"Do You Know What You Need
To Present When Applying For
Garage Building Permits?"

As a general rule, you will need garage building permits if your proposed structure will sit on a permanent foundation. If you are putting up a storage shed that sits on concrete blocks or some other temporary form of foundation that is not deemed permanent then you usually will not need to go through the permit process, but it is a good idea to check with the local jurisdiction to find out for sure, as the rules vary greatly across the country.

If garage building permits are required, then in order to get your application for them approved, and the permit issued by your local jurisdiction, there are a number of documents that you will need to prepare and present to the building department in order to get the garage building permits issued so that you can legally proceed with building a garage.

The actual garage building permits application is usually filled-out at the counter and the clerk or building inspector can assist you with any questions you may need to answer about your proposed construction project for building a garage. In addition to the application, you will need to present your garage plans for review by the building officials. Below is a review list of what content needs to be included in the plans, at minimum.

First: You will need a Site Plan that shows your property lines and existing buildings on your property. You will also need to show your proposed garage structure, and how far it will sit away from property lines, other existing structures, and streets or alleys that will serve as access to the garage. The Site Plan can usually be drawn at the scale of 1" = 20'. This will be large enough to show most detail that is necessary, and should fit on an 8.5" x 11" piece of paper for the average home site if you already have garage plans prepared for building a garage, or:

Second: Similar to what is shown on the PDF Sample Page you will need a Cover Sheet . If you are drawing your own plans then you can place the Site Plan on this sheet where the exterior rendering is located. You should also show an Architectural Symbols Legend for the symbols you will use throughout the rest of your plans, and an Abbreviations Code that identifies the abbreviation for those words or phrases that are used often. This, and the remaining sheets are usually drawn on 11" x 17" paper size which is sufficient for plans related to building a garage.

Third: You will need a Plan Views sheet that shows your Foundation Plan and Floor Plan. Also, include notes about Door Types, Beam Types and general notes pertaining to your proposed construction. The plans should be drawn at 1/4" = 1' 0" and should have a cross-section indicator line drawn through them to show where your cross-section is cut through the structure.

Fourth: You will need a sheet that shows the Floor Slab Plan and how it drains and the Cross-Section through the garage structure that notes pertinent details about your foundation and superstructure and how they fit together. The Floor Slab Plan should be drawn at 1/4" = 1' 0" and the Cross Section should be drawn at 3/8" = 1' 0".

Fifth: You will need a sheet that shows the Exterior Elevations of your proposed garage. These can be drawn at 1/4" = 1' 0" and should start in the upper left corner of the sheet with the main access wall where your overhead garage door will be located and then rotate 90° to the right showing each successive elevation until you reach the wall opposite the overhead garage door wall. Show elevational notes such as "top of foundation", "top of bearing plate", and roof overhang dimensions, type of siding, etc. Also, display the roof pitch at least twice. If gutters and downspouts are required in your jurisdiction, then show their locations on the elevations and call out their sizes.

Sixth: You will need a Roof Framing Plan. This can be drawn at 1/4" = 1' 0" and should show the location of the bearing walls and the roof rafters bearing upon those walls. Dimension the rafter spacing and overhang lengths. Identify the ridge-board, hip rafters, jack rafters and common rafters. In some jurisdictions where snow loads are a concern, you may be required to have this detail prepared by a structural engineer licensed in the jurisdiction for life-safety reasons. So check first with your local building official before proceeding with plans for building a garage.

Seventh: You will need a sheet that shows miscellaneous Details. One will be a Wall Section Detail At Roof and the other a Wall Section Detail At Foundation. These should be drawn at 1-1/2" = 1' 0" and completely detail your design and connections at these important spots that are subject to excessive structural loading due to wind and/or snow. You can also place any other pertinent details on this sheets such as Door Jamb And Head Jamb Details which can be drawn at 1" = 1' 0".

You may be required to show other information and details on additional sheets to obtain your garage building permits based upon what is required in your local jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions may require Electrical Plans for any electrical-power you plan on bringing to your structure, or they may require that your foundation and roof system be designed by a licensed structural engineer, so ask before you proceed with preparing or acquiring plans for building a garage.

Check with your local building official and get a list of what garage plans he/she requires before proceeding to apply for garage building permits. They will be happy to help you in advance of your formal application for garage building permits. Basically, your detailed garage plans show how to build a garage in specific, based upon the design you choose and that is what the building officials want to see as part of your application package. They want to know from reviewing your garage plans exactly how you intend to put the pieces together to form a safe finished structure.

Garage Tips: If you have to make three visits to the building official offices before making your formal application for garage building permits, they will likely consider you a very serious person that wants to get it all worked-out before proceeding and will be less likely to over-scrutinize your actual work during inspections. Generally, if you treat them with respect they will bend over backwards to assist you when real-problems do arise.

One of the main concerns the building official will have will center around what type of garage foundation system you are proposing to use for building a garage. There is lengthy discussion about this on our Garage Foundation page and subsequent pages related to foundation work, so you should get educated on this because the foundation is a fundamental component of your structure and an important part of learning how to build a garage.

When learning how to build a garage it helps if you have a detailed set of plans to study for educational purposes to learn what is involved in the overall process. GarageTips-101 offers at a nominal price a set of single car garage plans (12' x 24') consisting of 6 sheets of drawings on 11" x 17" sheet sizes as displayed on the PDF Sample Page. They are available in PDF Format in a hip roof version or a gable roof version. The gable roof version has roof trusses and accompanying details.

How To Order Garage Plans

Go to our Contact Us page and fill in the form stating your interest in the Garage Plans, and we will get back to you via email with the delivery options, payment options, and total cost.

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❖ Testimonials ❖

We have been following your blog and we have found a lot of useful information in it.

Cecil Sibanda
Product Coordinator
Dorman Products, Inc.
Colmar, PA

I was pleased that I was able to easily find the proper tall storage cabinet for my garage. I needed lockable storage to keep my toddler away from sharp tools and solvents that my husband stores. Garagetips-101 solved my problem!

Renee M.

I love the detail in your garage building pages. They helped me understand how to engineer a foundation for a garage we are planning that our building department will approve. I had the inspector go to your pages and review what I was talking about. Now, I am studying the wall framing sections, as we plan to build it ourselves this fall. Thank you so much for the great information.

R.G.,
Des Moines, IA

Great stuff on wall framing. I never really understood the on-and-off spacing concepts for the wall studs until I read your explanations.

Will,
Grand Island, NE

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