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Building Department Permits
If you are planning a building project such as a new deck, garage, addition, a basement remodel, or if you intend to install a new furnace or hot water heater, don't forget to check with the Rochester Hills Building Department. Most likely you or your contractor will need to obtain a permit.

The Building Department staff is concerned about the safety of you and your family. We have professional, trained inspectors that can help you with your project by inspecting to make sure the work is done properly. You can ensure your home will be safe for all to enjoy by working with our Building Department team.

Please review the items noted below to see if you need a permit for the work you are proposing. If you are unsure after reviewing this list, please call the Building Department at 248.656.4615, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Building Permits

A building permit IS NOT required for:

  • Re-roofing of existing structure with no structural changes or repairs.
  • Aluminum or vinyl siding with no structural work.
  • Repair or replacement of windows with no structural work.
  • Repair or replacement of exterior concrete work, sidewalks, driveways, patios, etc. on private property.
  • Repair or replacement of front porch concrete cap with no structural work and the area is not enlarged or altered.
  • Repair or replacement of interior/exterior doors with no structural work.
  • Landscaping on a private property
    • Restricitions may apply to work proposed in drainage areas and easements.
    • A permit from Engineering Services is required for any work in the right-of-way.
  • Installing a fence on private property.
  • Structures 200 square feet or less
    • The structure must be located in the side or rear yard and 5 feet or more from property lines.
  • Play structures
    • The structure must be located in the side or rear yard and 5 feet or more from property lines.

A building permit IS required for: 

  • Demolition work (structures over 200 square feet)
  • All work involving structural changes (roof framing, enlarging windows, interior remodeling, etc.)
  • Accessory structures larger than 200 square feet (sheds, gazebos, garages, etc.)
  • Wood decks
  • Pools (above-ground and in-ground)
  • Basement finishes
  • Additions (living areas, attached garages, covered porches, patios, etc.)
  • New Houses

Mechanical Permits

A mechanical permit IS NOT required for:

  • Portable heating or gas appliance
  • Portable ventilation
  • Portable cooling unit
  • A window-type air conditioner not more than 1.5 horsepower

A mechanical permit IS required for:

  • Replacing a water heater
  • Replacing a furnace
  • Installing a gas fireplace
  • Installing gas piping
  • Replacement or installation of an air conditioning unit
  • Any additions or alterations done to the heating, air conditioning or ventilation system in your home

Electrical Permits

An electrical permit IS NOT required for:

  • Minor repairs and maintenance
  • Replacing lighting
  • Replacing an existing outlet

An electrical permit IS required for:

  • Installing a new circuit
  • Replacing the service panel (breaker box)
  • Installing a new air conditioning unit
  • Any additions or alterations done to the electrical system in your house

Plumbing Permits

A plumbing permit IS NOT required for:

  • Replacement of existing fixtures
  • Repair of leaks that do not require the installation of new material
  • Cleaning stoppages in the pipes or fixtures

A plumbing permit IS required for:

  • Replacing a water heater
  • Installing new fixtures such as a sink, toilet, shower or bathtub
  • Relocating existing fixtures
  • Any additions or alterations done to the plumbing system in your home


The Rochester Hills Building Department has prepared informational booklets on many common building projects, which give a complete description of the permit process and required paperwork. These can be found on the Construction Guidebooks webpage. 


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