Do I Need a Building Permit?

City of Laurel Building Permits

In the City of Laurel any owner or owner’s authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or a structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause any such work to be performed, shall first make application to the Inspection Department and obtain the required permit.

Here, we'll discuss how to take these steps regarding researching and obtaining a building permit.

What is a building permit and do I need one?

A building permit is a document issued by a local government when a home or business owner wants to build a new structure, or engage in construction on an existing structure for expansion or repair. A permit must also be issued for all signs.

When you file an application for a building permit, the corresponding government agency reviews the application to make sure the proposed changes comply with all federal, state and local zoning laws, land use standards and construction ordinances.

The City of Laurel’s Inspection Department will ensure the proposed construction does not cause problems with:

  • Structural integrity
  • Fire resistance
  • Proper egress
  • Health concerns
  • Water and sewer lines
  • Extension of electrical service
  • Construction waste

The applicant may also need to obtain permits to cover other aspects of the construction, including electrical, HVAC/mechanical, plumbing, concrete or development.

Obtaining a building permit means that a code-enforcement inspector from the City of Laurel will visit the project site to ensure that the work complies with all building codes and standards. If you do not go through the process of obtaining a building permit, you may run into additional troubles. For example, your project may be shut down, you may be instructed to tear down what you have built so that inspectors can check plumbing, HVAC, or electrical components behind it, and redo the work (this time with a permit), which will cost much more as a result. The City of Laurel will double fine the permit cost, if work is done without a permit. Because of this, it is in your best interest to obtain a permit at the start of your project.

When Do I Need a Permit?

The City of Laurel requires a permit when you are constructing a new building, adding rooms, remodeling, making repairs or updates to your structure. You will also need a permit to demolish a structure, build or replace a fence, or install a swimming pool. Mechanical/HVAC, electrical, and plumbing work will require a separate permit issued to a licensed professional.

EXEMPTIONS for building permits: Retaining walls that are not over four feet tall do not require a permit.  Smaller sheds and decks less than 200 square feet may not need a permit to build either, but a document MUST be signed stating that no one will live in the shed. Simple repairs such as fixing a leaky faucet, repainting inside of dwelling walls, setting up swimming pools less than 24 inches deep, replacing certain kitchen appliances and installing new carpet or floor coverings do not need a permit.

It is always advisable to check with the City of Laurel’s Inspection Department for confirmation if you need a permit or not for your project. The Inspection Department is able to address questions by phone and in-person, so don't hesitate to reach out to find the answers you need!


  • Research the local process to obtain a permit 

A quick search through your city’s website will provide the information you need to know. You can also call the Inspection Department or visit in person, which has the added benefit of letting you get all your questions answered at once.

Some projects require Site plan, Zoning or Historic approval (there will be a fee) before the application can be submitted. Plans of your proposed project in addition to the application forms may be needed. Example, depending on the size of the project, your plans may need a full set of blueprints for a new building, or a simple sketch for the installation of a new door, window, etc. Keep in mind, If your project is extensive, you will likely need to hire an architect or other professional to draw the project as it will be constructed (to show that it will meet building and zoning codes).

  • Prepare and submit your permit application

There is a 24-hour review process for the City of Laurel. The reviewers will look over your application to determine if it complies with local standards, and if it doesn’t, they will suggest ways to correct it. The process could get extended even further if the city requires corrections and/or revisions.

  • Pay permit application fee 

In cases where a permit is required, you will need to obtain it BEFORE conducting and/or the commencement of any construction on your property. After the fee is paid, you will obtain your permit.

Receive and display the permit certificate

You now have legal permission to start constructing your project. The timeframe within which your permit is valid is 6 months, but can depend on the size and cost of your project. It is best to start construction right away to avoid having to renew your permit. This permit MUST be posted on the job site.


  • Schedule inspections

As you perform construction, you will need to schedule inspections. Inspections ensure the work is going according to plan at various steps of construction (foundation, framing, roofing, etc.), and that if a problem or mistake occurs it is fixed quickly, preventing costly repairs. Your contractor can assist with scheduling timely inspections. When construction is complete, you MUST schedule a final inspection to check that everything is functioning as intended and is safe for inhabiting and obtain final City approval. If you do not, you may have to get an entirely new permit, pay a fine, or even rebuild some parts of your project to comply with new codes.


Who Arranges for the Building Permit?

If you hired a contractor for your project, it is expected for the contractor to arrange for; or, in contractor lingo, "pull" the permit. The person who pulls the permit is responsible for completion of job, construction and rules following the building codes and accepts all responsibility of the signed application document.

If you (business or homeowner) pull the permit, you will be considered the contractor (at least in the eyes of the city) and liable if there is a construction problem.

What if I Skip Getting a Building Permit?

If your project requires a permit, get a permit. If you are working with a contractor who suggests skipping this step, consider moving on to another contractor.

If the City finds out that you don’t have a permit, the city might force you to obtain a permit and could double the permitting fees. It could also shut down your project or require you to tear down your work (for example, remove a wall to see what's behind it) if there is a question as to whether the work was done according to code.

Call the City of Laurel Inspection Department today to start planning your next project at 601-428-6438.

City of Laurel Inspection Department - City Hall - office hours are Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The City of Laurel, established as a lumber town in 1882, is conveniently situated approximately two hours from larger destination cities such as Jackson, Biloxi, New Orleans, and Mobile. In recent years, the city has become a destination all its own thanks, in part, to its starring role in HGTV’s popular “Hometown” series. As Laurel, and interest in it, continues to grow, we are committed to providing the resources necessary to help all of our residents and businesses reach their full potential.
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