Do I Need a Permit to Build a Pergola?
Are you planning to install a pergola in your outdoor space? Normally one of the first questions people ask is, “Do I need a permit for a pergola?” Often a pergola does not require a building permit, but exceptions exist. Installing a pergola is similar to other outdoor home improvement projects, so it’s highly recommended to investigate the regulatory requirements in your area as part of your initial planning phase. Do not wonder, “do I need a building permit for a pergola?” — find out for sure before you make a purchase to avoid headaches and additional costs later.
While exploring common requirements, Pergola Depot cannot offer legal advice. Every locality has different ordinances, so customers must make sure their pergola plans comply with local laws, building codes and zoning regulations prior to construction.
Why Do I Need A Permit To Build a Pergola?
Building standards are in place to ensure proper construction materials and techniques are used. In addition, the size and location of the pergola often dictate whether a building permit for the pergola is needed. A free-standing pergola next to a house is often considered an architectural element, but the rules may change if the pergola is attached.
Possible Types of Building Permits for a Pergola
Pergola code requirements vary by state, county and municipality. If you do need a permit to build a pergola, you will likely need an engineer-approved project plan to secure the necessary permits. Some of the most common regulations that will affect construction are:
- Planning permits – These require adherence to aesthetic aspects and boundary regulations.
- Zoning laws – There may be limits to the number of structures on the property, the distance from the property line, etc.
- Building and fire codes – If the pergola exceeds a certain size, is attached to a house or will be placed near neighbors, the likelihood of needing a building permit for the pergola increases. Pergola height clearance may also be a factor.
- Historical district aesthetic guidelines – The district may dictate the materials, locations and style.
- Homeowners association – They will be able to tell you if front yard pergolas are allowed, size limitations and more.
Do I Need a Permit for a Pergola if I Have an HOA?
If your home is in a community with a homeowner’s association, you will also need to confirm what types of outdoor structures you can build on your property according to the association bylaws.
Their pergola building code can also include guidelines for:
- Pergola height restrictions
- Location considerations such as whether front yard pergolas are allowed and will they block a neighbor’s view
- Distance from property lines
- Pergola height clearance
If I Do Need a Building Permit for a Pergola, What Will Make it Easier?
Construction permits are a necessary part of the building process. If you are proactive and follow these guidelines, getting a building permit for a pergola will be a much smoother process.
- Know your municipality – Each city has different requirements. Be sure you know what you need to submit and when to avoid boosting your pergola construction cost with unnecessary fines or having to tear down and start over.
- Be organized – Make sure to provide all required documents, architectural plans and other necessary paperwork to expedite the approval process. Have the specifications regarding the pergola design, materials, measurements, location, etc., finalized before you go.
- Familiarize yourself with the pergola building code – Use the correct terminology to avoid confusion. For example, most pergolas do not have an actual roof, so using that term may create problems with the building permit for your pergola. Calling the pergola a gazebo or carport may change the portions of the code that apply and put a kink in the approval process. If you do plan to add corrugated roofing or other popular roofing types, make sure to include that in your paperwork.
- Choose a pergola kit – Our pergola kits come in many different styles and sizes, so you are sure to find one that complements your style and complies with building codes in your area. A kit can make the process easier for you and the zoning board.
- Hire a contractor – If you don’t want to be bothered or don’t have the time to deal with obtaining a building permit for the pergola and installation, you can hire a contractor to take care of it. Check our installer directory to see if there is someone in your area that meets your project requirements. They may also be able to answer the “do you need a permit to build a pergola” question and build it properly.
Discover How Pergola Depot Kits Make Getting a Building Permit for a Pergola Easier
Our pergola kits come complete with high-quality materials and detailed step-by-step assembly instructions. And if the answer to the question of “do I need a permit to build a pergola?” is yes, a prefab pergola kit can sometimes be easier to submit for approval than building a DIY pergola from scratch. For several of our pergola styles, we can provide an engineered drawing upon request after you purchase your kit, that can be used to pull permits or for HOA approvals. Just let us know about those possible requirements when you place your order. Shop for your ideal wood pergola today!