Overview

The Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits is responsible for the approval and issuance of various permits, licenses and the enforcement of county building codes and standards. These include building, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, sign and property maintenance codes.

The department inspects and licenses rental housing properties, mobile home parks, and animal licensing. It is responsible for staff duties associated with the Plumbing Advisory Board and the Board of Electrical Examiners.

The department is organized into four divisions:

  • Operations
  • Inspections & Enforcement
  • Plan Review
  • Licenses and Permits
George Howard Building
What's New
Title
Board of Electrical Examiners News and Scheduled Meetings
Content

Hello Board Members:

 

A meeting that has been scheduled for Tuesday October 12, 2021 at 1700 hrs. (5:00pm). An Open Meeting means that the public is invited to attend but can only view and listen, not interact with the Board. This agenda will also be placed on the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits News section of the County webpage.

 

As the County is still observing social distancing protocols the meeting will be held virtually utilizing the WebEx application.

Don Mock, P.E.,  Chief of the Plan Review Division will send you an invitation that will include a web link, access code and telephone number (if you do not have web access or a computer) in the very near future.

 

Link: https://howardcountymd.webex.com/howardcountymd/j.php?MTID=mfbeab0b78d4a04c500fe59648fa9d78d

Tuesday, Oct 12, 2021 5:00 pm | 2 hours | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Event number: 2304 310 3779

Event password: dsV43qeqkG4 (37843737 from phones)

 

Join by phone

1-650-479-3207 Call-in toll number (US/Canada)

Access code: 230 431 03779

Title
Plumbing Advisory Board News & Scheduled Meetings
Content

Hello Board Members:

 

A meeting that has been scheduled for Tuesday October 5, 2021 at 1700 hrs. (5:00pm). An Open Meeting means that the public is invited to attend but can only view and listen, not interact with the Board. This agenda will also be placed on the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits News section of the County webpage.

 

As the County is still observing social distancing protocols the meeting will be held virtually utilizing the WebEx application.

Don Mock, P.E.,  Chief of the Plan Review Division will send you an invitation that will include a web link, access code and telephone number (if you do not have web access or a computer) in the very near future.

Link: https://howardcountymd.webex.com/howardcountymd/j.php?MTID=m29089120c06698326054e457279b13f5

Tuesday, Oct 5, 2021 5:00 pm | 2 hours | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Event number: 2310 573 1866

Event password: SiqmA9QxN64 (74762979 from phones)

 

Join by phone

1-650-479-3207 Call-in toll number (US/Canada)

Access code: 231 057 31866

Title
Website Changes
Content

An addition has been made to our website which includes lists of General Electrical and Master Electrical Licenses, Residential Additions for Single Family Dwellings, Duplexes and Townhouses are available online in the Inspection & Permits Online Permitting Services webpage.

Title
Outdoor Restaurant Seating
Content

To access guideline information on opening outdoor restaurant seating, click here. Once you have read the guideline information and understand what is required, apply for an outdoor seating certificate by clicking here.

Title
Important Notice Concerning the COVID-19 Pandemic
Content

Howard County will continue to deliver essential County services to residents throughout the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, however starting March 18, 2020, some services will be curtailed to protect employee and resident health. Beginning at 8:00 a.m. on March 18, 2020, non-emergency County offices and facilities will be closed to the public until further notice, though operations will continue through teleworking by eligible employees. 

Department of Inspections, Licenses & Permits will function remotely, delivering services online. Customers who are unable to use online services or who have service requests that cannot be conducted via mail, will be by appointment only. The Department will continue to inspect construction projects and properties with modified processes to limit person to person contact. We apologize for any inconveniences. Thank you.

  • New Instructions on getting linked to the Howard County Citizens Access website to apply for permits available here.
  • When dropping off information in the drop box located in the front lobby, please fill out a transmittal form found under Forms and Fees and attach to your submittal.
Title
New Roof Design Load Requirements
Title
Citizen's Access Accounts
Content

Instructions On How To Apply For A Citizen's Access Account In Order To Apply For A Residential Permit.

To check the status of a permit or verify if a permit or license has been obtained by entering the street address, please go to our citizens access webpage at myhoward.info.

Title
Building Codes Adoption
Content

ATTENTION

Howard County Building Code Adoption

Effective January 05, 2021

2020 NFPA 70 National Electrical Code 

CB 54-2020

July 14, 2019

Howard County Department of Inspections, Licenses, and Permits will be adopting the following codes effective July 14, 2019:

  • 2018 International Building Code
  • 2018 International Residential Code
  • 2018 International Energy Conservation Code
  • 2018 International Mechanical Code
  • 2018 International Plumbing Code
  • 2018 NFPA 101 Life Safety Code
  • Rental Housing Code 2018 International Property Maintenance Code

The following links go to the current Howard County amendments for the above mentioned codes:

Included within the above code changes that go into effect  July 14, 2019 are requirements for diaper changing stations in all commercial buildings open to public that allow adults with young children to enter their building. Also The county has updated the plumbing and rental housing codes for the first time in a long time bringing all the county codes up to the current published standards.

Licensed contractor for residential construction

Section 105.8 Contractor Licensing requirements in residential one and two-family dwellings:

Homeowners of one and two-family dwellings, as defined by the Howard County Building Code, may act as their own general contractor for alterations and additions if they own the property in questions and the property is their primary residence. If the property is a rental property, or not their primary residence, they must have a Maryland Home Improvement Contractors License or a Maryland Home Builders License in accordance with the State of Maryland licensing laws.

Required sprinklers in one and two family dwelling additions

Section: R313.2 One- and two-family dwellings automatic fire sprinkler systems:

An automatic residential fire sprinkler system shall be installed in one- and two-family dwellings.

