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  • Jeremy Horning

Shed Regulations in Atlanta and Georgia

Updated: Nov 24, 2022

Starting your shed project can be an exciting task. Sheds may be just accessory structures - but they offer valuable additional storage space.

However, you must be sure of the building codes in your state before planning your shed. So you're not at risk of getting fined by the state authorities.


What is a shed building permit?


A shed permit is a document that permits you or your contractor to legally proceed with constructing a shed on your property. Homeowners usually need to submit a building permit application to erect a shed in their backyard.

But not all sheds require permits. There are some exceptions based on the location and structure of the shed as well.


Do you need a permit to build a shed in Atlanta, GA?

You don't need to go through the building permit application process if the shed you intend to build is less than 120 square feet and is not a commercial project.

Also, if building a one-story shed (max 20 feet in height), you don't need a building permit. However, any shed larger than 120 square feet of floor area will require you to submit the relevant forms for a shed permit.


What size shed can I build without a permit in Georgia?


If you decide to build a shed without applying for a permit, then you have to follow the requirements for a shed without a permit. It must be less than 120 square feet in area and not more than one story (20 feet in height).

Exceeding the maximum height or spacing requirement means you'll need to apply for a permit.


What Factors Determine if You Need a Permit?


Not all sheds or residential structures attract a permit fee and depending on what you want to do, you might not need one. Let's go over a few additional requirements that'll give you insight into whether or not you need a permit.


Size & height

As we stated earlier, if the square footage of your shed is more than 120 sq. ft., you'll need a permit. Also, if it is more than 20 feet in height. However, anything less than that doesn't require a permit. So make your choice wisely.

If unsure, schedule a shed plan review with a professional building contractor to determine the overall square footage and height.


Intended Purpose


Some homeowners use sheds as residential structures, and if that's the case with you, you'll most likely need to obtain a permit.

If you need to use your shed for business, contact the local planning department to find out about zoning codes and zoning restrictions before initial development starts, as it may be subject to a commercial building plan review.


Electricity and Wiring


As with commercial properties, electrical installations like solar panels for your shed require an electrical permit before starting.


Placement


There are city limits for each city, and these vary. In Atlanta, a specific street space must be adhered to when building a shed. If your shed goes beyond that, then you'll need a permit.

There are certain landmark buildings you can't build your shed close to. Also, you might not be able to erect your shed near a property line, depending on the state's mandate. As a matter of fact, in some states, a property owner may only erect a shed in their own backyard space.


Severe weather


Some counties experience frequent heavy winds. If you live in such a location, you'll need to erect a shed with a solid foundation and durable roofing material. To do this, you might need to contact the building department to provide information on how to go about constructing shed foundations.

Usually, when this happens, you need residential development permits. If you are unsure, contact the building office, and the Bureau of Planning will contact you.


Homeowners Association (HOA)


Some historic districts don't approve outdoor or commercial buildings in their area, and you might need to obtain a permit to build your shed there.

They usually have a specific construction plan you need to follow, and an alternative design might not be approved. In that case, you might need a design professional to help you develop a site plan.


Foundation type


Some foundation types might require a special-use permit before they can be developed. Often, a shed's square footage and height determine the necessary foundations.

For instance, a concrete slab foundation is acceptable for a shed with no more than one story. However, you need to ask for information from Atlanta City Hall on the preferred foundation type.


How To Get a Shed Permit in Atlanta, GA?

Permit requirements vary, and the permit process for every residential project, including a shed, is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

The type of permit you'll need depends on what you intend to construct. There are permits covering plumbing, electrical, roofing, and other aspects.

Generally, if you want to do the building permit process yourself, you'll need to follow these steps:

  • Research the regulations in your local area, as additional permits might be needed before requesting a building permit from the Department of City Planning.

  • Submit your application. There are different ways to do this. Just pick the one that is easiest for you.

  • The DCF staff will check your submitted application and notify you if it meets the code requirements. If it doesn't, you'll be instructed on the next step. After you have been cleared, you'll make payment.

  • A zoning review will be done to make sure you meet all zoning codes.

  • Once the applicable building code review has been approved, DCF staff will transfer the application to other agencies for further review. These might include the Site Development or Building and Arborist sections.

  • The submitted application will be reviewed for code compliance and might take anywhere from 10 days to 2 weeks.

  • After review, you'll be notified via mail of the total building permit fees to pay for constructing a shed. You can then proceed to make payment online.

  • Your permit will be issued and uploaded to the permitting portal. It's advisable to download a hard copy.

How much is a building permit in Atlanta?

The building permit in Atlanta is $7 per $1000 of construction costs.


How long does it take to get a building permit in Georgia?


The permit approval process takes around 10 days to 2 weeks after submitting the application forms. In some cases, you'll be required to make some revisions and adjustments before the final sign-off is issued.


Conclusion

In Atlanta, you need a permit before proceeding with a large shed or storage building construction project.

To ensure you aren't hassled by the authorities while erecting a shed, you must adhere to Atlanta City Code and requirements. So it's vital to have your shed plans approved by the Building Inspections Department before you start construction.


As one of the most trusted shed-building contractors in Atlanta, Urban Sheds ensure you won't have to worry about getting penalties. All sheds built are in line with the zonal requirements. Plus, you can choose from sheds of different styles and sizes that suit your preference and needs.


FAQ


What happens if you build a shed without a permit in Georgia?


If your shed required a building permit in advance of construction, and you failed to get one, a lien might be placed on your property. Also, you'll have to pay a fine and your shed will be removed.


How close to the property line can I build a shed in Georgia?


Your shed should be placed 5 to 10 feet away from any property line, fences, or commercial structures.

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Jeremy Horning has a passion for efficient and smooth running systems. He values beauty and  craftsmanship. When he’s not too busy building business, you’ll find him on the job constructing sheds or resurfacing hardwood decks.

After moving to Medford Ma. in 2014 he was a co-founder of  Alpha Omega Property Services, a handyman business, out of which he started Boston Hardwood Decks and Urban Sheds.

Jeremy started Urban Sheds in 2017 with the vision of connecting local craftsmen and homeowners around great shed designs, sustainable production and straightforward purchasing.​

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