Guide to Building Permits

Guide to Building Permits


Why is a building permit required?

The City of Fulton Building Code requires that permits be obtained for certain types of work to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The Building Code establishes minimum safety standards for materials and construction techniques. Getting a permit means the work will be inspected by a certified building inspector for compliance with minimum Code requirements.


When is a building permit required?

Before beginning any project to construct, structurally alter, relocate, or demolish a building, it is important to check with the Code Enforcement Department to confirm whether a permit is required. Failure to obtain a permit prior to commencement of work can result in a stop work order and citation with a penalty. A building permit is generally required for the following:

  • New buildings, additions, or interior renovations/structural alterations to all residential buildings, including, but not limited to:
    • Single-family homes
    • Duplexes
    • Multi-family (3+ units) residences, such as apartments, condos, and townhouses
    • Mobile or manufactured homes
  • New buildings, additions, or interior renovations/structural alterations to accessory structures, including, but not limited to:
    • Yard sheds
    • Lean-to’s
    • Decks
    • Garages
    • Carports
    • Ramps
    • Outbuildings
    • Porches
    • Stoops
  • Plumbing work, including, but not limited to:
    • Installing, replacing or relocating the piping system
    • Installing new or replacing existing plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks, showers, tubs, dishwashers, water heaters,
  • Electrical work, including, but not limited to:
    • Installing new electrical service or equipment
    • Altering or adding to existing electrical systems, including service upgrades and panel replacements
  • HVAC work, including, but not limited to:
    • Installing new or altering any part of a heating or cooling system which has duct work or which must be vented into any kind of chimney or vent
    • Installing or replacing heating units (outdoor wood burners are permitted under a separate permit)
    • Installing or replacing air conditioning units
    • Installing or replacing chimneys
  • Construction or installation of fencing and retaining walls
  • Installation of swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas
  • Installation of signage
  • Re-roofing work
  • Relocation or moving a building
  • Demolition or razing a building


When is a building permit not required?

  • Routine maintenance or repair of buildings or structures, such as re-siding, veneering, or repainting
  • Cosmetic improvements such as painting, cabinets, counter-tops, tile, floor covering installation, or nonstructural repairs
  • Replacement of windows and doors provided they are the same size as the existing opening
  • Retaining walls that are less than 3 feet tall
  • Erection of a portable swimming pool that is designed to be readily and/or seasonally disassembled, stored, and reassembled to its original However, all such pools are still required to meet setback requirements and barrier requirements.
  • Playground equipment
  • Any fence installed on a temporary basis, including but not limited to temporary garden fencing.
  • Paving a patio, walkway, or driveway. However, any new driveway access is permitted through the Public Works


Who can perform the work?

It is the responsibility of the property owner or authorized agent to obtain a building permit prior to the start of any work. If a property owner wishes to do his/her own home improvements, he/she is not required to be licensed. However, a property owner may only make electrical and plumbing repairs or installations if it is their primary residence. Any electrical, plumbing or HVAC contractor hired by the property owner must be licensed by the State of Kentucky.


What Codes do I need to comply with?

New construction, additions, and alterations to one- and two-family dwellings, and detached garages are subject to the provisions of the Kentucky Residential Building, Electrical, HVAC and Plumbing Codes.


New construction, additions, and alterations to multi-family buildings are subject to the provisions of the Kentucky Commercial Building, Electrical, HVAC and Plumbing Codes.  Depending on the size of the building, it may be required that plans be approved by the State prior to issuance of a local building permit.


Other Things to Consider

  • A building setback is the minimum horizontal distance between a building or structure and the property line. All buildings must meet setbacks as required by the Zoning Ordinance. Before beginning any construction activity, it is important to establish the location of your property lines so that the Building Inspector may verify compliance with the required setbacks. Please note the City of Fulton does not provide this service. It is the property owner’s responsibility to locate all property lines and ensure their project meets minimum requirements.


To establish your property lines, you will need to locate the survey pins at the corners of your property. A plat of your property will show the location of each pin and list the dimensions of all property lines. Check with the Fulton County Clerk for a plat of your property. If you are unable to find an original plat then you may need to have your property surveyed by a licensed land surveyor.

The zoning of your property determines the set back. If you don’t know the zoning of your property you can find it online at the City of Fulton website



Building Permit Application Procedure

A building permit shall be obtained before work may be started. The administration of all building permits will take place at the Fulton Fire Department by appointment Monday through Friday. If you have any question, on an existing or proposed permit or need to schedule an appointment you can contact Code Enforcement at 270-472-1423 or email [email protected]. Remember most building permits can take two to four weeks for approval.


