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Baltimore County Permits: Your Complete Guide

Britain Jacobson

Britain Jacobson

Last updated:

Jun 11, 2024

Published:

June 11, 2024

Reading time:

minutes

Developers, owners, and contractors in Baltimore all need to understand the local permitting process. Obtaining a building permit requires completing and submitting a thorough application to prove your project meets safety standards and the Baltimore County building code.

This guide answers all your questions about Baltimore County permits, including fees, requirements, and application processes.

What requires a permit in Baltimore County?

Baltimore County requires that anyone planning construction, renovation, or demolition work must first obtain the proper building permit.

A building permit gives the homeowner, developer, or contractor permission to begin construction work. Baltimore building permits certify that any planned work adheres to the city’s building codes and maintains certain levels of safety.

Examples of projects that require a permit in Baltimore County include:

  • New construction and development
  • Alterations and renovations
  • Additions to existing structures
  • Building garages, sheds, porches, and other similar additions
  • Major roof work
  • Adding swimming pools
  • Electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and mechanical work

Where do I get a building permit in Baltimore County?

In Baltimore County, the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections supervises permitting. This Department oversees the development and use of Baltimore’s 600+ square miles of land. 

For all permit types, the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections requires applicants to file for permits online. However, if you need help setting up an online account and completing the application, you can visit the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections office to request assistance from a staff member.

Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections resources

Baltimore County building permit fees

Building permit fees in Baltimore County range wildly from $14 to several thousands of dollars. The final cost depends on the type of permit you need, the size of the building, and/or the value of the project.

Here’s an overview of Baltimore County’s fee schedule for new construction:

Category Applies to Fee Minimum Fee
A Assembly, business, institutional $0.17/square foot $366
B Hotels and motels $0.14/square foot $293
C Mercantile, storage, high-hazard, factory, industrial $0.11/square foot $208
D Residential (single- and two-family) and multifamily Charged per unit $231 for single- and two-family; $119 for multifamily

Tip: Review Baltimore County’s most recent building permit fee schedule for more details.

How do I get a permit in Baltimore?

Regardless of permit types, you must apply for Baltimore County permits online. 

If you need help setting up an online account and completing the application, you can visit the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections office to request assistance from a staff member.

Tip: Baltimore County provides a tutorial video playlist illustrating its entire permitting process. Review these as you prepare your application to ensure you’re meeting all requirements.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to the Baltimore permitting process:

  1. Create an online account

Since Baltimore County only accepts digital permit applications, you’ll first have to create an online permit portal account. All you have to do is provide your email address to set up an account.

  1. Compile documentation

In Baltimore County, each type of permit requires specific documentation along with the general application paperwork. Prepare and complete all the documents required of your unique permit application.

For example, if you’re applying for a permit for new construction, you’ll have to provide:

  • Construction plans
  • Site plans
  • Sediment control standard plan forms
  • Affirmation of Landowner form (if the dwelling is being built by the homeowner)
  • Airport zoning permit (if the property is within 3.3 miles of the Martin State Airport)
  • Elevation certificate for final construction (if the property is located in a flood plain)
  • Elevation plans for the Department of Planning, if applicable

Tip: Name your digital documents properly by adhering to the County’s file naming conventions.
  1. Complete and submit your permit application

To complete your permit application, simply follow the directions prompted by the County’s online permit portal.

You’ll have to provide:

  • Property owner and applicant information
  • Address of the property
  • Contractor details
  • A description of the proposed work
  • Answers to all required questions about the scope of the project
  • All required documentation

  1. Permit review and approval

Permit processing staff will review your application. 

It’s possible that staff may leave comments and revision requests on your application. You can view their comments by logging into the online portal and navigating to the ‘Tasks’ section of the ‘Plan Review’ tab. Provide any details, context, or documentation as requested.

Once your application is approved, the County will inform you of the final application fees you owe. You can pay fees online through the permit portal.

After you’ve paid the fees, all reviewing departments will assess your application for a final technical review. You’ll receive your permit if your plans pass the technical review.

  1. Receive permit

After the permit review process, you’ll receive an email notifying you when your permit is approved. You can access your permit online through the permit portal.

Reminder: Display your permit at the job site!

  1. Schedule an inspection

The Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections requires all worksites to undergo an inspection to ensure that work is completed as described on the approved permit. 

Schedule an inspection through the County’s permit portal. Building inspections must be completed for most construction, electrical, and plumbing projects.

