Water Issues with Water Division Manager Neal Winterton

Planning & Land Use Questions with Planning Division Manager Jason Bench

Chief Building Official Paul Ashton

Building Permits and Home Remodels

Where would we go to get permits?

Come down to our Development Services Department (56 N. State St. #105). They would be happy to answer any additional questions and get you taken care of as it relates to permits.

How big can you build without a permit?

The largest standalone structure can be 200 sq. ft (1 story), but it cannot include electrical, plumbing, or heating. If it does include electrical, plumbing, or heating, then it will require a permit. If the new build is within your home. If it is attached the home then a permit is always required.

Is there a map that shows in what areas of the city what can be built? What restrictions apply to pre-built buildings like sheds or garages?

Our zoning department would have that map. You can also view the map here: http://maps.orem.org/DevTrack/ Pre-built buildings, as long as no remodels are being done, remain under the code they were originally built.

Are building permits required for a kitchen remodel? I’ll be relocating power outlets and some plumbing as part of it.

Once you move power, plumbing, walls, or HVAC then a permit is required. It wouldn’t be required if you are just replacing cabinets, countertops, etc.

I’m interested in finishing my basement. It looks like I’ll need to cut into the load-bearing wall. Is a standard contractor authorized to do that or must that be done by a structural engineer?

Generally, an engineer would be required to tell us the size of beam that would be needed to open the wall. But, there are instances where a contractor could tell you that.

Can we add a small kitchen to our basement so one of our children can use our downstairs as an apartment?

Yes, you can add a kitchen. However, if it is going to be rented out in to non-family in the future there are other requirements to make it a legal basement apartment.

Can I do some non-structural framing in my basement without a permit?

No, any type of framing/adding walls requires a permit.

I’d like to install a single car carport on my driveway. How much space is required between my property line and the carport?

The distance depends of the zone you are in and where your home is situated on your lot (different parts of the city have different set-back requirements. However, a quick call to our development services department 801-229-7060 could get you situated. They are ready to help!

What are the laws pertaining to putting a pool in your backyard?

It depends on the location on your property and it must be secured. Electrical must be GFI protected and all metal surrounding the pool would need to be bonded. Those are some of the general requirements. However, before proceeding with the build of the pool, check with our office in Development Services to make sure everything is up to code.

Does Orem have any plans to allow for Tiny Homes?

We don’t have any areas planned for them right now. We haven’t had any developers express interest in doing it, either. There is a minimum requirement of 800 square feet for a home.

Is a permit required for adding a pergola over a patio if it’s attached to the house?

If it’s attached to the house, yes, you would need a permit.

We built our home a year ago. We want to finish our basement using the plans provided by our builder. It is just building the interior walls. Could we qualify for a permit to do the work ourselves following their plans?

As an owner of the structure, you can do any work on your own home. If you have anyone else work on it, they must be a licensed contractor.

But we have to apply for a permit to finish our basement, correct? On an online application, I thought I saw that a contractor and an architect have to sign it off.

You do have to have the permit. An architect and contractor aren’t necessarily required.

When you apply for a permit, do you have to specify a timeline? How much does a permit cost?

The cost is based on the value of the project. As long as work is progressing every 180 days, the permit can stay open.

We just bought a house in Orem. We are looking to find blueprints for the original build, and for the A/C upgrade. Are these filed in your office, or do you know where we can get them?

For a newer home, the plans may be in our office. However, if it’s older, we don’t have copies.

If we want to make an addition to our garage, what amount of space must be between that new addition and the existing fence? Are the drawings completed first and then the approval from the city?

Generally, it’s 10 feet from the fence. But you should check with zoning to be sure. The drawings and permits can be done at the same time.

Are lightning rods required in Orem? I don’t recall seeing that many.

Lightning rods are not required in our area.