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Do you need a permit for a pergola?

Do you need a permit for a pergola? - Proline Range Hoods

If you’re renovating your outdoor space, you probably have a lot of different projects going on. Landscaping, installing outdoor flooring, outdoor appliances, buying grill accessories…the list goes on. You might have considered installing a pergola in your outdoor space.

But there are a lot of questions to answer before you get started – especially for the beginner DIYer. Do you need a permit for a pergola?

The short answer is: it depends on your local area. Depending on the area, you might have to abide by state, city, or even county regulations for pergola installation. Visit your local area’s government website to learn more about their building permit requirements. Look for the building services or permits office phone number and give them a call.

Finding codes online rather than talking to a person is never as reliable because they can go out of date. Not to mention codes are different in every area.

To find info on pergola permits, a good place to start is to search “do I need a permit for a pergola in (city name).” (City name) would be your local area. So, for example, “Do I need a permit for a pergola in Salt Lake City?”

Next, look for the .gov website for your city. In most cases, it will be on the first page of Google. Keep in mind that several other websites will provide secondhand information. Your local .gov website is the most reliable, official source.

Every .gov website differs, but most will at least inform you about the basic permit requirements for pergolas. You might find a phone number or links to other resources on how to apply for a permit as well.

If you don't obtain a permit when it’s required, you could be subject to hefty fees. So it’s best to do your due diligence and ensure you’re up to code.

Permit Regulations for Pergolas

Outdoor patio with pergola - Do you need a permit for a pergola?

Each area will have different restrictions on the pergola size, location, and distance from property lines, among other things. I looked at a few different websites and they specified 100 square feet and 200 square feet max for a pergola.

Now you might understand why it’s important to look at your specific area. If you end up on the wrong site you could install a pergola that’s not up to code in your area. One hundred square feet would be 10x10 and 200 square feet would be 10x20 or about 14x14.

You’ll also find the distance from property lines is specified in almost all regulations. In addition, most permits allow people to install pergolas in their backyard but not in the front yard. Thankfully, they’re most common in backyards thanks to outdoor patios. So this detail probably doesn’t impact you.

But just be aware that where you install your pergola matters. Requirements may also differ for pergolas attached to the home vs. freestanding pergolas.

Some codes may require that your pergola wood supports a certain amount of weight, so look out for that.

Have a contractor apply for the permit.

There are so many regulations to be aware of when it comes to applying for a permit to install your pergola. Keep in mind that if you take out the permit, you’re responsible for ensuring the structure is up to code.

That’s why it’s best to leave it to a contractor. Hire a professional who will apply for the permit and be liable for installing your outdoor structures up to code. That way you don’t have to worry about something that you probably don’t have much experience with.

Homeowners Associations

HOAs can have slightly different or additional requirements when it comes to building permits. If you’re building a pergola or other outdoor structure, you should notify your HOA. Make sure it abides by all their rules or they could force you to take it down. Rather than looking up the rules in writing, talk to someone directly so you can be sure that you’re up to code.

Do you need a permit for a pergola in Salt Lake City?

The Salt Lake City government specifies that you’ll need a permit for “playhouses and similar uses” under 200 square feet. Presumably, this includes pergolas and other patio covers, but you should call the building services office to confirm. You can contact Salt Lake City Building Services at (801) 535-6000.

Learn more about pergola permit requirements at this link.

That’s all for our post on permit requirements for pergolas. Always check your local government’s website and give them a call to verify permit requirements. County requirements should take precedence over city requirements. If neither is specified, follow the state’s regulations. For the smoothest experience, hire a contractor and have them apply for the permit.

Good luck with your installation! For more outdoor DIY advice, check out the articles below!

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