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How Much Is A Building Permit?

Most homeowners spend between $870 to $3,928 nationally.
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Whether you’re planning to renovate your property or add an extension, the correct building permits are essential. State and local authorities require the permits to ensure you comply with all necessary building codes, and if you proceed without them, you may have to tear down your hard work.

See the costs of all permits below and then, get quotes from local contractors to help with your next home improvement project.

National Get a Building Permit Costs

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Median Cost


Minimum Cost


Maximum Cost
Average Range:


National Average Cost $12,336
Minimum Cost $75
Maximum Cost $130,000
Average Range $870 to $3,928
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How do we get this data? This info is based on 20 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.

Table of Contents

  1. Building Permit Cost
  2. Building Permit Cost Factors
  3. Projects That Require Building Permits
  4. Why Are Permits Required?
  5. How To Get A Building Permit
  6. Permit Services
  7. Find A Pro

Building Permit Cost

The cost of a permit depends on the nature of the work and the cost of the project, and it often varies between jurisdictions. Usually, the price ranges from $398 to $1,561, with an average cost of $979. Permits for small projects cost as little as $100, while a permit for major renovation and building work costs as much as $3,240. These permit costs are an unavoidable expense related to building projects, so you must factor them into your budget right from the start regardless of whether you’re building a new home or extending an existing property.

Building Permit Cost Factors

Building Permit Cost Factors

Permit costs vary in different jurisdictions. Depending on your location and the nature of your project, some or all of the following factors may affect the price of a permit:

  • The size and quality of the new structure
  • Intended use of the new structure
  • Location (proximity to schools, for example)
  • The complexity level of the work involved, including whether it's necessary to demolish an existing property
  • The value of the work (the quoted contract price)
  • The number of permits you require
  • The length of time it takes for the building authority to evaluate the application
  • Any inspection fees

Projects That Require Building Permits

Permit requirements vary in different states, counties, cities and towns, so it's important to familiarize yourself with the requirements before beginning any construction project on your own property. Common construction projects that require permits include:

  • Constructing a new building, such as a guest house, garage or gazebo. Other outside construction work, such as permanent fencing, may also require a permit depending on your location.
  • Extending an existing structure with new rooms, a patio or some decking.
  • Renovating your property, including projects such as modernizing a kitchen or bathroom, or altering the exterior appearance of your house. Making structural changes as part of remodeling your home, such as moving walls, also requires a permit.
  • Installing new electrical wiring and home automation systems, plumbing systems or mechanical systems.

Projects That Require Building Permits

Why Are Permits Required?

Acquiring building permits is a legal obligation. The permits define the work you intend to do on a new or existing property, and serve as formal approval of your plans by the designated agency, in accordance with all applicable laws. To ensure you do not stray from your original plans, agents visit your construction site at various stages to approve the work; and failure to adhere to your permit's guidelines may have serious consequences.

The necessity to apply for a building permit helps to ensure that any new structure, or any modification to an existing structure, meets health and safety regulations. For example, improper electrical wiring may pose a fire hazard; but submitting for a permit verifies that your plans are not dangerous, and the subsequent site visits ensure the work is up to code. Permits may also be necessary to ensure a property is in keeping with its surroundings and that it doesn't encroach beyond your property boundaries.

How To Get A Building Permit

It's your responsibility to get the relevant permits before you start work. Talk to a contractor to get a quote for the proposed project, and then contact your local governing agency to get the proper forms. Your contractor should be able to help you determine which permits you require, and may even complete the paperwork.

Never assume that submitting the forms means you’re in a position to begin work. The agency may reject your proposal, or ask for alterations to meet certain building legislations. Only start the project once you have received the proper authorization.

How To Get A Building Permit

Permit Services

If you’re uncertain about completing permit applications correctly, or your local zoning laws leave you scratching your head in confusion, you may want to employ a permit service. These companies make your construction project simpler by handling the permit application for you. Experts on the staff fill out all of the application forms, ensuring the details are accurate, and then they track the status of your project.

Expert knowledge relating to local regulations and laws positions the permit service to expedite the application, leaving you free to focus on managing other aspects of the project. Hiring a permit service increases your initial budget; however, the service comes with a considerable list of time- and money-saving benefits:

  • Streamlining the process, potentially reducing the overall length of the project.
  • Reducing the risk of mistakes while completing forms, and recognizing potential problems prior to application.
  • Reducing the risk of fines and legal action.
  • Tracking payments.
  • Freeing up your personal time and reducing stress.
  • Freeing up your contractor or construction manager's time, so he or she can spend more time on construction.

Find A Pro

While your construction or remodeling project is still in the planning phase, you need to determine which permits are necessary, and then apply for them before any work begins. Part of the application process involves providing the contract quote for the intended work, so you need to find a pro to give you a price. ImproveNet's makes it easy to find local contractors. In addition to providing a quote, most contractors are happy to assist with the permit application process, and may even complete the forms on your behalf.

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