3430 Courthouse Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21043
3430 Courthouse Drive
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:
The Board of Electrical Examiners make recommendations to the Director of Inspections, Licenses & Permits, the County Executive and the County Council on all matters relating to electrical work in Howard County, including the conduct of electrical business and licenses.
To make recommendations to the Director of Inspections, Licenses & Permits, the County Executive and the County Council in all matters relating to the conduct of the plumbing business in Howard County.
Good News to all Permit Requestors. On August 1, 2023 in an effort to make it more efficient for contractors and homeowners, the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits will begin accepting Electronic Submission of all permit types, residential and commercial.
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.
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.
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.
Place holder for future information.
January 03, 2022
Howard County Department of Inspections, Licenses, and Permits will be adopting the following codes effective January 03, 2022:
Howard County Building Code Adoption
Effective January 05, 2021
2020 NFPA 70 National Electrical Code
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.
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.
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.
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.
For more information and direction, call (option #4) General Permits Related Information by phone at 410-313-2455.
Contact Electrical Licensing Information by phone at 410-313-2455.
Contact General Building & Fire Protection Information by phone at
Contact General Plumbing and Mechanical Information by phone at
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.
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).
Setbacks vary according to where the person's home is located. Contact the Department of Planning and Zoning.
The office closes at 5:00 PM but try to be there by 4:00 PM to allow time for processing.
Winter sureties may be posted between December 1st and April 30th. Exemptions are granted only under extreme weather conditions.
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.
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.
A plumbing permit must be pulled by a master plumber and an inspection is required for gas water heaters only.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.