Residential Construction

  • Homeowners: Can I do the work myself?


    Homeowners may perform work on their primary residence without registering as a contractor with the State of Idaho. However:

    • Permit Required: If you act as the sub-contractor on your project you must get a permit for the work and physically perform the work yourself. 
    • Licensed Contractor: If you're not doing all of the work yourself (such as electrical, plumbing or mechanical work), the person performing the work must be a State of Idaho registered and licensed contractor in that trade.


  • Building: When do I need a building permit?

    Building Permits

    You need a Building permit to:

    • Build a one or two family dwelling
    • Finish an attic, garage or basement to create living space
    • Build, demolish or add a room, garage or shed, carport or other attached structure
    • Build, demolish or move any detached garage or shed that is more than 200 sq. ft. in area
    • Cut new window or door opening, widen or reduce the size of existing openings
    • Move, remove or add walls
    • Re-roof an existing structure
    • Build a retaining wall that is measured 4 feet high or more from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall or a 2 foot retaining wall that has a slope/surcharge (requires engineering)
    • Build a deck more than 12 inches high; or put up a fence more than six feet high
    • Construct/add patio cover, carport or porch, or enclose them or any other attached roof area
    • Pour sidewalks slabs and driveways more than 24 inches above adjacent grade or any story or basement
  • Plumbing: When do I need a plumbing permit?

    Plumbing Permits

    You need a Plumbing permit to:

    • Repair, replace, relocate or add to the piping system within your home
    • Install new plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks, showers, tubs, dishwashers, etc.
    • Install or replace an electric water heater
    • Replace existing fixtures if concealed plumbing is required
    • Replumb pipes
  • Mechanical: When do I need a mechanical Permit?

    Mechanical Permits

    Mechanical permits are required when vents and ducts are added, replaced or relocated. This includes: 

    • Dryer or range hood vents 
    • Extending heating ducts
    • Adding registers
    • Replacing furnaces and air conditioning units
    • Installing or changing any part of a heating or cooling system which has ductwork or must be vented to any kind of chimney or vent
    • Install a wood stove or fireplace insert
    • Install, alter or repair gas piping between meter and an appliance (indoor or outdoors)
    • Install a fuel oil tank or install or replace a gas water heater
    • Exhaust bath fans or dryer vents
  • Electrical: When do I need an electrical permit?

    Electrical Permits

    You need an Electrical permit to:

    • Install, change or repair any hard wired electrical system
    • Run any additional wiring, put in an additional electrical outlet or light fixture or change out your fuse box to circuit breakers.
    • Outlets & Switches: A permit is required to add an outlet or switch in any room
    • Outdoor Lighting: An electrical permit is not required if the outdoor lighting is low voltage. A permit is required for 110 volt lighting.
  • Sheds: Do I need a permit to build a garden shed?


    • We don't require a building permit as long as the structure is 200 sq. ft. or less. 
    • If the structure is over 120 sq. ft. (and less than 200 sq. ft.), you need to confirm your property setbacks with Planning & Zoning. Call the Planning counter at (208) 384-3830.
  • Patio Cover: Do I need a permit to add an attached patio cover?

    Patio Covers

    • Attached patio covers require a permit. Added weight will be transferred to the dwelling's exterior wall. The framing should be checked for allowable spans for beams/rafters/support posts and there may be beams/supporting columns which require concrete footings for frost protection. We must also verify the design to provide wind stability (lateral loading).


  • Pergola: Do I need a permit for a stand-alone pergola or gazebo?

    Stand Alone Structures

    • Stand alone structures that exceed 200 square feet in area require a building permit. Gazebo/pergola type structures are usually not of typical "light frame construction" and are treated as pole construction projects that require "structural engineering" done by an Idaho licensed engineer. Height Restrictions: Accessory structures cannot be over 22 feet in height.
  • Remodeling: Do I need a permit to remodel my kitchen, bathroom or do other interior work?

    Interior Work

    • Exempt: The building code exempts interior work such as painting, floor covering, cabinets, counter tops and wall coverings from permit requirements. 
    • Required: A permit is required if the project removes wall coverings to expose the framing; builds a wall or partition (whether bearing or non bearing); relocates sinks, tubs, showers or water closets which require plumbing.
  • Erosion Control: Do I need a permit to control dirt in my backyard?

    Erosion & Sediment Control

    • An erosion and sediment control (ESC) permit is required whenever 5 cubic yards or more of earth is disturbed on a site. Homeowners are exempt from certification requirements.
    • Erosion & Sediment Control information
  • Decks: Do I need a permit for a concrete patio or wood deck?

    Decks and Patios

    • A building permit is required when the wooden deck or concrete patio is more than 12 inches above grade. 
  • Historic Districts: Do I need a permit if my house is in a historic district?

    Historic Distritcs

    • Requirements to obtain a building permit are the same as in non-historic districts. 
    • However, many types of work (windows, siding and tree removal) require a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Planning Division. The certificate must be obtained prior to applying for a building permit or starting any work.
  • Homeowners: What do I need to know when hiring a contractor?

    Hire a Licensed Contractor

    Contractors are licensed by the State of Idaho:

    • Required Licenses: The State of Idaho requires that any individual or company performing Electrical, HVAC or Plumbing work obtain the required licenses.
    • Hire a Licensed Contractor: If you, as the owner, choose to hire a contractor, you must verify that the contractor is properly licensed with the State of Idaho's Division of Building Safety. 
      Search for a Licensed Contractor

    • Make sure your Contractor gets a Permit: Contractors must get the appropriate City of Boise permits for the work they'll perform. Contractors are required to obtain permits in their name. Contractors may not legally perform work under a property owner (homeowner's) permit.
    • Helpful Hints


  • Fences: Do I need a permit to build a fence?


    • Follow all Planning & Zoning requirements for fences in your area.
    • Fences over seven feet high require a building permit.