What you should know about building permits for a pergola.

A handyman recently asked me if his customer needed a pergola permit for their project or not. Since this is a fairly common question whenever anyone is looking to add a structure to their yard, I thought it would be a good idea to outline some basic permitting rules.

Start with your city building license and permit office

Every city has different regulations and laws so I cannot just tell you straight out whether you will need a permit or not. We always start with this site to find the local website or office the covers this topic. There is about a 50/50 chance you will need a permit according to our experience. If you are attaching your pergola to the side of the house, the chances are a bit higher that you will need to comply with some structural rules. Now, since a pergola is not a true room addition without walls and without a complete roof, even when a permit is needed, the guidelines are less strict in order to get clearance.

In other words, even if you need to get one, you should not let this deter you as it is a very simple process. We’ve found that simply submitting the pergola plan with dimensions and a material list along with a photo of the intended site for the pergola, that permits are very quickly issued if needed.

Check your HOA

A more critical potential source of building restrictions would be a homeowner’s association. If you live in an area that is covered by one, then absolutely do NOT skip clearing your plans with them.

Even though we’ve covered this topic before, I feel it is something that needs to be discussed every so often to keep it fresh for new visitors because it is such an important place to begin when you are considering a do it yourself pergola building project.

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About Lou E Greene/PergolaDIY

Author of How To Build a Pergola in One Weekend. Member of the PergolaDIY team who feels like they have learned every hard lesson there is to learn about DIY pergola building! We share our knowledge so you can complete your projects without any bumps or bruises. Really!

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