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Do I Need a Permit to Build a Patio Cover in the US?

A new patio or a gazebo could be just the right addition to your house this year! Putting together a beautiful patio with the right patio cover adorning your garden space can give your home the cozy uplift it may be missing.

Even though the idea of designing and building a patio cover might seem glamorous, there are a few things to consider before starting the actual process. 

The first step in the process of getting your stunning patio cover ready is to review local laws and see if you have permission to build a structure.

Then comes the important question- do you need a valid permit to build a patio cover for us? The answer is a resounding yes! 

Let us dive deeper into permits and patio covers and take you through the process of how the legalities work.

Let us jump right in. 

Do I Need a Permit to Build a Patio Cover? Why? 

By local and state bylaws in the US, a permit is required while building a structure within your building boundary and/or as an extension of your home.

While the permit requirements are pretty similar, they vary from state to state and are generally governed by a local body, such as a municipality. 

A permit protects your home and construction site from dangers and fire hazards as it will be built legally within safety standards. City permits attempt to ensure that when a structure is built, it will be structurally stable. 

Having a permit in hand also provides a record of work which will be helpful during routine site inspections on the project.

In a nutshell, a permit provides all-around protection and is a necessary step when deciding to build a patio cover in your backyard. 

The State of Idaho Patio Cover Permit Requirements

In the state of Idaho, there are certain exceptions with respect to obtaining permits.

In general, you can either get a permit yourself or hire a contractor to do the heavy work for you. Some patio cover builders, such as ShadeWorks, will obtain the permit for you when you choose to build with them. In Idaho, homeowners can carry out construction work on their residences without registering themselves as certified contractors.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind while obtaining a permit in the state of Idaho:

  • If you decide to act as a subcontractor while building your patio cover, you will need to obtain the permit yourself and carry out the work itself – this includes all electrical, plumbing, and mechanical works.
  • In cases where you are not doing all the work yourself and are taking care of the design and carpentry by hiring an external contractor for other works (such as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing works), the contractor must be registered and licensed in the trade within the state of Idaho.

Permits & Patio Standards

Within the state of Idaho, there is a certain standard of patio cover design that is generally followed, which can essentially speed up the permit process.

For instance, as a general thumb rule, the height restriction for patio cover is within 15 feet.

Similarly, it is recommended by Idaho state to follow a standardized pole size of 4”x6”.

While it is good to adhere to these norms and standards, it is not entirely mandatory nor required to comply with the state’s building codes.

It is advisable to have a licensed design professional onboard to help you with the design and to make the permit process seamless. 

Where Do You Get Permits?

Usually, any permit pertaining to construction is issued by the local government, even though the laws are governed by the state in their entirety. There are building codes that are followed, such as the height permit allowed, different materials to be used,  the distance between pillars, and span charts, to name a few.

There is a statewide bar set for minimum building standards, which must be adhered to in respect of the structure’s design. 

Another important aspect of obtaining a permit is the insurance coverage which you will need to look into as a homeowner and determine whether your home insurance covers the permit. 

Additional Requirements

Certain safety standards but be in place when building a patio cover. 

For instance, by the recommendation of the US Environmental Protection Agency, an EPA-certified renovator should be involved in the construction or renovation of a patio cover, especially when the construction involves painting the surfaces.

It is always advisable to have a licensed contractor on board while constructing the patio cover to be on the safe side. 

shadeworks builders working on a patio cover

The Final Step: Deciding How to Build.

Now that we have covered all the aspects of obtaining a patio cover permit, the next step is a cakewalk.

All you need to do is decide whether you want to take up the contracting work yourself or if you need to hire a registered professional contractor to take care of the substantial amount of work for you. 

If you decide to take up the construction as a big DIY project, then kudos to you! Although the process is daunting, some people have successfully built their own patio covers. 

If you hire a company specializing in building patio covers, such as ShadeWorks, chances are they will provide you with a permit and make the process easy without requiring any work from you. 

Whichever you decide, one thing is sure- your backyard will look gorgeous with a new patio cover!

If you need more outdoor construction tips and some aesthetic inspirations, see our blog for more. 

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