[[cta]]

How long are Baltimore County permits valid?

Building permits in Baltimore are valid for one year. Upon filing your permit application, you may also request one additional year.

If your permit is nearing expiration, you may request an extension. If your permit has expired, you’ll have to apply for a new one.

Baltimore County zoning review

Baltimore’s zoning classifications may impact your permit application, so it’s wise to familiarize yourself with local land use data and zoning classifications before filing for a permit. 

Check Baltimore County’s My Neighborhood interactive map to review zoning policies in the area where you intend to build.

Zoning use permits

If you plan to use land for a purpose other than what it’s currently being used for, you’ll need to obtain a use permit. The Zoning Review office reviews use permit applications and determines whether the land can be used as such. All use permits cost a $100 fee.

There are several types of use permits for cases like:

  • Accessory apartments
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Bed and breakfasts
  • Boarding or rooming houses
  • Business parking in residential zones
  • Child/adult care
  • Donation bins
  • Dumpsters
  • Live music and entertainment venues
  • Outdoor dining
  • Roadside sale stands
  • Undersized lots

Baltimore County permit expediters

Applying for a permit in Baltimore County is easier now that the process is virtually all digital. But it’s still time consuming and tedious to complete a permit application. One way you can save time when applying for a permit is by hiring a permit expediter.

Baltimore permit expediters can help you navigate the permitting process by completing and submitting the application on your behalf. Permit expediters are knowledgeable local experts who understand the county’s building codes and permitting policies, so they can ensure your application is complete and accurate. 

Simplifying the permitting process with PermitFlow

Instead of hiring a permit expediter, consider working with PermitFlow

Working with a permit expediter can create new hassles, like added costs and a lack of expertise if the provider’s main focus isn’t expediting services. 

But PermitFlow is quick, reliable, and easy-to-navigate software that automates the permitting process, ensuring you get your permit in your hands as fast as possible.

When you work with PermitFlow, you get:

  • Access to experts: PermitFlow’s team of architects, structural engineers, former city planners, and permit specialists understand how to successfully obtain a permit in Baltimore. 
  • A user-friendly platform: PermitFlow’s digital platform is easy to navigate, and prevents you from having to click through dozens of pages on Baltimore County’s website.
  • Faster results. Using PermitFlow ensures your application is submitted without a hitch, so you get your permit quickly.

Developers, owners, and contractors in Baltimore all need to understand the local permitting process. Obtaining a building permit requires completing and submitting a thorough application to prove your project meets safety standards and the Baltimore County building code.

This guide answers all your questions about Baltimore County permits, including fees, requirements, and application processes.

What requires a permit in Baltimore County?

Baltimore County requires that anyone planning construction, renovation, or demolition work must first obtain the proper building permit.

A building permit gives the homeowner, developer, or contractor permission to begin construction work. Baltimore building permits certify that any planned work adheres to the city’s building codes and maintains certain levels of safety.

Examples of projects that require a permit in Baltimore County include:

  • New construction and development
  • Alterations and renovations
  • Additions to existing structures
  • Building garages, sheds, porches, and other similar additions
  • Major roof work
  • Adding swimming pools
  • Electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and mechanical work

Where do I get a building permit in Baltimore County?

In Baltimore County, the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections supervises permitting. This Department oversees the development and use of Baltimore’s 600+ square miles of land. 

For all permit types, the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections requires applicants to file for permits online. However, if you need help setting up an online account and completing the application, you can visit the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections office to request assistance from a staff member.

Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections resources

Baltimore County building permit fees

Building permit fees in Baltimore County range wildly from $14 to several thousands of dollars. The final cost depends on the type of permit you need, the size of the building, and/or the value of the project.

Here’s an overview of Baltimore County’s fee schedule for new construction:

Category Applies to Fee Minimum Fee
A Assembly, business, institutional $0.17/square foot $366
B Hotels and motels $0.14/square foot $293
C Mercantile, storage, high-hazard, factory, industrial $0.11/square foot $208
D Residential (single- and two-family) and multifamily Charged per unit $231 for single- and two-family; $119 for multifamily

Tip: Review Baltimore County’s most recent building permit fee schedule for more details.

How do I get a permit in Baltimore?

Regardless of permit types, you must apply for Baltimore County permits online. 

If you need help setting up an online account and completing the application, you can visit the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections office to request assistance from a staff member.

