Contemplating a project? You may need a permit

Last week, this column explained the parameters of renovations that do not require a building permit within the City of Prescott. This week, we are going to address the items that do require a building permit. Next week we will look at these same issues for Yavapai County.

Each building plan for most residential projects must obtain the appropriate permits before construction can begin. The city permitting process is designed to ensure that all applicable federal, state and city regulations as well as local building codes and safety standards are enforced. If you have any questions, call the City of Prescott Building Department at 777-1356.

A building permit in the City of Prescott is required for the following:

• One-story new residential structure and/or detached residential accessory buildings on residential property being used as tool/storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, if the floor area exceeds 200 square feet under the roof. A permit is required even if the building does not have plumbing, electrical or mechanical components.

• Roofing if the sheathing is being replaced.

• Installation of hot water heaters. The reason is the hot water heater is a device that is connected to the main electrical and/or gas supply line, and this is considered a health and safety concern.

• Expansion tanks are now required on all water heaters for new installations and/or replacement tanks. Water heaters for manufactured housing require a manufactured housing label on the tank itself.

• Any porches, whether enclosed or not, require a permit. The reason behind this is any porch affects the egress of the building, and this is a safety issue.

• All construction projects must take into consideration the snowfall for the Prescott area. This is the amount of snowfall per foot and prevents roof collapse. This is a safety issue, and this is why all roofs, porches, etc., must have a permit.

• Any window replacement, multiple or a single window, requires a permit. The issues pertaining to window replacement affect energy code, egress and historical value. Our area stipulates that all windows must have a thermal factor to save energy. So, single-pane windows can no longer be installed. There needs to be 5.6 square feet of egress area in a sleeping room. For ex-

ample, if you are replacing a smaller window in a sleeping room, code now stipulates that you must install a larger window. If you are replacing windows on a historical home, the window needs to work with the historical architecture of the home.

• Drywall repairs over 2 sheets of drywall being replaced in a sheer wall require a permit. The definition of a shear wall is a wall that reinforces lateral movement so the wall does not collapse.

• Walls and fences over 4 feet high. The "pretty side" of the fence must face out, meaning the neighbor gets to have the pretty view and does not see the nailing, support bars, etc.

• Construction of a swimming pool more than 18 inches deep. If you purchase a pool from a retail store and the pool is over 18 inches deep, a site plan permit is required to assure adequate fencing.

• Replacement of any exterior door and jamb. The door alone does not require a permit.

• Installation of any yard lines: gas, electrical and water.

• Changing appliance locations in a remodel, such a moving a range or dishwater or refrigerator; changing locations of water closets; or adding a shower or bathtub.

• Water lines for landscaping must have a backflow preventer, and this requires approval from the Public Works Department.

• Backwater valves require a permit.

• Any change-outs or upgrades to the electric panel.

• Installation of a new HVAC system.

• Major stucco repair and replacement of siding. Normal maintenance does not require a permit.

• Concrete flat work such as patios, driveways and sidewalks. Non-structural slab on grade items do not require permits. Vertical structures and anything with a footing require a permit.

• Septic tanks in the City of Prescott are permitted through Yavapai County.

• Wells are also permitted through Yavapai County. The City of Prescott must approve the location of the well. If city water is provided to this particular area, the residence is required to attach to city water unless the owner can qualify under ARS Statutes for an exemption.

• Evaporative coolers do not require a permit unless they are roof-mounted.

The City of Prescott Building Department is the statutory authority that oversees the building control with the city. It ensures safety, livability and sustainability of our built environment. Our city building department regulates building practices, provides services to the consumers, and brings better building practices to our area.

To avoid becoming a victim, YCCA encourages anyone thinking of hiring a contractor to check with YCCA to verify that the person or company is licensed to do contract work in Arizona and is in current license standing with the ROC.

Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to ycca@cableone.net or through www.ycca.org.