Quick Guide to City of Houston Building Code for Homeowners


You’ve had your eyes on a home remodel or renovation for years, and you’re finally prepared to choose a contractor and move forward. Before you begin, do some quick research on the City of Houston Building Code, so you know which of your construction or remodeling expectations are reasonable to expect.

With a basic understanding of the Houston, Texas building code, you can avoid planning and permitting issues. Avoiding these roadblocks can save you time and money, and help facilitate the timely completion of your project.

Don’t be afraid to solicit help from the number of construction companies in Houston that you might hire for your project. After all, most project managers will have a firm knowledge of what the Houston building code enforcement representatives look for before granting a certificate of occupancy.

When Do You Need a Permit?

Acquiring a permit requires you to spend additional time and money on planning and paperwork.For some small projects, you may question whether you really need a permit.

According to the City of Houston building code, you will need a permit for the majority of your projects. The most common examples of construction that requires a permit includes:

  • Remodeling Projects – Any remodeling tasks beyond superficial changes like painting walls or putting up wallpaper will require a permit.
  • Construction on a New or Existing Building – Any new residential or new commercial construction or remodeling will require a permit.
  • Repairs – Repairs to structural damage will typically require a permit. There are some exceptions for shingle replacements. See our previous article – Do I need a permit to replace my roof?

Do You Need a License to Get a Permit?

You won’t normally need a license to get a structural permit in Houston. However, there are exceptions for Houston roofing repair jobs. Roofing contractors are required to go through the Voluntary Registration Program to obtain the license needed for a roofing permit.

The applicant will need a certificate to prove they have comprehensive general liability insurance. The policy must cover the minimum limits of $500k for death or bodily injury and $500k per occurrence of property damage. If you need additional information, contact the Houston Permitting Center at (832)-394-9494.

To play it safe, ask your Houston residential construction contractor for advice or permitting help.

Have the Right Documentation


The nature of your construction or remodeling job will determine which documents you need. We will cover three common documentation scenarios that will help you comply with the Houston, Texas building code.

Documents for Residential Repairs

You won’t need to submit plans for a lot of small repair jobs within your home. However, according to the City of Houston building code, you will need to submit the following if applicable:

Documents for Residential Re-Roofing

As discussed above, roofing and re-roofing sometimes warrants extraordinary building code enforcement. Fortunately, you won’t need to submit building plans for simple repairs or re-roofing unless the project requires rafter or joist replacement.

The minimum level of documentation for re-roofing is as follows:

Documents for Other Permits

The following information and forms are needed when permits are required for your residential construction or repairs.

  • Houston City Building Permit Application
  • Declaration in Support of Building Permit Application Form for either:
  • Evacuations and Fill Worksheet
  • Plans that comply with the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code, or that offer ResCheck or IC3 Compliance Reports.
  • Two copies of non-erasable, legible plans that include
    • Survey and plot plan
    • complete building plans that include
      • wall sections
      • floor, ceiling and roof framing plans
      • foundation plan
      • engineer’s seal when necessary

Trust Rise Construction for City of Houston Building Code Compliance

In many cases, a simple job turns into stacks of paperwork and red tape. Let the experts at Rise Construction help you plan your upcoming vision so that it complies with Houston building code from the start.

Our Houston home renovation team provides your family with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Our on-site project manager will work to turn your vision into a reality, and exceed expectations at every step.

Call us at (281) 817-7160 or contact us online today for a quote.