The success of a community hinges upon its building codes and regulations. As complicated and inconvenient as those codes may be, they promote the safety and well-being of local residents. 

If you are frustrated by all the hoops you must jump through to make your fence happen, we understand. But we hope you’ll keep in mind how important it is to follow your city’s building regulations to the letter—if only to avoid a hefty fine.

To make the process as easy and streamlined as possible, we are happy to get approval for you for a small fee. If you’d rather do the work yourself, we’ve written up this easy-to-follow guide. 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Approval

The process for getting approval for a residential fence is specific to your city. Before starting, you’ll need to know some basic information about the scope of the proposed project. 

Be ready to answer these kinds of questions:

  • Where is the property located?
  • How big is the property?
  • Is the property single-family or mixed-use?
  • Where on the property is the fence to be built?
  • How tall is the proposed fence?
  • What materials will be used?

These are just a few examples of the information you will need to have in hand. You may also need to submit a copy of the site plan (or plat of survey), as drawn up by your contractor. Once you have these details in hand, you’ll be ready to start the process for approval. 

Step One - Contact Your Local Building Department

Every city has a local building department that is responsible for reviewing and approving building permits and plans. Your first step is to get in touch with the building department for your city to learn more about the permitting process. 

Step Two - Fill Out a Fence Building Permit Application

Next, you’ll need to visit the physical location of your city’s building department to fill out the permit application. You’ll also want to bring with you a copy of the site plan and a signed contract between you and your contractor. 

Step Three - Wait for Approval

Because residential fences are typically considered a smaller project, you should hear back from the building department within 1-3 business days. If you haven’t received a response by the end of that time frame, it’s worth giving the department a call to inquire about the status of your application.

Step Four - File a Variance (If Needed)

If your application is denied, don’t worry. Denials happen all the time and simply mean that your project proposal goes against the city’s code. Most often, the city is willing to make variances to the code to accommodate homeowners. 

Again, this process will be unique to your city. Typically, you’ll need to submit an additional form along with a written letter explaining why you want the variance.

Step Five - Schedule an Inspection with the City

After your application has been approved, you’ll need to schedule an inspection with your city’s building department. This is to ensure that the property and project line up with the information you provided on the application.

Step Six - Mark Your Underground Utility Lines

Before your fencing contractor can get started on the project, you’ll need to have the Ohio Utility Protection Service come and mark your underground utility lines. Call 8-1-1 to get this service scheduled. 

Step Seven - Make Sure to Get Approval from Your HOA 

Don’t start building until you’ve obtained one last approval. If your HOA hasn’t signed off on the fence, now is the time to dot those i’s and cross those t’s. Again, this project will be unique to your community, but you don’t want to move forward until you’ve gotten HOA approval. 

Step Eight - Leave the Rest to Your Contractor

Now you can finally breathe a sigh of relief! You’ve taken all the necessary steps for getting approval for a residential fence and your contractor should be able to take over from here. 

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We’d love to answer your questions about pricing, the process, our approach or anything else!

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