it protects your insurance premium investment from having any claim rejected.

The Purpose of Permits.

Permits allow the enforcement of codes, which have been adopted as law by a State, County, Borough or City. No matter what the specific project may be, the enforcement of codes is carried out to protect the public health, safety and welfare. The unit of government that enforces the code is acting to assure safe construction and general wellbeing of its residents.

The Use of Permits.

Code officials and inspectors use building permits as a vital step in their management of codes. You have an investment in the home or business you are about to build or remodel. When that home or business structure does not comply with these codes, your investment is at risk. All insurance companies require proper construction or code compliance to qualify any claim – finding this out the hard way would be financially devastating. Applying for a building permit notifies the Code Official that you are constructing or remodeling a building so they can ensure code compliance and a safe structure.

Why A Building Permit?

Building permits provide the means for Code Officials to protect us by reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction and thereby ensuring the public health, safety and welfare. The building permit process helps us understand what local laws and ordinances. Before any construction or remodeling work begins, application for a permit should be made. Building permits provide the means for Code Officials to inspect construction to ensure that minimum standards are met and appropriate materials are used. Again, the paper trail of the permitting process protects your investment with your insurer.

What Construction Projects Need Building Permits?

The following projects are required to apply for and obtain a Building Permit under the regulations of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Act 45 Uniform Construction Code.

  • All Commercial projects no matter the size of the project.
  • Residential new construction
  • Residential additions (such as sun room, or additional living quarters – also check with zoning to be sure that no encroachment occurs)
  • Porches with roofs.
  • Porches and decks over 30″ above grade.
  • Residential garages detached from the home greater than 1000 square feet.
  • Residential garages attached to the home.
  • Residential renovations when structural changes are made to the residence. Examples include window and door openings made larger, structural changes to the foundation, or changes to beams, floor joist or ceiling joists etc.
  • Swimming pools greater than 24″ in depth.

The following projects do not require a building permit:

  • Residential garages less than 1000 square feet not attached to the residence (distance must be six (6) feet or greater).
  • Porches and decks less than 30″ from ground level with no roof.
  • Minor electrical repairs.
    NOTE: Allegheny Power does require that all Electric Services being replaced be i
  • Swimming pools less than 24″ in depth.
  • Residential remodeling (examples) new roof coverings, siding, soffit, fascia, gutters, downspouts, etc.
  • Repairs or replacement of plumbing, mechanical, systems or the parts there of.
  • Plumbing Repairs and Updates - note the use of PEX is widely used and understood as an alternative (inexpensive and easy to install)
  • General Excavation and Grading - Foundations, Footers and Garden Walls – NOTE: Retaining walls higher than 48″ do require a permit.


Digging more than a foot deep in or near the public right of way, even to plant a shrub, may encounter power lines or other utilities.

In addition to the obvious life-safety concerns, there may be liability
for damage to any utility encountered.


It is the law and it protects you and your neighbors – it’s free!

How much is a Permit?

Residential Building Permits are typically $50-100, which includes the filing fee and two (2) onsite visits. The important thing to remember is you get the Certificate of Occupancy when completed to keep everything square with your insurer.

Commercial Building Permits vary in cost depending upon the cost of the job being done – contact our local Engineering Firm for information. Our Borough Engineering Firm is K2 Engineering; you may call them for questions only.   

K2 Engineering Inc
160 Pittsburgh St Ste 3a
Uniontown, PA, 15401-2300
Phone: 724-439-3440

All permit requests will be handled through the Borough only, K2 will not issue permits directly – they need to be contact by the Borough.

Zoning Permit or Building Permit?

Please note that a BUILDING PERMIT and a ZONING PERMIT are different.

Zoning and Zoning Permits deal with how land and its structures are being used (Commercial, Residential, Public). While Building Permits deal with the construction of the structure themselves.

Requesting a Zoning Permit or a Variance is required if you are changing a parcel from its current usage; for example Residential to Commercial. In all instances, whenever a parcel and its structure is being used for a purpose other than it is currently zoned for, you should check with the Zoning Board for verification of its use. This helps us all should a neighbor decide they want to open a kennel next door in a residential neighborhood.

Other Good Stuff to know!

HINT: If you use natural gas to heat your home – strongly consider the benefit of having Underground Line Insurance – a couple of dollars a month can save you $1200 and up (particularly with our older pipes in town!)