With sunny weather, we in Albany turn to thoughts of outdoors and backyards. Maybe you're ready to replace or add a deck, patio cover, or some other outdoor enhancement to your home.
Depending on the project, permits or land use approvals may be required. The Community Development Department’s Building Division has identified some common projects that may or may not require building permits.
Patio covers are a great way to create seasonal outdoor living space. Smaller patio covers may be exempt from permitting requirements. Larger patio covers will require permits, and in most cases, an engineer or architect’s design.
Patio covers meeting all of the following criteria would not require building permits:
- 200 square feet or less; and
- Supported by an exterior wall of the adjacent building; and
- Has a height of 12 feet or less; and
- On the longest wall and one additional wall, 65 percent of the walls are open or enclosed with glass, other opaque material, or screen below 80-inches in height; and
- Cover does not extend into the required setback from the property line (typically five feet)
Decks and Patios
Decks and patios provide a great place to play and enjoy your yard.
Decks and patios that are entirely within 30 inches of the ground do not require permits, where no point within 36 inches out from the deck’s edge exceeds the 30 inch height.
Two story decks and decks 30 inches or more above the ground would require a building permit.
As you are sprucing up your landscaping or performing a backyard makeover, retaining walls that exceed four feet in height from the footing to the top of the wall will require a building permit.
Smaller walls that support structures, driveways, and uphill slopes will also require building permits.
Most accessory structures will require a building permit.
Smaller accessory structures for tool sheds, shops, gazebos, pergola, carports, and garages less than 200 square feet and less than 15 feet tall do not require a permit; however, they do need to comply with setbacks from the property line. The height limitation is measured from the ground to the average height of the highest roof. Structures that are used for living space, regardless of size, will require a building permit.
When considering a new accessory structure, please keep in mind many purchased at the home improvement stores and similar resellers will not meet building code requirements. Often these structures require alterations or engineering to meet building code requirements during the permitting process.
Fences do not require a permit, but in most residential areas have a maximum height of six feet. Fences near the front yard have other height limitations.
Prior to placing a fence, we recommend talking with City planning staff for more details.
For questions about your project, contact the Community Development staff:
Staff are available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to assist with permitting requirements or questions you may have about your projects.
Additional handouts, guides, and applications can be found at cd.cityofalbany.net.