How Much Does a Building Permit Cost?

Typical Range:

$435 - $2,299

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 131 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 June 23, 2022

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

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The average cost of a building permit is roughly $1,360, but homeowners might spend anywhere between $435 and $2,299. The price you'll pay depends on the city you live in, the type of project you're aiming to complete, and if any grants or financial assistance are available.

Building permits are often necessary for structural additions, home renovations, and even electrical or plumbing projects. Failure to notify your state or local authority to ensure compliance could result in fines that cost more than the permit(s). 

Learn everything you need to know about the cost of obtaining a building permit below.

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National Average $1,360
Typical Range $435 - $2,299
Low End - High End $150 - $6,000

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 131 HomeAdvisor members.

Building Permit Cost

Note that the building permits you’ll need and how much the permits cost vary by project. The extent of your project could drastically impact the cost you pay for a permit. Keep in mind that cities, counties, and states often have different laws regarding building permits. The following price estimates are guidelines.

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
Demolition$0 – $200
Water Heater$25 – $250
Kitchen$500 – $1,500
Driveway$125 – $600
Swimming Pool$100 – $300
Building Inspection$100 – $500

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

Garage Conversion Permit

A permit for a garage conversion costs between $1,200 and $1,500. In many cities, this garage conversion is considered an extension of the home, which often drives up the permit price or the number of permits needed.

This price might include permits for electrical wiring, HVAC installation, and installation of outlets, air ducts, and vents.

Electrical Permit 

You will pay anywhere from $10 to $500 for the cost of electrical permits, depending on the number of permits required and the complexity of your project's electrical needs. The cost of electrical work varies according to:

  • Total number of circuits

  • Amps

  • Sockets

  • Outlets installed

When dealing with large quantities and higher voltages, such as in a commercial property, the price of a permit(s) can become quite high. Often, smaller repairs, like replacing light fixtures or fixing a ceiling light, don’t need a permit. Generally, you’ll need permits for installing or replacing electrical wiring on top of the cost of electrical wiring installation

Roofing Permit

Expect to pay between $255 and $500 for the cost of a roofing permit. An initial building permit usually involves 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, depending on where you live. Your local contractor should be able to include the permit in your final roof replacement cost.

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Fence Permit 

Permits for new fence installation usually cost between $20 and $60. Urban areas—where neighbors are generally closer than in rural areas—are most likely to require a fence permit before building. Fences under 6 feet tall typically don’t require a permit.

That said, 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 

The average cost of a permit for plumbing projects is between $50 and $500, while the cost to install or replace plumbing is $1,175 on average. Plumbing operates similarly to electrical work, meaning that projects vary in price and permit models depending on the complexity of the work. 

You may need a plumbing permit for: 

  • Repiping

  • Drain replacement

  • Sewer replacement

  • Installing new plumbing

  • Installing a new water heater 

You can get around paying excess fees by planning a complete remodel of your home or bathroom. This way, you can pull one permit to cover all aspects of the project rather than paying for one-off permits.

HVAC Permit

Installing air ducts and vents in your home will require a permit that costs between $250 and $400 on average. 

In many areas, HVAC permits fall under a general building permit requirement, A contractor should be able to include this fee in the total price of installing an HVAC system. Even if you're replacing a broken appliance of this type, you need a permit to pass a final inspection.

Construction Permit 

Given the broad range of projects construction permits cover, they may 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. In other cases, such as building an outdoor patio, they’re a fraction of the cost. 

Here are some other examples of jobs that warrant a construction permit: 

  • Removing or building interior walls

  • Pouring a concrete basement

  • Remodeling a kitchen

  • Repairing a ceiling related to construction

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.

Bathroom Permit 

Repairing a bathroom or adding a new one to your home requires a permit that costs between $175 and $2,000 on average. Bathroom permits can be pricey because of the number of tasks that must pass inspection, such as:

  • 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 quote your permit fees in the final cost to remodel a bathroom, or you can check with your local building department for prices.

Deck Permit 

The final cost to build a new outdoor deck may include a permit fee of $225 to $500. Fortunately, remodeling or updating an old deck doesn't require a permit in many areas.

If you're extending your deck or outdoor living space, you may need a local 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 

Sheds, like bathrooms, often require electricity, plumbing, and other tasks that drive up permit prices. New shed permits usually cost between $250 and $2,000, while the cost to build a shed averages $2,750.

Depending on the square footage of your shed, you may not need a permit to build one. Installing a shed that's 8-by-8-feet or smaller, for example, generally doesn't warrant a permit. Purchasing a smaller pre-made shed from a local hardware store can also prevent the need for a permit in some instances.

Each county has different requirements, so check the requirements in your area before starting your project.

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Pergola Permit 

Pergola installation permits tend to cost anywhere from $30 to $150. Since pergolas don't have a covered roof, you won't need a roofing permit. But you still may need clearance to install lights and electrical wiring.

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.

Basement Permit 

You'll likely pay between $1,200 and $2,000 for a basement permit when remodeling. This will factor into the final cost for a basement remodel, which usually starts at around $12,000.

Basement jobs usually involve installing or altering electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling. The project may also require heavy construction 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 

To repair or replace existing windows, you may need a permit costing anywhere from $50 to $200. Window standards increase over time to ensure safety and energy efficiency codes are met, especially in commercial buildings.

The good news is you can purchase permits for windows over-the-counter on a per-window basis. A permit for one window installation may cost as little as $50.

Demolition Permit 

"Don't be a 'permit scofflaw' when it comes to demolishing a structure,” says Cati O’Keefe, Expert Review Board member. “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.

Permits for demolition cost around $200 on average, although larger cities and high-volume areas may charge much higher prices for demolition permits. Be sure to check with your local authorities to nail down an exact price.

