Construction Tips

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Remodeling or adding improvements to your home?
Homeowners thinking about remodeling their home or adding other improvements, such as decks, spas and retaining walls, often have a number of questions about building permits.

This information is designed to give homeowners basic knowledge of when construction permits and other approvals are required. It also answers some of the most frequently asked questions and offers tip from the city.

Since each construction project is unique, we invite you to contact Building Services at 817-743-4110 for answers to your specific questions. You can also email the department at

What are permits and why do I need one?
Permits are the way the city regulates construction. This is designed to ensure that all construction is safe. The safety of the occupants of buildings is the primary reason for having construction codes. The city has adopted several codes, among them the International Building, Mechanical, Plumbing and National Electrical Codes. In addition, there are federal, state and local laws that govern construction, such as those covering energy conservation.

Obtaining a permit is just the first step in the process. In this step, you may need to create plans to submit to the department, make a plot plan for your property showing the improvements and show the type of construction you will be using.

Once plans are approved, you are required to build the project to those plans. If any changes are made to the plans, they must be made with the city’s approval.

When do I need a construction permit?
A construction permit is needed for all new construction. In many cases, a permit is needed for repair or replacement of existing fixtures, such as replacing windows. A plumbing, electrical or mechanical permit may be needed for any addition or changes to a building’s existing system; for example, moving or adding an electrical outlet requires a permit.

To find out if your project needs a permit, email or call 817-743-4110.

When don’t I need a construction permit?
A construction permit is not needed for items such as wallpapering, painting or similar finish work; platforms, decks and walks that are 30 inches high or less over grade or not over a basement; and in several other cases. However, reviews may be required from other agencies or zoning regulations may still be applicable. For example, an accessory building under 120 square feet does not require a permit, but still must meet certain zoning setbacks. Be sure to check before building.

For plumbing, mechanical and electrical work, replacement or repair of fixtures (such as changing water faucets or replacing switches) does not normally require a permit. Replacing a water heater or adding a permanently wired light fixture does, however, require a permit.

To determine if your project needs a permit, email or call 817-743-4110.

Where do I get a permit?
Construction permits are issued by Building Services at Keller Town Hall, 1100 Bear Creek Pkwy. Call 817-743-4110 for information or appointments. If you only need a permit for minor work, such as moving an electrical circuit or installing a water heater, permits may be issued over the counter from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or may be PULLED ONLINE.

How long does it take to get a permit?
Permit issuance periods vary. Some projects can be fully permitted over the counter, meaning a return trip won’t be needed. Some projects, however, require that plans be left for additional review.

What about zoning?
Zoning designates, within a defined area, the types of buildings and what they will be used for. For example, a residential area may be zoned SF-15, which means that the lots can contain one single-family home and the lots are a minimum of 15,000 square feet.

Zoning is regulated based on maps approved by the Keller City Council. A variance may be obtained in some cases, if a property owner wants to build something not allowed in the property’s zone.

There are also special zones within the city, such as planned districts. Community Development can answer questions about these areas. To request information, email or call 817-743-4130.

What about other approvals or permits?
Other government agencies may need to review and approve your project. The city will inform you of these reviews at the time plans are submitted.

What if I don’t get a permit?
If a permit, when needed, is not obtained before construction, you have violated city codes and regulations and you will be subject to fines and penalties. You will be required to obtain permits for the work, and it must pass inspection or you will have to return the structure or site to its original condition.

Who should obtain the permit?
Contractors should obtain the permits. The homeowner can also obtain the permits if doing the work themself.

Can I do the work myself or do I have to hire a contractor?
You can do the work yourself, but be sure to follow your approved plans, whether they are drawn by an architect, engineer, designer or are standard construction plans. If you change the plans while building the structure, this will cause problems when the project is inspected. If you do decide to make changes, check with the city’s plan review staff or your field inspector.

Who draws up the plans?
Plans for projects such as room additions can usually be drawn up by qualified individuals such as a draftsman. Other projects may require parts or all of the plans prepared and signed by an engineer or architect licensed by the state of Texas.

What about inspections?
It is the responsibility of the permit holder to call us for inspections at specific times during construction. Even if you hire a contractor, it is ultimately your responsibility, as the property owner, to make sure the inspections are made. Inspections are made during certain points in the project, depending on the work that is being performed. Remember, the project is not complete for legal purposes until it has passed the final inspection.

What if I have a permit but never called for inspections?
Generally, permits expire after 180 days if no inspections have been made. In order for the project to be complete, it must pass final inspection. If a permit expires before final inspection, the project is in violation of city codes. If this is your case, email or call 817-743-4110. We will help you reactivate the permit or apply for another with as little inconvenience as possible. Our interest is in seeing your project complete, including the final inspection.

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