Tip: Baltimore County provides a tutorial video playlist illustrating its entire permitting process. Review these as you prepare your application to ensure you’re meeting all requirements.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to the Baltimore permitting process:

  1. Create an online account

Since Baltimore County only accepts digital permit applications, you’ll first have to create an online permit portal account. All you have to do is provide your email address to set up an account.

  1. Compile documentation

In Baltimore County, each type of permit requires specific documentation along with the general application paperwork. Prepare and complete all the documents required of your unique permit application.

For example, if you’re applying for a permit for new construction, you’ll have to provide:

  • Construction plans
  • Site plans
  • Sediment control standard plan forms
  • Affirmation of Landowner form (if the dwelling is being built by the homeowner)
  • Airport zoning permit (if the property is within 3.3 miles of the Martin State Airport)
  • Elevation certificate for final construction (if the property is located in a flood plain)
  • Elevation plans for the Department of Planning, if applicable

Tip: Name your digital documents properly by adhering to the County’s file naming conventions.
  1. Complete and submit your permit application

To complete your permit application, simply follow the directions prompted by the County’s online permit portal.

You’ll have to provide:

  • Property owner and applicant information
  • Address of the property
  • Contractor details
  • A description of the proposed work
  • Answers to all required questions about the scope of the project
  • All required documentation

  1. Permit review and approval

Permit processing staff will review your application. 

It’s possible that staff may leave comments and revision requests on your application. You can view their comments by logging into the online portal and navigating to the ‘Tasks’ section of the ‘Plan Review’ tab. Provide any details, context, or documentation as requested.

Once your application is approved, the County will inform you of the final application fees you owe. You can pay fees online through the permit portal.

After you’ve paid the fees, all reviewing departments will assess your application for a final technical review. You’ll receive your permit if your plans pass the technical review.

  1. Receive permit

After the permit review process, you’ll receive an email notifying you when your permit is approved. You can access your permit online through the permit portal.

Reminder: Display your permit at the job site!

  1. Schedule an inspection

The Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections requires all worksites to undergo an inspection to ensure that work is completed as described on the approved permit. 

Schedule an inspection through the County’s permit portal. Building inspections must be completed for most construction, electrical, and plumbing projects.

[[cta]]

How long are Baltimore County permits valid?

Building permits in Baltimore are valid for one year. Upon filing your permit application, you may also request one additional year.

If your permit is nearing expiration, you may request an extension. If your permit has expired, you’ll have to apply for a new one.

Baltimore County zoning review

Baltimore’s zoning classifications may impact your permit application, so it’s wise to familiarize yourself with local land use data and zoning classifications before filing for a permit. 

Check Baltimore County’s My Neighborhood interactive map to review zoning policies in the area where you intend to build.

Zoning use permits

If you plan to use land for a purpose other than what it’s currently being used for, you’ll need to obtain a use permit. The Zoning Review office reviews use permit applications and determines whether the land can be used as such. All use permits cost a $100 fee.

There are several types of use permits for cases like:

  • Accessory apartments
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Bed and breakfasts
  • Boarding or rooming houses
  • Business parking in residential zones
  • Child/adult care
  • Donation bins
  • Dumpsters
  • Live music and entertainment venues
  • Outdoor dining
  • Roadside sale stands
  • Undersized lots

Baltimore County permit expediters

Applying for a permit in Baltimore County is easier now that the process is virtually all digital. But it’s still time consuming and tedious to complete a permit application. One way you can save time when applying for a permit is by hiring a permit expediter.

Baltimore permit expediters can help you navigate the permitting process by completing and submitting the application on your behalf. Permit expediters are knowledgeable local experts who understand the county’s building codes and permitting policies, so they can ensure your application is complete and accurate. 

Simplifying the permitting process with PermitFlow

Instead of hiring a permit expediter, consider working with PermitFlow

Working with a permit expediter can create new hassles, like added costs and a lack of expertise if the provider’s main focus isn’t expediting services. 

But PermitFlow is quick, reliable, and easy-to-navigate software that automates the permitting process, ensuring you get your permit in your hands as fast as possible.

When you work with PermitFlow, you get:

  • Access to experts: PermitFlow’s team of architects, structural engineers, former city planners, and permit specialists understand how to successfully obtain a permit in Baltimore. 
  • A user-friendly platform: PermitFlow’s digital platform is easy to navigate, and prevents you from having to click through dozens of pages on Baltimore County’s website.
  • Faster results. Using PermitFlow ensures your application is submitted without a hitch, so you get your permit quickly.
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