The Department of Building & Fire Prevention often participates in local trade shows and home improvement fairs.  At our booths, Inspectors and Plan Reviewers are available to explain processes and answer questions from homeowners.  The questions and answers listed below are real questions that have been asked of our staff at these shows. 

 

Q: What is the maximum height allowed for a block wall?
A: Under standard application of our codes, the maximum height allowed for residential side and rear walls is 6’ high.  Within 15’ of the front property line and along the front, a 5’ high decorative fence is allowed (2’ block wall with 3’ of wrought iron on top).   Typically, any walls higher than 6 feet require an approval of an Administrative Minor Deviation by Comprehensive Planning, and engineered drawings prepared by a Nevada Registered Engineer for submittal and review.  

Q: Are permits required to remove or plant trees?
A: Permits are not required to remove or plant trees.  However, keep in mind that if trees or other landscaping features have been identified as being required for compliance with Appendix C of Title 30, they will need to be replaced with another tree in conformance with that code requirement.

Q: Why is it so difficult to get information regarding required permits or to make a compliant over the phone?
A: A primary goal of the Building Department is to make our department’s information more accessible.  A great place to start is right here, within the ‘Got Permits’ program.  How to Guides in both English and Spanish and general permit information are available by browsing through the web pages provided.  Our office staff is available by telephone at (702)455-3000, Monday through Friday, 7:30a.m. – 4:30p.m. 

Complaints may be submitted either online or over the phone by calling (702)615-0799. Citizens have the option of providing their name and contact information, allowing us to follow up with them during the investigation and resolution of the case, or they may choose to remain anonymous and receive no updates.

Q: Why can’t I talk to a real human being when I call the Building Department?
A: Staff members from each functional area of the department are available by phone Monday-Friday, 7:30a.m. – 4:30p.m, inspection staff is available from 6:30 am – 3:00 pm.  By selecting the correct option on our automated phone system, you will be routed to the appropriate person.  A telephone guideline available on our website shows all of the call routing options and is designed to help you navigate our phone system.

Q: Why did my inspection fail and my permit expire just because my HVAC guy didn’t leave a ladder for the inspection?
A: A ladder is needed for the inspector to verify if the HVAC unit is installed per the Uniform Mechanical Code, and the manufacturer's installation instructions.  We inspect the condensate piping, gas, and electric installations at the unit.  If adequate access to the unit is not provided to the inspector by either the homeowner or the contractor, the inspector will not be able to look at these components and the inspection will be disapproved.  It is recommended that homeowners coordinate issues such as access with the contractor prior to the scheduling of inspections.   

Each issued permit is good for 180 days, and is extended an additional 180 days with each approved inspection.  If no inspections are approved within that time frame, the permit will expire.  Extensions of time for residential permits are granted at the discretion of permit office management.  If a permit expires, it may be renewed for additional permit fee charges.

Q: Why do I need a water heater permit?
A: Water heater permits provide assurance to the homeowner that a certified plumbing inspector can verify, in a single required inspection, that the installation has been completed according to code.  These permits can be obtained in a simple online process, or in person as an over the counter transaction at our Permit Center. This inspection is to ensure that the electric or gas connections have been safely installed and that the water connections have been joined properly. If gas is utilized the venting, piping and connections will be inspected.  These inspections can be scheduled at the homeowner’s convenience, and are typically completed within one day of being requested, unless another date is preferred.  We also provide Saturday inspections on water heaters, at no additional cost, for owners that are not available during the week.  Check out the Water Heater and Water Softener guides for further details about this program.

Q: Why do inspectors disapprove construction that’s built per approved plans?
A: Sometimes the approved plans do not reflect all of the code requirements. When this happens, it is important to remember that safety is our primary goal.  If something is missed by your plans examiner, it still needs to be addressed. On the other hand, if you think that the inspector is not making the correct interpretation, there is a Second Opinion Program offered to verify or provide clarification to the code interpretation in question.

Q: Why is there so much debris dumped all over the county and how can I help clean it up?
A: Unfortunately we cannot prevent illegal dumping, but you can help clean up our neighborhoods by reporting trash and debris to Clark County Public Response Office for enforcement and cleanup.

Q: How much does a new addition cost? 
A:
Permit costs are based on the square footage, plumbing fixtures, electrical devices, and mechanical equipment installed. For more information on the fees associated with a residential addition permits, see our Residential Addition Permit Guide in addition to visiting our Permit Fee Calculator pages to estimate your permit costs.

