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  • Jeremy Horning

Shed Permits and Regulations in Providence RI

Something to think about and research before you build your shed in Providence, RI, is whether you need a permit. It’s important to follow the rules and meet any guidelines if you want to avoid the risk of having to take it down.

Building regulations, in general, can be very confusing, particularly regarding shed permits. The rules and regulations often differ, depending on where you live. But don’t stress because all the hard work has been done for you, and this guide will set things straight.

What is a Shed Build Permit?

If you want to construct something on your property, you’ll likely need to apply for a permit and get permission. When it comes to the construction of a shed, whether it’s for storage or some other purpose, you might need to apply for a shed building permit.

There are some cases where you won’t need to apply for a shed building permit. However, it’s best not to take a chance and check the regulations firsthand with your local authority. That way, you’ll ensure your building complies with your local building code requirements and regulations.

You can apply for a building permit yourself or get a licensed contractor to apply for the work they’ll be doing.

Do You Need a Building Permit for a Shed in Providence, RI?

Local authorities can control construction and the quality of the work with building permits. The regulations you must follow ensure Providence, RI, is an attractive and safe place to live for all residents and that the state’s minimum construction standards are met.

Building codes provide the first line of defense against substandard construction and materials, both of which have the potential to lead to catastrophic structural failures.

Rhode Island communities have control over planning, growth, and development in their areas, thanks to the passing of the Rhode Island Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Act.

Different city and county governments in Rhode Island have their own formula for zoning and planning.

Building regulations usually include specific height and width limits in relation to shed permits. For example, a one-story detached accessory structure in Providence that will be used as a tool or storage shed, playhouse, or something similar, does not require a permit if the floor area is less than 120 square feet.

It’s important to note that this isn’t the only requirement. In addition, your shed must have no plumbing or electrical installations. If your shed has these, you’ll need to apply for a different kind of permit. Typically, that would be a plumbing or electrical permit.

In addition, every piece of land in Providence is sectioned into different RI zoning classifications. Zoning restrictions also have to be complied with. You can find a detailed overview of the current laws in the City of Providence’s Zoning Ordinance User Manual.

How to Get a Shed Permit in Providence?

You can apply for your shed permit online at Alternatively, you can do it in person by visiting 444 Westminster Street.

The application requires the following information:

  • Name of the owner.

  • Name of the contractor who will be building the shed and their license number.

  • A detailed description of the building work planned.

  • Labor and material costs, even if the owner is supplying the material.

  • Plans. You may be asked to provide an electronic submittal and one hard copy.

Your application will be reviewed and then confirmed. You will also have to pay a permit fee. In addition, you may be required to allow inspections of the planned construction.

Once the construction work is completed, you or your contractor must call the Department of Inspections and Standards office to schedule a final inspection.

If plans had to be submitted with the application, you or the contractor must have the approved stamped plan from the plan reviewer available at the final inspection.

How Much Does a Shed Building Permit Cost in Providence?

You must pay a permit fee based on the construction cost for labor and materials multiplied by a multiplier. A permit fee calculator is available to use on the Department of Inspections and Standards website.

The fees set by the State of Rhode Island in July 2018 are as follows:

  • Cost of construction $0 - $10,000: The fee is $23 per thousand of cost (minimum $50)

  • Cost of construction $10,000.01 - $50,000: The fee is $230 + $21 per thousand exceeding $10,000

  • More than $50,000.01: $1070 + $19 per thousand exceeding $50,000

How Long Does it Take to Get a Shed Building Permit in Providence?

The permit review process in Providence starts within 15 days of the submittal of your application. Typically, the review will take between 5 and 15 days. However, it may take longer depending on the scale of the project and whether any additional information is required.

Can You Build a Shed Without Planning Permission?

You are perfectly entitled to build a shed without planning permission as long as it meets certain requirements.

What size shed can you build without a permit in Providence?

You can build a shed with less than 120 feet of floor area without worrying about applying for a Providence building permit.

How tall can my shed be?

Your shed must be no taller than 15 feet in height.

What Happens if You Build a Shed Without a Permit in Providence?

While it might be very tempting to go ahead and build your shed without applying for a shed permit, if you need a permit but fail to get one, you run the risk of the following:

  • The Department of Inspections and Standards may issue a cease and desist order. In other words, you’ll have to take down the shed and remove it from your property.

  • It could place a lien on your property.

  • You may have to pay a fine or penalty

More Zoning Rules

As well as requirements for your shed, there are also zoning rules you must consider when constructing a shed on your property.


You must build your shed at least 5 feet from your house. In addition, there are stricter setback requirements you must comply with.


When you build a shed on your property, it must be at least 5 feet from all property lines, both side and rear. You’ll find more easement information in the City of Providence Zoning Ordinance.


Staying on the right side of the law is important if you find yourself building a shed in Providence, RI. The law can sometimes be confusing, but with a professional company like Urban Sheds Providence, you know everything will be all right. They’ll help you build your dream shed, and you won’t have to worry about falling foul of the law.

There is a 3D Shed Configurator tool available online to help you design your dream shed. Your peace of mind is also guaranteed thanks to the 30-year structural warranty and 3-year workmanship warranty. If you’d like to get the ball rolling, it’s possible to arrange a free consultation.


1. How close to the property line can I build a shed in Providence, RI?

Your shed must be built at least 5 feet from all property lines.

2. What's the biggest shed I can build without a permit in Providence, RI?

Your shed must not exceed 15 feet in height and must not exceed the maximum percentage of lot coverage per Zoning District.

3. Does a shed increase property tax in Providence?

It is commonly agreed among property professionals that a shed of a decent size has the potential to boost the value of your property. A portable shed is ideal for storing garden tools. However, a much larger shed with a pool table and TV hookups will be a compelling selling point.

If your shed has permanent concrete foundations or a foundation that makes it a liveable space, it will likely raise the value of your property and increase your property taxes. Add decking to your outdoor structure, which will increase the property value even more and, in turn, increase your property taxes.

It’s also worth noting that your outdoor structure could be used as a deductible business expense. But only if you use the shed structure exclusively and regularly for business.

4. How long do building permits last in Providence?

Your Providence shed building permit will be valid for six months. The permit will expire if no work is done or inspections have been conducted.

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