Do You Need a Permit for a Carport?

Carports provide cost-effective protection for vehicles in some of the most challenging climates throughout the country. Making the decision to build a carport is a smart move, especially considering some of the recent trends we’re seeing in the steel industry.

But what about permitting? Is a carport considered a permitted structure that requires the same front-end paperwork filing as, say, a barn, house extension, or irrigation well?

In this article, we’re going to be answering this question and giving you some things to think about if you’re curious about the permitting process when it comes to carports. And, we’re also going to be sharing some facts about steel carports in particular—why they’re in such high demand, and what you need to know before pulling the trigger on a new steel carport purchase.

Steel Carport Construction Rules and Regulations

Across the U.S., there is a good general rule to use to determine if a structure is going to require a permit from the city or other government authority.

That rule is if the structure is going to be above a certain height and/or permanently (or even temporarily, in some cases) anchored into the ground.

Some structures might seem to fit the description of a project that might need a permit, when really they don’t. A good example of this is a flagpole cemented into the ground. However, other structures that may seem like a no-brainer for a no-permit installation can sometimes require one. An example would be storage sheds or even small patio extensions in some cases.

The bottom line is this: residential construction permitting laws vary not only from state to state, but from county to county and from city to city. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether or not you’ll need a permit to build your new carport.

Steel Carport Building Permit Basics

If you’re brand new to the building permit process, there are some key facts that will help you.

What is a building permit?

A building permit is essentially proof of permission granted by a local municipal authority allowing the property owner to construct a building according to predefined specifications spelled out in the permitting process.

Building permits are issued when a proposed structure needs to be evaluated for its compliance with established Building Codes. If there was no permitting process required at all, then anyone could build anything they wanted, obstructing the landscape, erecting unsafe dwellings, or building commercial structures in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

Building permits and building codes help to maintain consistency, safety, and architectural soundness standards that are necessary for cities and towns to function optimally.

Obtaining a Permit for your Steel Carport

In some cases, property owners are free to build whatever unattached structures they wish as long as they’re within certain dimensions and aren’t used as a dwelling. This is more common in rural areas.

To determine if you’re going to need a permit for your new carport, the first step is to contact your local government office. This can be as easy as making a phone call to the City Hall or county administration office.

If you do find out that you’ll need a permit for your new carport, take these following tips into consideration:

  1. Get started on the permitting process as early as possible. Once you know you need a permit, it will be much easier to get the ball rolling on obtaining it before your installation is scheduled.
  2. Have a plan with plans. Most permit-issuing authorities want to see building plans before they agree to permit a new construction project. So, acquire any blueprints, architectural drawings, or other documents for review by the city or county.
  3. Have utility lines marked. For permanent structural steel carports that use anchor bolts on a concrete pad, this is especially important.
  4. Use a licensed contractor. When planning a project as important as this, it pays to work with a building contractor who is experienced and licensed in your state. It’s also going to be a requirement for many permitting authorities.

What about free-standing carports, or carports made of tubular steel that aren’t permanently secured?

Unfortunately, even these structures can sometimes need to be permitted before their construction begins. Your best bet is to check with your local government offices if there is any question whatsoever.

Why Build a Steel Carport Now?

The steel industry has undergone some significant changes in recent months.

We’re experiencing unprecedented lead times for custom-sized structural steel components. This means that your new steel carport could be kitted and delivered to you within 4-6 weeks.

What’s more, it’s never been easier to get one-on-one help from a qualified, experienced carport expert at BackYard Storage. We’ll help you find the right carport for your needs, walk you through the purchasing process, and make sure your permitting requirements are met well in advance so there are no surprises.

Ready to get started? Contact us today!

Browse our online inventory for a little inspiration, and then contact us or come by one of our convenient locations and talk to us. We’re ready to show you what you can do!

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