Q: Why doesn’t the county have more counter staff or inspectors that speak Spanish?
A: We do have various language interpreters on staff and available upon request in the office, in addition to providing How To Guidelines in Spanish on this site.

Q: Why don’t inspectors call before showing up?
A: There are many potential unforeseen deviations to an inspector’s schedule. Our goal is to ensure timely and accurate inspections while making all attempts to accommodate special requests, as time and schedule allow. If you leave a phone number and request for a call prior to the inspection, we will contact you to provide and arrival time.  We also provide an option, via our automated phone system, to hear the name and cell phone number of the inspector assigned to your inspection so that you may call your inspector for an approximate time of arrival.  To access this information, call (702)455-3000 on the morning of your scheduled inspection.  With your Phone System Number in hand (printed at the top, center of your permit), select option 1 for Inspections, and then option 1 for Automated Inspection Program, and then option 3 for Scheduled Inspection Information.

Q: If you buy a house that had a lot done to it without permits, does the current or past homeowner have the responsibility to permit the construction?
A: The current homeowner is responsible for permit compliance. Any dispute between the current homeowner and the past homeowner regarding previous work and disclosure would be a civil matter between homeowners.

Q: What is required to add gas piping for a backyard BBQ?
A: A homeowner or contractor must prepare a one line drawing of the proposed gas line installation including the Btu/hr of the appliance(s) to be installed and the total number of lineal feet of piping from source of gas to the BBQ location. The drawing must include what type of piping material will be used (natural gas or propane). The homeowner or contractor shall then secure a plumbing permit before commencing work, and then follow through with the scheduling and approval of underground, rough and final gas inspections.

Q: Can a sink in the backyard BBQ area drain to the yard? Or is it required to drain to the sewer?
A: Code requires that all plumbing fixtures are required to be directly connected to the building drain. This requirement is for sanitary purposes, insect control, and the prevention of offensive odors due to outdoor sinks that may contain grease, fats and oils.

Q: Is a permit and inspection required to cut a gate in a block wall fence?
A: Permits and inspections are required to install a gate in an existing block wall.  The method of attachment for gates and any removal of the existing block wall must be inspected for structural integrity.

Q: Is a permit required for a vent free gas appliance? Can the homeowner install the appliance?
A:
Permits and inspections are required for all gas fired appliances, vented or unvented, propane or natural gas, such as water heaters, fireplaces and furnaces. Exceptions: Replacement of cook top ranges and clothes dryers.  

Homeowner’s may obtain permits as Owner Builder and install appliances only at properties in which they dwell.  This does not include residential rental properties under private ownership.

Q: Can I go online and complete the permit process?
A: Currently, water heater and water softener permits are available start to finish online.  See our Water Heater and Water Softener Permit Guideline for program details and instructions.   

We also offer Electronic Plan Submittal for most residential project types.  Visit our ePlan web pages for requirements and program specifications.

Q: Why do I need a permit for a spa?
A: Permits and inspections are required for both above ground and in-ground spas.  When water, electricity and protected barriers are involved, safety is an issue.  Clearances from the house, windows, overhead materials, disconnects (electric shut off switch) for spa must comply with code. Any additional electrical wiring/ conduit will need to be inspected and approved before concealing.  More details about spa permit requirements can be found in our Pool and Spa Permit Guides.

Q: How do I find out if my patio cover was permitted? Can I do repairs (replace rafters) without a permit?
A: A search of our records for copies of issued permits may be done from the Document Image Search feature on our website.  Searches can be done by address or assessor’s parcel number.  If your web search does not yield any results, you may call a Records Technician for assistance at (702)455-8382.  If no evidence of permit exists, it is the responsibility of the current owner to secure permits and ensure compliance with original approved codes.

Q: Can I extend my block wall past my electrical panel/ meter and my gas meter?
A: Access to electrical and gas meters are regulated by the utility companies. If they cannot gain access, they may require you to pay a higher rate for the special remote reading. Contact the utilities directly for more information.  Southwest Gas (877)860-6020 NV Energy (702)402-5555

Q: Why can’t I have a private courtyard in front of my house (6ft wall)?
A: Courtyards are allowed; conditional upon meeting set back wall height requirements as set forth in Title 30.  In addition to meeting zoning requirements, plans, permits and inspections are required on all structures exceeding 120 square feet or walls in the front yard exceeding two feet.  Consult our Residential Addition Permit Guideline for more information on permit requirements.