Water Heater Permit

A water heater permit costs $25 to $250. Some states and cities require that a licensed plumber performs water heater installation or replacement with a permit. Check with your local requirements before proceeding with this project. 

Kitchen Remodel Permit

Getting a permit to remodel your kitchen may cost between $500 and $1,500, depending on the extent of remodeling you plan to do. Extensive wiring, plumbing, or digging into the foundation could drive up the cost. The cost is usually related to the size of the kitchen you're remodeling.

Driveway Permit

A permit for a new concrete driveway costs $125 on average. However, an asphalt driveway and some higher-end projects like installing a heated driveway may cost up to $600 simply for a permit. The permit fee reflects the extent of engineering required to tackle the job. 

Swimming Pool Permit

Expect to pay $100 to $300 for a swimming pool permit. In-ground pools cost more than aboveground pools as you have to factor digging into the cost. Extensive builds around the pool (i.e., adding a patio or walkway, grilling area, etc.) may increase the price.

Building Inspection Fees

Inspection fees for a building range from $100 to $500, depending on the type of property, the area on the property, and other factors, like how much new electrical wiring or plumbing the homeowner has added. A lengthier inspection will cost more simply due to the inspector's time to do the job.

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Residential vs. Commercial Building Permit Cost

The process for obtaining building permits is similar for residential and commercial properties. The main difference is that costs are often far higher for commercial properties due to increased property value and the sheer volume of work. It may also take longer for applications to be processed and approved for commercial properties.

In many cases, anywhere from 1% to 5% of the contract's value in addition to the building permit applies. These funds go to your city or county, which you should always check or specific guidelines before starting a commercial or residential project.

Residential Building Permits Commercial Building Permits
Represent living spaces for individuals, couples, or families Represent businesses and real-estate properties
Requirements and approval process are on a case-by-case basis and often less strict Requirements and approval processes are more strict
Permit and inspection fees depend on county regulations, location, and type of work completed Permit and inspection fees are demanding and costly

Building Permit Costs by Location

Below are the typical costs of building permits in different states. As you can see, permits are more costly in some states than others.

Location Permit Cost
New York$1,685
Colorado$350
California$1,808
Texas$1,425
Pennsylvania$478
Florida$922
Illinois$750
Kansas$328

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—this may include states, counties, cities, or towns—has different requirements for issuing permits and different building codes and fees associated with the permits. Homeowners and pros must follow these throughout the building or renovation process.

Once fees are paid, your local agency or building office can process your application(s) and issue your permit(s). Later, the agency will inspect the construction to ensure it passes building and energy codes.

Why Are Permits Needed?

Building permits are necessary for public health and safety and uniformity of construction quality. They also allow for easier property valuation for your city or county. 

At the top of the list is 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 the 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?

This can't be a one-size-fits-all answer; building permits may be needed for a project in one city and not needed in another. Generally speaking, any construction, demolition, or substantial renovation to a home or commercial property requires a building permit.

It's always better to be safe than sorry. Not getting a permit may result in fines or other legal action.

Below are some specific instances where permits are usually required and things you may need to know about each.

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 set in concrete.

These projects are generally layered, meaning certain pins may have to fall on one section of the project (electrical work approval, for example) before additional work or even permits can be started or obtained. Starting sooner rather than later with obtaining permits is recommended. 

Room Additions or Conversion

Adding a room in your home or converting a garage into a livable space almost always requires a building permit. Depending on local codes and ordinances, other projects like constructing a patio, porch, or deck could also require a permit.

Similarly, enclosing a garage or open structure may be considered an addition because it would increase the heated space of the home and require additional electrical work. If electrical wiring is necessary, just assume you'll likely need a permit to do the job.

Major Renovations

From updating an old kitchen to repurposing a garage, large renovations nearly always require a building permit, both for safety and uniformity. 

Homeowners who purchase a fixer-upper could get in trouble by not applying for permits to renovate their vintage home or deviating too substantially from submitted renovation plans. Clear plans are necessary for passing inspection.

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 essential when changing load-bearing portions of the structure. If these portions are altered in an unsatisfactory way, the structure could be unsafe—which would likely cost more to repair than the permits themselves

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. These projects include Installing outdoor lighting, adding a hot tub, or replacing garage doors. 

Depending on the area, some of these projects may require a permit. The installation of a sophisticated home-automation system may also require a permit.

How to Get a Permit

To obtain a building permit, homeowners or contractors must complete the appropriate forms and return them with fees to the local body that governs building permits. Information on how to obtain a building permit can be found online or by contacting your local building office. 

For some projects, your local building office may approve the permit when you pay the fee. Others may require a complex process of revisions or additional review before approval. Construction should never begin until after the agency grants final approval and issues the building permits.

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 and $70 per hour when you hire a building permit service

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

Permit services help homeowners save time and avoid fines, stop-work orders, or legal action regarding their projects. These services are a great alternative for homeowners who'd rather not deal with all the paperwork themselves.

FAQs

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, although some minor projects are approved right away. Depending on the project, commercial properties may take up to four weeks for approval. 

Check with your local authorities to see what documentation is needed, which projects qualify for quick turnarounds, and if they’re experiencing any delays with the approval process. 

What happens if you build without a permit?

If you're caught building without a permit, your local agency may force you to shut down your project and pay hefty fines to gain compliance. Fines often result in costs that match or exceed the total cost of the renovation project itself—meaning you should never risk not getting a permit in the name of saving money.

Can a homeowner pull their own permits?

Yes, homeowners can pull their permits by inquiring with their local agencies and providing 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 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 subcontractors and laborers. However, the major downside to this type of permit is that you’re subject to great financial risk if you don’t meet deadlines on time or if a worker you hire gets hurt on the job.

Still Have Questions? Ask Experienced Local Permit Services.
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