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Ultimately, it is the home owner’s or property owner’s responsibility to obtain permits for any work requiring permits. If a contractor does work for you but does not obtain a permit before starting, that is a contract dispute between you and them. The City will not get involved in contract disputes between a home owner and a contractor. The best way to ensure that a permit has been obtained is to ask the contractor to show you the permit or give you the permit number prior to allowing them to start any work on your house. As a home owner or property owner, you are also responsible for any work done by previous owners or contractors without permits. Be sure to check our property file records at City Hall before purchasing any property to know what you are buying. Do not rely on real estate listings, assessment records or other online reporting tools. Only the permit records at City Hall in the Department of Building Inspection and Neighborhood Services office has the full list of permits that have been issued for a property.
Being proficient in the construction trades generally requires several years of learning the skills and code requirements related to all aspects of the trade. However, we recognize that some homeowners may be skilled in certain aspects of the construction trades and may want to perform work generally required to be performed by a licensed contractor. You are permitted to obtain a permit and perform building construction work as a home owner of a one- or two-family dwelling who resides at the dwelling. If your project involves electrical or plumbing work, it would typically require a licensed contractor to obtain permits and perform the work. However, a homeowner who resides at the property may be allowed to repair or replace various items around the house on their own, with or without a permit, depending on what the project entails.
The applicable building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and zoning codes still apply to your project, even if no permit is required. The only difference is that you are exempt from obtaining a permit and no inspection will be made. City Hall has copies of all local, state and national codes that govern your project, and these codes are also available through links on this website.
Any habitable space that is created requires a building permit. If you are just painting the basement walls and not constructing new walls or creating rooms, no permit is required. If you create finished space in your basement, keep in mind that a permit is required as well as following several state and local codes. For example, if a basement bedroom is constructed, a second exit (typically an egress window) is required to be installed to the state building code.
Fence permits are not required by the City of West Allis; however certain requirements do need to be followed. Residential property owners may place a fence with a height no greater than six feet up to the property line in the side and rear yards. Fences are not permitted in the required front yard. The “good side” of the fence is required to face out towards your neighbors. Fences are not allowed to project into the vision triangle at the intersection of streets or alleys on residential properties. If you have any questions about fence locations, you can contact the City of West Allis Department of Building Inspection and Neighborhood Services at (414) 302-8400 or review the Revised Municipal Code, Section 13.31, online or at City Hall.
Re-roofing a house is considered maintenance and does not generally require a permit. However, if structural damage is found on your house, a permit may be required to replace any roof structural members (this does not include the plywood or OSB sheathing that goes down on the roof rafters or trusses). The West Allis municipal code only allows two layers of roofing material on a house, so if you have two layers already, they will have to be removed before installing the new roofing material. The amount of attic ventilation on your house cannot be reduced through a re-roofing project.
Re-siding a house is considered maintenance and does not generally require a permit. However, if structural damage is found on your house, a permit may be required to replace any wall structural members (this does not include the plywood or OSB sheathing on the wall).
A permit is not required for storage sheds 150 square feetor less, however the building and zoning codes still apply to your project. Thestorage shed must be structurally sound and placed the proper distances fromlot lines where applicable. Contact the City of West Allis Department ofBuilding Inspection and Neighborhood Services at (414) 302-8400 or review theRevised Municipal Code, Section 13.23, online or at City Hall.
Yes. Water heaters are not considered fixtures orappliances. They are pressure vessels that, if installed incorrectly, can causeserious harm. Gas-fired water heaters must also be properly ventilated to avoidcarbon monoxide poisoning.
Window replacement is considered maintenance and does not generally require a permit. However, if you choose to install a different size, or potentially style of window, a permit is required. Habitable rooms in dwellings require a certain amount of natural light and natural ventilation, and there are requirements for egress through a window of certain rooms in an emergency. Reducing the size of a window could affect those requirements. Increasing the size of a window typically will involve structural modifications to the wall to create a larger header over the window, and framing modifications.
If you are only replacing counter tops and/or cabinets andnot altering the physical space by opening or changing walls, a building permitis not required. Increasing the size of the room, performing structuralmodifications (including removing walls), adding or removing a soffit above thecabinets or removing/replacing drywall will require a building permit. Whenapplicable, electrical and plumbing permits will be required for any workperformed, and licensed contractors must typically obtain these permits.
No. Repairs or replacement of lighting fixtures, lightswitches, devices or receptacles do not require a permit. CAUTION: Allreplacement light fixtures and switches are now required to be grounded forsafety. If you are unfamiliar with how to ground to an existing electricalsystem, contact a licensed electrician.
It will depend on what is making the yard a mess, and if that is a violation of the City’s Property Maintenance Code. You can view the Property Maintenance Code online on the City’s website. If you would like to report a property for a messy yard, broken windows, parking on lawns, abandoned vehicles, general property maintenance, tall grass, excessive weeds, sidewalks that are not shoveled, or a number of other issues, please use the “Report a Concern" system on the main City website.