Keep in mind that your property may be governed by other HOA requirements that are not enforced by the Building Department.

Q: Do accessory structures like garages, shops or shade structures require permits?  If so, what do I need to do to get permits?
A: For residential use, a structure that is 120 square feet or less does not require a permit and is considered an accessory structure, per Section 22.02.190(A) in Clark County Administrative Code. Both attached and detached garage additions require plans, permits and inspections.  Consult our Residential Addition Permit Guideline for more information on permit requirements.  Also keep in mind that multiple detached structures, regardless of square footage, on the same lot may require zoning approval.  It is advised that you contact the Comprehensive Planning Department, Current Planning division to determine lot coverage and setback conformance.

Q: How can I find out about my setbacks and easements?
A: Contact the Comprehensive Planning Department, Current Planning division to determine property zone assignment, setback requirements and easement information.  They may also be reached by phone at (702)455-4314.

Q: Do I need permits for an RV cover or metal shed over 120sq. ft, but not bolted to a footing?
A: Permits and inspections are required for any structure that exceeds 120 square feet, per Section 22.02.190(A) in Clark County Administrative Code.  Consult our Residential Addition Permit Guideline for more information on permit requirements.

Q: Do I need a permit for a vinyl fence? My fence guy told me I don’t.
A:
The following fence/wall types do not require a permit:

  • Fences in rear yards without permanent foundations not over 4 feet in height
  • Fences / retaining walls not over 24 inches in height, at any location  

All other types of fences or walls require permits and inspections.  Requirements may be found by accessing our Fence/Wall Permit Guideline.

Q: Can I put a detached garage on my property?
A: Detached garages are allowed if the proper setbacks, lot coverage and height requirements are met. Contact the Comprehensive Planning Department, Current Planning division to determine property zone assignment, setback and lot coverage requirements, and easement information.  They may also be reached by phone at (702)455-4314.  In addition to meeting zoning requirements, plans, permits and inspections are required on all structures exceeding 120 square feet.   Consult our Residential Addition Permit Guideline for more information on permit requirements.

Q: What is required to install a metal pre-fabricated garage, and who can get the permit?
A: If the structure is on your residential property, you or your contractor is responsible for obtaining a permit, and requesting inspections. Also, you must comply with the manufactures installation instructions and the engineer’s design.  Plans (and possibly engineered drawings), permits and inspections are required on all structures exceeding 120 square feet.  Consult our Residential Addition Permit Guideline for more information on permit requirements.

Q: I remodeled 40 years ago without permits. What now?
A: Permits should be obtained to legalize remodeled areas of your home.  Present code requirements must be met, regardless of the construction year.  Plans, permits and inspections will be required.  Portions may have to be opened or exposed as part of the inspection process.

Q: Can I build against the property line of my neighbor, if my they don’t mind?
A: On residential structures, setbacks are required as a fire safety issue and by Zoning Ordinaces.  These  cannot be waived by neighbor consent.  Contact zoning at (702)455-5621 to verify setbacks.  Contact the Comprehensive Planning Department, Current Planning division to determine the setback requirements for your property.  

Block walls or fences may be constructed on a property line with the written, notarized consent of adjoining property owners.  A Property Line Authorization Form is available on our website.

Q: Can I install a carport in front of my garage on the driveway?
A: Carports are allowed if the proper setbacks, lot coverage and height requirements are met. Contact the Comprehensive Planning Department, Current Planning division to determine property zone assignment, setback and lot coverage requirements.  They may also be reached by phone at (702)455-4314.  In addition to meeting zoning requirements, plans, permits and inspections are required on all structures exceeding 120 square feet.   Consult our Residential Addition Permit Guideline for more information on permit requirements.

Q: Do I need a permit to increase the height of a CMU wall?
A: Plans, permits and inspections are required anytime the height of an existing Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) wall is increased. Under standard application of our codes, the maximum height allowed for residential side and rear walls is 6’ high.  Within 15’ of the front property line and along the front, a 5’ high decorative fence is allowed (2’ block wall with 3’ of wrought iron on top).  Typically, any walls higher than 6 feet require an approval of an Administrative Minor Deviation by Comprehensive Planning, and engineered drawings prepared by a Nevada Registered Engineer for submittal and review.


Inspection Services FAQs
Permit Issuance FAQs
Plan Review FAQs
Plan Submittal FAQs
Last modified at 12/10/2015 17:54 by System Account