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Permits for your shed

Do Storage Sheds Need A Permit?

Are you considering building or buying a large storage shed on your property? Before you start construction, it's important to understand the permitting process and regulations that may apply. Depending on the size, location, and intended use of the shed, you may need to obtain a building permit and adhere to specific zoning regulations.

Storage Sheds need a permit depending on your location, size, and usage!

Understanding Building Permits and Zone


If you're planning to build a storage shed, you'll need to understand building permits and whether they're required for your specific project. Shed permits give homeowners permission to do construction work on their property while ensuring that the work is done safely and in compliance with local codes.

Generally, smaller sheds may not require a permit, but larger ones or those used for business or living space will likely need one.

Additionally, wiring electricity into a shed will likely require a permit. Talking to someone familiar with zoning and building codes can also help ensure that all regulations are followed and avoid any potential fines in the future.

What Factors Determine If You Need a Building Permit?

checklist of permit reason

  1. Dimensions - The necessity of a permit for your shed will depend on the dimensions as per city, county, or state zoning codes. For example, smaller sheds like 6x8 or 8x8 might not require any permit, while larger ones such as 16x20 or 16x24 could be completely forbidden.

  2. Usage - If the intended use of your shed is as a workshop for gardening, living quarters, or for commercial purposes, it would almost certainly require a permit, regardless of your location. This requirement ensures all work complies with local zoning regulations and undergoes inspection for cooling or heating additions.

  3. Electrical Connections - If you plan to install electricity in your shed, it's likely that you'll need a permit.

  4. Location -  The location of your shed within your property may also be subject to conditions. Some jurisdictions have restrictions on where a shed can be built in a yard, as well as limitations on the portion of the yard it can occupy. In most cases, the shed must not be attached to the house, nor positioned too close to the house, property boundaries, trees, fences, or other structures.

  5. Weather Conditions - If you live in a region that experiences severe weather conditions such as high winds and storms, your shed might be required to be anchored. Also, if you live in an area with freezing temperatures, certain foundation methods may be required.

  6. Homeowners Association (HOA) - If your property is governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA), it's important to consult with them before making any modifications to your property. HOAs often have unique rules and regulations which need to be followed.

How do I get a shed permit?

appying for permit

To ensure a stress-free shed building process and avoid penalties, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the permit application process in your area. The first step is to determine if you need a permit to build a shed.

Once you've confirmed that you do need a permit, the next step is to apply for a shed permit. You'll need to complete an application that includes details such as the shed size, foundation type, siding material, roofing material, door and window placement, lumber sizes and framing information.

Approval for the permit is not always immediate and may take up to a week or more depending on your location. Keep in mind that building without a permit can result in hefty fines or even removal of the shed so it's important to follow all necessary steps before beginning construction.

Popular States Estimated Time for Building Permit Approval
California Approximately 2-4 weeks
Texas Up to 7 business days
Florida A couple of business days
New York 2 to 3 months
Pennsylvania Within 15 business days

Shed Placement and Restrictions

evaluting permit

Local codes often mandate how close a shed can be to property lines, trees, fences, or other buildings. Some areas don't allow sheds to be attached to homes.

Before starting construction on your backyard shed, make sure you obtain the necessary permit to build and check with your local building code for any specific regulations. The size of your shed also plays an important role in its placement. Certain areas may have size and height restrictions for storage sheds. Additionally, some may require a particular type of foundation for larger sheds.

What happens if I don't get a permit for my backyard shed?

rejected permits

Failing to obtain a permit to build or buy your backyard shed could result in costly fines and even a mandate to remove the structure, making it crucial to research and follow the necessary regulations. It may be tempting to try and build a shed without a building permit, but doing so can lead to serious consequences.

Here are four things that could happen if you don't get a permit for your backyard shed:

  1. You may be subject to expensive fines from local government agencies.
  2. Your homeowner's association may also fine you or require you to remove the structure.
  3. If someone gets injured because of an unpermitted shed, you could be held liable for damages.
  4. When it comes time to sell your home, potential buyers may hesitate if there is an unpermitted structure on the property.

By taking the time to research and obtain the necessary permits before beginning construction on your shed, you can avoid these potential issues down the road and ensure that your hard work doesn't go to waste. Remember, building codes vary by location, so make sure you know what's required in your area before getting started.

HOA Shed Permits

Navigating HOA regulations can be a challenge, but it's important to follow them to avoid potential fines or the removal of your shed. Homeowner associations often have their own rules and restrictions regarding outdoor buildings like sheds.

Not only could you be fined, but you may also be required to remove the structure entirely or the HOA could takeover your property until the issue is resolved. To avoid these issues, it's best to do your research beforehand and make sure you have all necessary permits and approvals before beginning construction.

By following HOA regulations, you'll not only avoid penalties but also contribute positively to your community by being a responsible homeowner.


1. Do I need a shed plan to obtain a permit?

Yes, you'll need to provide a detailed plan of your shed when applying for a permit. This plan should include the shed's dimensions, materials, and intended use.

2. Can I build a small shed without a permit?

In some areas, sheds smaller than 100 square feet may not require a permit. However, it's always best to check with your local building department to be sure.

3. How can I find out if I need a permit for my shed?

You can contact your local building department or check its website for information on permit requirements for storage sheds. You may also be able to find this information on your jurisdiction's website or in its building code.

4. What is the International Building Code?

The International Building Code (IBC) is a model code that sets minimum safety standards for building construction, including requirements for storage sheds. Many states and local jurisdictions adopt or adapt the IBC in their own building codes.

5. How long does it take to get a permit for a shed?

The time it takes to obtain a permit for a shed can vary depending on your location and the workload of your local building department. In some cases, it may only take a few days, while in others it could take several weeks or even months. Make sure to plan accordingly with your purchase of the shed.

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About The Author

Andy Wu - Resident Expert

Andy Wu - Resident Expert

Andy Wu is the resident backyard products expert and hails from Atlanta, Georgia. His passion for crafting outdoor retreats began in 2003.

As a fellow homeowner, he founded Backyard Oasis to provide top-quality furnishings and equipment, collaborating with leading manufacturers.

His main focus is on sheds and generators!

In his spare time he like to hike the tallest mountains in the world and travel with his family.

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