Permit Applications and Fees

What Work Requires a Permit?

Permits are required for a variety of construction, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical projects.

¿Que Trabajos Necesitan Permiso?

Requires A Building Permit

  • New houses
  • Wood decks, patio covers, porches (repairs and replacements)
  • Roofing work
  • Siding, soffit, fascia, casings
  • Additions
  • Garages, carports
  • Any accessory structure larger than 200 sq. ft.
  • Structural repairs, i.e., foundations, walls, headers, beams, joists, and rafters
  • Retaining walls over 4 ft. high
  • Backyard swimming pools
  • Interior remodeling involving drywall, moving/building of walls, and altering windows and/or doors
  • Interior demolition for remodel
  • Demolition of all or part of a structure

Requires An Electrical, Plumbing, and/or Mechanical Permit

  • Changing, relocating, or alteration to an electrical service entrance
  • Replacement of receptacles that are not the same type
  • Rewiring house, adding outlets, adding central air conditioning
  • Adding a new bath, changing locations of plumbing fixtures, installing a water meter
  • Gas piping
  • Installing a new or replacing a furnace, water heater, central air conditioning; including venting of an appliance

Under City Ordinance, single-family homeowners who are also occupants of the home may apply for and obtain permits to do their own work; however, if a contractor does the work, it is recommended the contractor obtain the permit. Contractors are required to be licensed in the City of Dubuque and by the State of Iowa.

Permit Application and Fees

The City of Dubuque Inspection & Construction Services Division issues permits for building, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, and ADA work being performed. Permit applications and fees are available.

Residential and Commercial Building Permit Process

  • Submit a completed permit application for review and two sets of construction plans and documents. One paper set of plans and one set of electronic plans in PDF file format is required. 
  • A site plan is required for all proposed new structures or tear-down and replacement of existing structures. The site plan must contain: 
    • Lot dimensions per side of lot.
    • Total square footage of lot.
    • Size of all existing structures and proposed structures along with distances from structures to lot lines along with the total height of the proposed new structure from the ground to the peak of the roof. 
    • Location of all non-permeable surfaces such as concrete driveways and sidewalks and dimensions, and the location of the street in regards to the structure. Site plan example.
  • Permit applications must be completely filled out by the applicant.
  • Total Construction Value of the project is all associated costs of the project for labor and materials both interior and exterior including work not requiring a permit. Include all HVAC, plumbing, electrical, grading, exterior concrete work of sidewalks and driveways, fencing, landscaping, painting, cabinets and counters, and all general contractor costs. Total construction value is used to create monthly reports on our local building economy to help determine the average cost and type of homes being constructed in our community.
  • Value of Work to be Permitted is Total Construction Value minus electrical, plumbing, HVAC, carpeting, painting, cabinets and counters, sidewalks, driveways, grading, fences less than 7’ high, and retaining walls less than 4’ high.
  • Owners who perform their own work must take cost of materials x 2 to calculate the value of work to be permitted.
  • Applications must include one (1) electronic copy and one (1) paper copy of the construction plans for all proposed new structures, new interior walls or removal of existing interior walls and major interior renovations or alterations.
  • Permit applicants will be notified upon completion of the plan review process and provided a copy of
    • The stamped and approved construction plans 
    • A plan review letter. 
    • Total cost of the permit.
  • Applicants must pay the full balance due for the permit prior to issuance of the permit and work starting.
  • Upon issuance of the permit, work must commence within 180 days or the permit will expire and no longer be valid.
  • All work must be done within 365 days from the time of permit issuance unless otherwise requested at the time of issuance and approved by the Building Services Department.

Plan Review Fees: 20% of the Permit Fee

The City of Dubuque Inspection & Construction Services Division performs plan reviews on residential and commercial construction. This includes new buildings or structures in excess of 200 square feet. Plan review is also performed for residential and commercial additions and renovations. During the plan review process, our staff coordinates with all City stakeholders in the code review process. We check to make sure all life and safety items, in combination with minimum code requirements, are being met and included on the plans and specifications. Upon completion, we provide the applicant with a detailed plan review letter and the approved set of construction plans. This service provides the applicant with the assurance that all minimum code requirements will be met prior to construction and avoids costly change orders or time delays during the project to remedy non-code compliant items.