Permit Process

When do I need a building permit?

Any owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or 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 done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit.

Administrative permit is required for replacement windows provided egress is not decreased.
When is a permit not required?

Permits shall not be required for the following. Exemption from the permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.

  • One-story detached accessory residential structures, provided the shed does not exceed 100 square feet in area and 10 feet in height.
  • Fences not over 6 feet high.
  • Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge.
  • Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.
  • Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade and not over any basement or story below.
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
  • Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches deep.
  • Swings and other playground equipment accessory to a one or two-family dwelling.
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall.
How long does it take to get a building permit?
When do you need it? We will do our best to issue permits to meet your schedule. This may mean partial permits, i.e., foundation permit while more complete framing information is gathered.
Generally we can issue a permit within 2 weeks. Please submit complete plans including all of the information required by the Construction Submittal Checklist.
For some renovations, field inspections are required before a building permit can be issued - check with the building inspector. These are inspections at your home when it is difficult to adequately describe the project on paper.
How long do I have to complete my project?
Work must be started within 1 year after issuance of the permit. Upon application submitted before the expiration. The permit will expire if the work is not substantially complete within two years from the date it was issued. The building inspector may issue a conditional certificate of occupancy or a permit extension for one additional year if, in his judgment, reasonable progress is being made and nuisance conditions do not exist. Permit extensions beyond one year require approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals using the review criteria in Section 8.7 of the Zoning Ordinance.
What information is needed to apply for a building permit?
Please see page two of the Residential Building Permit Application and the Construction Submittal Checklist for the required information.
There may be other permits and/or approvals needed from other departments within the Town or from state agencies; i.e. Planning Board, Public Works, and Zoning Board of Appeals, DEP, MDOT, or State fire Marshall, prior to, during, or after issuance of a permit by this office.
Do I need a permit to do electrical work on my own house?

Yes, you do need a permit to wire your own house and the work must be inspected and meet electrical code requirements.

Do I need a permit to do plumbing work on my own house?
Yes, you do need a permit to do plumbing work and the work must be inspected for code compliance.

Which codes are used in the Town of Falmouth?

Current MUBEC CODE as follows:
  • The IRC 2009 for Residential Projects
  • The IBC 2009 for Commercial Projects
  • The IECC 2009 for Residentail and Commercial Projects
  • The Maine State Plumbing Code 10 - 144 CMR 238
  • The Maine Subsurface Waste Water Disposal Rules 144A CMR 241
  • NFPA 211 - Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel - burning Appliances 1996 Edition
  • NFPA 31 - Standard for Oil Burning Equipment
  • NFPA 101 - Life Safety Code
  • NFPA/NEC 70 - National Electrical Code 2014
When is a building permit required? (commercial/public)
A building permit is required for the following activity:
  • Any construction, enlargement, alteration or demolition of a structure.
  • Any change of occupancy that would require greater strength of the building.
  • Any change to another use (may also require zoning planning approval)
Special Inspection
Special inspections are required for construction as described in section 1704 of the IBC 2003 code. Prior to the issuance of a building permit, a Statement of Special Inspections prepared by the registered design professional in responsible charge is required to be submitted to an approved by this office. Where the project qualifies for an exception per section 1704.1, an SSI is still required with reference to the qualified exception.
The Guide to Special Inspections and Quality Assurance and the Forms provided are a product of the Council of American Structural Engineers Special Inspections Committee and can be downloaded from the following web site here.
If you would rather use your own forms, please make sure they contain all of the required information and are sealed prior to submittal.
If you have any questions regarding this process, please call the Code Enforcement Office at 781-5253.
Who can design the building or renovations? (commercial/public)
A design professional (architect/engineer) is required by State law to design any new construction, renovation work that affects fire safety elements or change of use regardless of cost.
If the work involves change of use, building layout and fire safety issues, an architect is the most appropriate design professional. However, structural aspects are likely to require an engineer as well.
What is the cost to review the plan? (commerical/public)
In some cases, review of plans will be contracted out to a third party and the cost shall be borne by the owner.