Frequently Asked Questions

A building permit is a license that grants legal permission to begin construction of a building project. Permits and inspections are necessary to verify that local building and fire code standards are met. If they are not, the public’s health, safety and welfare is at risk.

If you are unsure as to whether or not your project will require a permit, please refer to the sections below, or call our department, 859-625-6404, with any questions you may have

Building Permits may be issued to either the property owner OR a licensed AND identified contractor.  

Electrical Permits may be issued to either the property owner for their primary residence only or a licensed and identified contractor (valid State Master license information required). Homeowner electrical permits cannot be issued for vacant property, rental property, or duplexes.  

Mechanical/HVAC permits may be issued to either the property owner for their primary residence only or a licensed and identified contractor (valid State Master license information required). Homeowner electrical permits cannot be issued for vacant property, rental property, or duplexes

NOTE: All contractors and subcontractors require a valid City of Richmond Business License; proof of license and Worker’s Compensation Insurance certificate will be required before a permit will be issued. 

Permits are required for all NEW construction (generally, NEW construction is referring to the residence being built), but there are several other instances requiring permits and inspections. If you are ever uncertain whether or not your project will require a permit, please call 859-625-6404. Below you will find information regarding common projects requiring building permits: 

Renovations including: structural additions/alterations, occupant load changes (basement remodels), changes to the existing footprint (room additions) 

Accessory Structures – 200 sqft and larger (sheds, garages, etc) 

Decks and Porches (New or Replacement) – 200 sqft and larger AND/OR 30 inches or more from the ground; covering a porch or a deck with a roof; serving the front door; structurally attached to the dwelling

Electrical systems – new wiring, panel boxes, new hardwired light fixtures, etc. 

Heating/Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems – furnaces, air condition units, replacement units, etc.  

Plumbing systems – water service, waste lines, water heaters, new bathrooms, etc. Plumbing permits can be obtained from the Kentucky State Department of Housing, Buildings, & Construction, Division of Plumbing or by contacting the local Plumbing Inspector, Isaac Clark, 859-302-4135 (visit ( for more information). 

Retaining walls 4 feet high (at the highest point) and taller 

In-ground Swimming Pools containing 24 inches or more of water and must include the following barrier requirements found in KRC 2018 Section R326.8) (pdf


Permits are NOT required for the following:

Painting, tiling carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and other finishing work 

Swings and other playground equipment 

Fences no taller than 6 feet in height (side/back yard); 4 feet (front yard) 

Re-Roof Only (structural changes to the roof will require a permit) 

Short answer: If your work required a permit, it will also require any inspections deemed necessary.

It is the responsibility of the permit holder/applicant to contact the Department for the required inspections when the work is complete. All work should be complete to the appropriate stage of inspection and accessible to inspection staff. Construction or work for which a permit is required shall be subject to inspection by the building official and such construction or work shall remain accessible and exposed for inspection purposes until approved. (Kentucky Building Code § 109.1). 

These are the most common inspections, completed:

Building: The most common inspections for building permits are Footer, Foundation, Slab, Envelope, Framing/Rough-in, and Final. Depending on the type of construction, additional inspections may be required. 

A detailed list of required commercial inspections can be found here

A detailed list of required residential inspections can be found here

HVAC-Mechanical/Electrical Permits: The most common inspections are Rough-in and Final; some types of work only require a final inspection. All appropriate inspections are required to be completed prior to issuance of Final Approval and Letter of Acceptance. Note, based on the work there may be additional inspections required. 

NOTE: These are general comments only; additional requirements may apply based on specific conditions. 

Unless otherwise stated, all permits have associated fees; all payments are required before the plan review can be completed and the permit can be issued.

As the fee structures vary depending on the type of permit, please see the following:

Building Permit Fee Schedule (pdf)

Commercial Plan Review Fee Schedule (pdf)

Mechanical Permit Fee Schedule (pdf)

Electrical Permit Fee Schedule (pdf)

If an existing building or space is being altered, enlarged, or converted in any way, a Certificate of Occupancy will be generated from the building permit required for the changes. (All newly constructed residential and commercial builds will receive a Certificate of Occupancy once construction is complete and all required inspections passed)

When not associated with a building permit, a Certificate of Occupancy is ONLY required when a space undergoes a Change of Use. Examples of Changes of Use include:

  1. The space is undergoing a change of occupancy classification (Business to Mercantile)
  2. A change of group within a classification (S1 to S2),
  3. A change of occupancy within a group (A-2 Restaurant to A-2 Bar) due to a change in occupant load factors.

If one of the above reasons applies to you or you have questions regarding whether a Certificate of Occupancy is required, please contact our office, 859-625-6404.

If the only changes are change of ownership or renter (and nothing more) in an existing space, no Certificate of Occupancy will be needed.

Before any building permits altering or adding to the exterior of a structure (including additions such as decks and accessory structures) in the H1 district, all exterior changes will need to be approved by the Architectural Review Board. Please contact the Community Development Coordinator for instruction on how to apply for this review.  

If you are unsure about whether or not your property is in the H1 district, please check this map 

Permits will only need to be issued from the City of Richmond, if your project is located in the city limits. Otherwise, please contact the Madison County Building and Codes Department, 859-624-4780, as your project may still require a permit.

If you are unsure about which jurisdiction your project is in, please use this map

There are two ways to apply for permits at this time: online through the Accela Portal or by completing a physical application and submitting to our office.

In order for applications to be processed in a timely manner, please ensure all required information is included with your submission. There are different submission requirements depending on the type of application being submitted, please select the type of permit you will be applying for below: Residential or Commercial

The City of Richmond has adopted these building codes: (pdf)

The 2018 Kentucky Building Code

The 2018 Kentucky Residential Code

The 2015 International Mechanical Code

The 2015 International Fire Code

The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (for use with the Kentucky Building Code only)

The 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (for use with the Kentucky Residential Code only)

The 2009 ICC/ANSI Al 17.1 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities

The Kentucky State Plumbing Law, Regulations, and Code (815 KAR Chapter 20) The State Boiler Regulation (KRS Chapter 236; 815 KAR 15)

The 2012 NFPA 1 Fire Prevention Code (815 KAR 10:60)

The 2013 NFPA 13 Installation of Sprinkler Systems

The 2013 NFPA 13D Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes

The 2013 NFPA 13R Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Residential Occupancies Up to and Including Four Stories in Height

The 2013 NFPA 14 Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems

The 2012 NFPA 54 National Fuel Gas Code

The 2017 NFPA 70 National Electrical Code

The 2013 NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code

The 2012 NFPA 101 Life Safety Code (Health Care facilities)

The GB-03-01 Structural Engineers Association of Kentucky- Special Guidelines, Third Edition, March, 2007

The 2021 International Property Maintenance Code