Frequently Asked Questions
A building permit is required as part of your repair, addition, or new construction project. A building permit provides both the City and the homeowner with a record that your project was approved through the City. The permit also ensures that the construction project is inspected upon completion and in compliance with the City’s codes and regulations.Questions frequently arise on what type of work requires a building permit. This guide is designed to provide information regarding different types of improvement projects, building permits, and answer frequently asked questions. If you have any additional questions or concerns that are not addressed within this guide, the Building Inspection Department is available at City Hall to help.
What is a building permit?
A Building Permit is a document issued by the Building Inspector that authorizes specific instruction activities such as new construction, repairs, remodels, or adding on to pre-existing structures. For certain projects, the inspector may require receipt of construction plans prior to issuance of the permit. Most times if a project requires a permit, construction activities must be inspected during construction, after completion, or both. When a permit is obtained, it must be displayed in a window, so that it is visible from the street, throughout the entire duration of the project.
Types of Permits:
- Building Alteration/Repair Permit
- Electrical Alteration/Repair Permit
- HVAC Alteration/Repair Permit
- Plumbing Alterations/Repairs Permit
- Deck Permit
- Demolition Permit
- Erosion Control Permit
- Fence Permit
- Permit to Start Early Construction
- Swimming Pool Permit – Above Ground
- Swimming Pool Permit – In Ground
What types of projects do not require a permit?
1. No building permit is required for work to be performed which is minor repair or minor maintenance of a building or structure. Work consisting only of maintenance or repair the cost of materials for which is less than $1,000 and which does not change the occupancy, area, structural strength, fire protection, exits, lights, sanitation or ventilation of a building or structure shall be presumed to be minor repair or minor maintenance.
2. Residential accessory buildings and storage sheds not used to house motor vehicles and less than eighty (80) square feet in floor area.
3. Satellite dishes and antennas intended for private residential use
4. Buildings and structures not within the scope of the building code (playground equipment, dog house, and similar structures)
5. Note – The construction referred to in this section shall comply with all building, zoning, and applicable codes regardless of building permit requirement.
How much will my permit cost?
For work under $5,000, the minimum permit fee is $50.00. For work over $5,000, the fee is calculated as 1% of the cost of the work being done. Other projects such as decks and fences have their own permit fees. For a detailed breakdown of permit fees, please refer to the fee schedule below.
Am I required to hire a licensed contractor?
Licensed contractors are only required for rental properties. It is not necessary to hire licensed contractors for single-family homes if the owner of the property resides at the property. Visit dsps.wi.gov for more information on licensed contractors.
How do I schedule an inspection?
Inspections can be scheduled by contacting the Building Inspector by phone or email.
City of Monroe Building Inspector
When is a building permit needed?
Building permits are required for any projects that are changing the structure of a building or when the cost for materials for maintenance or repair exceeds $1,000. Permits are also required for roofing projects, fences, decks, pools, and plumbing, electrical, or HVAC work.
Some common types of work that require a permit are:
- New home construction
- New garage construction
- Additions to an existing building or structure
- Sheds/Accessory buildings over 80 square feet in size
- Fences longer than 15 feet
- New Windows
- Fireplace installation
- Hot water heater installation
- Demolition of existing structures
- Finishing a basement
- Moving a mobile home
- Electrical work
- Plumbing work
How do I obtain a permit?
Building permit applications can be filled out here.
What is required to obtain the permit?
In order for the City to process the permit, we require the job address, owner’s information, contractor information (if any), and for some projects, a detailed sketch is required showing site plans, which must include the setbacks from all lot lines.
How long does it take to receive the permit?
Once all of the required information and drawings are provided, the permit is typically issued within 2-3 business days.
How long is my permit good for?
Building permits are good for a period of 2 years. If any building or work in progress is suspended or abandoned for a period of 6 months, the permit shall expire regardless of when the work was initially commenced. Before work can resume, a new permit must be obtained.
How do I know where my lot lines are?
If you are unsure of where your lot lines are, it is your responsibility to contact a surveyor to have the property surveyed. The Building Inspection Department does not provide surveying services.
