Building Department



FAQs

+ What Building Codes are used in Connecticut and where can I purchase code books?

Click here to view the 2016 State Building Code.

+ Do I need a permit for swimming pools, spas or hot tubs?

Yes. Both zoning and building permits are required. Torrington Area Health District approval will be needed when well or septic are located on property. Swimming pools, spas and hot tubs are governed by the Appendix G of the 2009 International Residential Code portion of the 2005 Connecticut State Building Code. For zoning purposes a site plan or sketch will be necessary to show the location of the proposed pool, deck and pool enclosure. The Zoning Enforcement Officer will check for compliance regarding setback from property lines. The Wetlands Department will also need to verify the location of the pool, deck or fencing in relation to any inland wetlands or watercourses nearby. Plans for a building permit will be required as follows:

  1. Above-ground installations: Manufacturer’s specifications and detailed information regarding construction, installation, piping, equipment, electrical, barrier, gates, raised decks, guards, stairs, and suction entrapment protection. The building code also requires compliance with the Standard for Above-ground/Onground Residential Swimming Pools (ANSI/NSPI-5-2003).
  2. In-ground installations: Construction plans and details will be required to be prepared by a design professional showing structural design, piping, equipment, electrical, barrier, gates, and suction entrapment protection. The building code also requires compliance with the Standard for Residential In-ground Swimming Pools (ANSI/NSPI-5-2003).

+ What do I need for a permit to build a deck?

Zoning permits are required for new or expanded decks. Building permits are required for new decks, expanded decks and for reconstruction or structural repair of existing deck. Deck construction for one- and two-family dwellings must comply with the 2009 International Residential Code portion of the 2005 Connecticut State Building Code. Any construction that is beyond the limitations of conventional construction in the code must be designed using accepted engineering practice or be designed by a registered design professional. A site plan or sketch will be necessary to show the location of the deck and that it is compliant with zoning regulations for setback from property lines. The Wetlands Department will need to verify the location of the deck in relation to any inland wetlands or watercourses nearby. Torrington Area Health District (TAHD) approval is needed when septic or well exist on property. A plan drawn to at least ¼” scale must be submitted for the building permit that shows deck size and height, framing members, beams, girders, supports, fasteners, connection to the house, guards, stairs, handrails, material specifications and any other information that provides a detailed description of the work that is proposed. A helpful guide for code compliant deck construction is the Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide (based on the 2009 IRC) published by the American Wood Council. Using this as your guide for the design and construction of your deck will assure code compliance and permit approval. A free PDF copy can be downloaded here.

+ Why and when do I need a permit?

Connecticut General Statutes require all municipalities to administer and enforce the Connecticut State Building Code. Virtually all construction activities are regulated by the building code and are required to have permits and inspections. This is to ensure that minimum health, safety and welfare requirements are complied with. Construction work done on a residential or commercial building without permits and inspections is a violation of the building code and subject to penalties which can include fines and/or imprisonment. Property buyers and lenders often make inquires to this department regarding the legal status of a building and are reluctant to purchase the property if the proper permits have not been taken out or are open and incomplete. Depending on the nature of the work you propose you may also be required to obtain approval from Planning, Zoning, Inland-Wetlands, Health and Fire Marshal. Some examples of type of work that requires a permit:

  • Change from single family to multiple family building
  • Construction or alteration of any plumbing, electrical, mechanical systems
  • Demolition of any building
  • Erect chimneys
  • Finish off rooms in attic or basement
  • Replace roof or siding
  • Additions to any floor area in house
  • Add a dormer
  • Build a garage (attached or detached)
  • Build a carport
  • Build shed or place prebuilt shed on property (Over 200 square feet)
  • Install swimming pool, spa or hot tub.
  • Install a generator
  • Tents of certain size or use