Exception: An automatic residential fire sprinkler for additions or alterations less than fifty percent of the existing gross area of the building or structure are exempt from fire sprinkler systems.

Roof Design Loads for IRC 2018

Council Bill No. 13 – 2019 Roof Design Live Load was amended to 40 lbs. per square foot, with allowances for reductions due to roof slope.  This is an increase from the previous code which required 30 lbs. per square foot, with no allowances for roof slope reduction.

All truss designs are to reflect the new design requirements Effective July 14, 2019. In addition, any conventional framed roof will be required to meet the same design values of 40 lbs. per square foot, with allowed reductions for slope.

Title
Private well and septic
Content

All properties served by private well and septic require prior Health Dept. approval.

For information on obtaining their approval, please contact the Health Department by phone at 410-313-6300.

General Contact Information
Title
By Phone
Content

For more information and direction, call (option #4) General Permits Related Information by phone at 410-313-2455.

Title
Electrical Licensing
Content

Contact Electrical Licensing Information by phone at 410-313-2455.

Title
Automated Inspections Requests
Content

Contact Automated Inspections Requests by phone at

410-313-3800(Main)

410-313-1861(Fax)

Title
Building & Fire Protection
Content

Contact General Building & Fire Protection Information by phone at

410-313-1810

Title
Electrical Information
Content

Contact General Electrical Information by phone at

410-313-1820(Main)

410-313-1861(Fax)

Title
Plumbing and Mechanical
Content

Contact General Plumbing and Mechanical Information by phone at

410-313-1840

Title
Rental Housing & Signs
Content

Contact General Rental Housing & Signs Information by phone at

410-313-1830(Main)

410-313-1861(Fax)

FAQs
Title
When do I need a rental License?
Content

Every dwelling or dwelling unit in Howard County which is not occupied solely by the owner or owner's immediate family must be licensed. A license is also required if more than one boarder, roomer or renter occupies the dwelling with the owner. This requirement applies whether or not rent money changes hands. Rental Licenses ensure that the Howard County Property Maintenance Code standards are met. The requirement applies to apartments, individually owned condominiums, duplexes, mobile homes, townhomes, hotels, motels, assisted living unit and facilities.

Title
What are the minimum requirements for smoke detectors in my single-family home or townhome which I intend to rent?
Content

The smoke detector requirements are determined by the date the house was originally built. See this chart for specifications on the type of smoke detector and location of smoke detector based on the date of construction. Smoke detectors can be no more than 10 years old. Every 10 years they must be replaced. AC electrically wired (hard-wired) detectors must be replaced at 10 years with new AC wired detectors. In addition to the requirements listed in the chart there must also be a smoke detector INSIDE EVERY BEDROOM. Those inside the bedrooms must be 10 year sealed in Lithium battery detectors (non -removable battery).

Title
How close to my neighbor's property line can I place my new shed?
Content

Setbacks vary according to where the person's home is located. Contact the Department of Planning and Zoning.

Title
What time does the Front Counter close at the Permits Office at 3430 Courthouse Drive?
Content

The office closes at 5:00 PM but try to be there by 4:00 PM to allow time for processing.

Title
What is the earliest date I can post a grading surety bond due to weather conditions?
Content

Winter sureties may be posted between December 1st and April 30th. Exemptions are granted only under extreme weather conditions.

Title
How do I get a copy of my house plat?
Content

A location survey and or plat was provided at the time of settlement. Check your settlement documentation for a copy. If you cannot locate the settlement papers your Lending Institution should also have a copy.

Title
Do my deck support columns have to go into the ground?
Content

No. The building code requires that a deck attached to the house have frost protection 30 inches in the ground and there are several ways that this can be done. See Deck Guide.

Title
Do I need a plumbing permit to replace an electric or gas water heater?
Content

A plumbing permit must be pulled by a master plumber and an inspection is required for gas water heaters only.

Title
Do I need a permit to replace my handrails or guardrails with the same product?
Content

Yes. This is a code issue that must be maintained at all times and they are considered a structural element. If you want to replace your old handrails or guardrails with new ones a permit is required.

Title
Do I need a permit to replace just my deck boards with the same thing or the new plastic wood products?
Content

No. This is considered ordinary repair and a permit is not required. If you just replace the decking boards and not the structural under carriage then a permit would not be required to do this type of work.

Title
Do I need a permit to build a shed in my back yard? What if the shed is built on skids and delivered to my house?
Content

Building permits are required for sheds when the total square footage is greater than 200 square feet and for sheds larger than 400 square feet that will require a frost footing that will be at least 30 inches below grade.

Title
Do I need a permit for my deck?
Content

Yes. ONLY decks less than 25 square feet do not require footings or permits. All other decks require permits. Footings must be a minimum size 18" in diameter or 16" x 16" at least 30" deep.

Title
Do I need a building permit for a barn?
Content

Barns constructed in Residential Zoning areas greater than 200 square feet will require a building permit. Barns barns larger than 400 square feet will require frost footings that will be at least 30 inches below finished grade.

Title
Do I have to be home for the inspection of my deck?
Content

No. If the yard is fenced locked it should be left open on the day of the inspection. Pets should also be restrained from the deck area. The permit should be posted.

Title
Can I put water in my swimming pool now that I got my electrical permit final inspection and am waiting on the final inspection of the fence?
Content

No. Only after approval of the fence and verification that the door alarms, if required, are operable, can the pool be filled. There must be request for a final inspection by the pool contractor.

Leadership

Robert J. Frances, P.E.
Director of Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits
Elaine Hauck
Administrative Assistant to the Director
Tom Huskins
Chief of Inspections & Enforcement Division
Tags
Department / Office

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