The following submittals are required prior to issuing a building permit. Building permit applications can be found on the City of Fulton website.  Failure to submit all requirements at the time of application will delay the review process.

  • Single-Family/ Two-Family/ Multi-Family Dwellings
    • City of Fulton Building Permit Application State Building Permit if Required
    • Contractor’s Certification or Home Owners Liability
  • Two sets of blueprints, including:
    1. Elevation views of all sides
    2. Floor Layout
    3. Basement Plan
    4. Cross Section
  • Room Additions
    • City of Fulton Building Permit Application
    • Site plan of the lot showing the proposed structure and all distances to lot lines
    • Two sets of construction plans. Indicate where addition will attach to existing building, and include:
  1. Footing detail/foundation plan
  2. Floor layout
  3. Cross sectional detail
  • Interior Renovations/ Alterations
    • City of Fulton Building Permit Application
    • Detailed scope of work explaining all demolition areas and what is being rebuilt. Any HVAC work, plumbing work, and electrical
    • A floor layout drawing
  • Garages/ Yard Sheds/ Accessory Structures
    • City of Fulton Building Permit Application
    • Site plan of the lot showing the proposed structure and distances to other structures and lot lines
    • Two sets of construction plans, informational sheet, or a pamphlet showing:
  1. Footing detail & foundation plans
  2. Floor layout- including door openings, window openings and wall dimensions
  3. Materials used for the roof and exterior siding
  • Decks/ Porches
    • City of Fulton Building Permit Application
    • Site plan of the lot showing the proposed structure and all distances to the lot lines
    • Deck detail to include:
  1. Post size and spacing
  2. Beam size, spacing and spans
  3. Joist size spacing, and spans
  4. Footing size, and depth for corners and intermediates


  • Re-roofing
    • Roofing Permit Application
  • Fences
    • Fence Permit Application
    • Owner or contractor must verify lot lines prior to the installation
    • Site plan of the lot showing the proposed fence location and all distances to lot lines
  • Signs
    • Sign Permit Application
    • Owner or contractor must verify lot lines prior to the installation
    • Site plan of the lot showing the proposed sign location and all distances to lot lines
  • Electrical, Plumbing & HVAC Inspections
    • All of these are performed by Kentucky State Certified Inspectors.


Your submission will be reviewed by the Building Inspector to assure that all zoning and building codes are met. Once approved, a building permit may be issued. All permit fees are due at the time of permit issuance. When your permit is issued, you will also receive one set of approved plans, and a “Building Permit Placard” to be displayed at the project site until work is completed. Work should begin within six months, and may continue so long as forward progress is seen.  Forward progress is defined as calling for inspections typically four inspections are required.  A permit that is inactive for six month will become invalid.


Inspection of Work

The Building Inspector will make periodic inspections as the work progresses. You must, however, call to schedule inspections at least twenty-four hours in advance. A request for inspection shall be made to the Code Enforcement Office 270-472-1423.  The following is the sequence of inspections typically performed on a new home. If you are unsure of what inspections your specific project will need, please ask the Building Inspector before beginning any work.


  • First Inspection – (Footing and Foundation)

The excavation shall be inspected after the placement of any forms or required reinforcement, and prior to the placement of the permanent foundation material. Where damp proofing, exterior insulation, or drain tiles are required, the foundation shall be inspected prior to backfilling.

  • Second Inspection – (Rough-in)

A rough inspection shall be performed for the items listed below before the work is concealed. All work for rough inspections may be completed before the notice for inspection is given, provided the work has not been covered. The applicant may request one rough inspection or individual rough inspections. A separate fee may be charged for each individual inspection.

  • Basement floor area
  • General construction, including framing
  • Rough electrical
  • Rough plumbing
  • Rough heating, ventilating and air conditioning
  • Basement drain tiles
  • Third Inspection – (Insulation) An inspection shall be made of the insulation and vapor retarders after they are installed but before they are concealed.
  • Final Inspection the dwelling may not be occupied until a final inspection has been made that finds no critical violations of this code that could reasonably be expected to affect the health or safety of a person using the dwelling.


Certificate of Occupancy

Upon successfully passing a final inspection, the Building Inspector will issue the Certificate of Occupancy. The Certificate of Occupancy is confirmation that the building is in full compliance with all applicable codes and is safe for occupancy or use.