Information on: Building a garage or accessory building
Detached garages may not exceed 864 square feet, and must not exceed 18 feet in height. Said structure shall be at least 6 feet from the rear lot line, 4 feet from interior lot lines, and 25 feet from the front lot line, and 10 feet from the primary dwelling. Driveways must be at least 4 feet from the lot lines.
Accessory buildings and garden sheds can only be placed in the rear yard of the property. The accessory building should be no less than 6 feet from the rear lot line, 2 feet from any interior lot line, and 10 feet from any principal building. The accessory building may not occupy more than 30% of the total lot area. Sheds that are over 80 square feet in size must have a foundation or a concrete slab.
Information on: Building a Deck
Construction of a deck has its own separate permit fee of $100.00 regardless of the size of the deck.
Information on: Building a Fence
Any fence over 15 feet in length requires a building permit. Fences may not be any closer than 2 feet to any public right-of-way. Fences in the rear yard must not exceed 6 feet in height, and fences in any other part of the lot other than a rear yard must not exceed 4 feet in height. Fences may be installed to the property line.
The Building Inspector requires a drawing/site plan showing the location of the fence and the setbacks from all lot lines.
Information on: Pools
It is required that properties in which a swimming pool is located shall maintain a permanent fence or solid structure that completely encloses the swimming pool. The permanent fence or structure must be placed within 10 days of the completion of construction. The fence or structure shall be no less than 4 feet in height. Each gate and door opening through the fence or structure shall be equipped with a self-closing and self-latching device designed to and capable of keeping the door or gate securely closed at all times when not in use. Except for gates and doors, no opening in the fence or structure shall exceed 6 inches square.
Accessory Building or Structure:
A building or structure, other than a fence:
1. Which is subordinate to and services a principal building or a principal use legally existing on the same zoning lot;
2. Which is subordinate in area, extent and purpose to the principal building or use;
3. Which contributes to the comfort, convenience, or necessity of the occupants, business or industry of the principal structure or principal use served; and
4. Which is located on the same zoning lot as the principal structure or principal use served.
Detached Residential Garage: A one-story accessory building used or intended for the storage of motor vehicles, boats, or trailers.
Fence: A barrier consisting of vegetation, wood, stone, metal, or other material intended to prevent ingress or egress.
Front Lot Line: The boundary of a lot which abuts an existing or dedicated public street or vehicular access for private use from a basic street.
Front Yard: An open unoccupied space on the same lot with the main building, extending the full width of the lot and situated between the front lot line and the front lot line of the building projected to the side lot lines.
Garden Shed: A structure with a maximum gross area of 80 square feet and a maximum height of 12 feet, which structure is used or designed primarily for the storage of lawn and garden equipment.
Principal Building: A non-accessory building in which is conducted the principal use of the lot on which it is located.
Principal Use: The main use of land or buildings as distinguished from a subordinate or accessory use.
1. A structure, including a carport, attached to a one-family dwelling or two-family dwelling and capable of being used for storage of not more than 3 vehicles, one of which may be a commercial vehicle of no more than ¾ ton capacity, a trailer, or a motor home.
2. A structure designed to house one motor vehicle for each family housed in an apartment.
Public Garage: A structure, other than a private garage, designed used, or intended to be used for parking and storage of self-propelled vehicles for remuneration.
Rear Lot Line: That lot line which is opposite and most distant from the front lot line. In the case of an irregular, triangular or gore-shaped lot, a line 10 feet in length entirely within the lot, parallel to and most distant from the front lot line shall be considered to be the rear lot line for the purpose of determining depth of rear yard. In cases where none of these definitions is applicable, the Zoning Administrator shall designate the rear lot line.
Rear Yard: An open space on the same lot with a main building, extending the full width of the lot and situated between the rear lot line and the rear line of the building projected to the side lot lines.
Side lot line: Any lot line not a front lot line or a rear lot line.
Side Yard: An open unoccupied space on the same lot with a main building, situated between the side of the building and the adjacent side lot line and extending from the rear line of the front yard to the front line of the rear yard. If there is no front yard, the front boundary of the side yard shall be the front lot line, and if there is no rear yard, the rear boundary of the side yard shall be the rear lot line. The street side yard on corner lots shall extend from the rear of the front yard to the rear of the lot line.
Structure: Anything constructed or erected, the use of which requires more or less permanent location on the ground.