Building Standards Division FAQ's

Click to Expand All
When is a building permit required?

A building permit is required for:

  • New buildings, additions and structures
  • Interior alterations including finished basements, kitchens and baths
  • Porches, decks and exterior stairs (including alterations to existing)
  • New and replacement HVAC equipment, plumbing fixtures or electric appliances
  • Tool and storage sheds and playhouses over 200 sq ft
  • Residential window or door replacements
  • Residential reroofing •Residential siding
  • Demolition of buildings and structures
  • Tents over 400 sq ft with side enclosures or over 700 sq ft when open on all sides
  • Changes of occupancy or use of a space or structure (example: change from residential use to business use or change from an office to coffee shop).
  • Moving or removing a load bearing wall or partition or repairing, altering, enlarging or modifying any structural element of the house, including: any damaged structural element, such as load bearing stud walls, columns, piers, footings, foundations, floor joists, rafters, beams or girders, enlarging or adding a door opening or window opening.
Not Required

A permit is not required for:

  • Low voltage (50 volts maximum) wiring systems and equipment
  • Gutters
  • Playground equipment
  • On-grade patios (including wood patios)
  • Temporary ramps serving residential dwellings that are no more than 30 inches high
  • Making ordinary repairs and improvements, such as: painting the inside or outside of the house or detached structures, repairing drywall, plaster, exterior siding, etc., installing new floor coverings, such as vinyl, carpet, or hardwood, repairing or replacing porch or deck flooring boards (a permit is required to repair or replace the joists or girders), repairing or replacing handrails on a porch, installing new switches or fixtures when no new wiring is being installed and existing circuits are used.
How much does it cost to purchase a building permit or submit plans?

Fees depend on the type of project, project valuation, and project size.

Under the downloads section on the Building Standards home page is a fee schedule. You can download this document to calculate exact fees or contact the Building Standards Division at (330) 263-5200 x 304 for an exact fee estimate. Also, when you submit a permit or plan review application, the fees are calculated and you can see the amount on the fee payment step.

Depending on the project, you may also be required to pay fees to the Planning and Zoning Division, Engineering Division, or the Wayne County Health Department.


Basic permit fees are shown below:

  • Commercial building permits for projects < $5,000 = $90 + $.09/sqft + 3% state fee
  • Commercial building permits for projects > $5,000 = $180 + $.09/sqft + 3% state fee
  • Residential building permits for projects < $5,000 = $90 + $.06/sqft + 1% state fee
  • Residential building permits for projects > $5,000 = $180 + $.06/sqft + 1% state fee
  • Commercial Plan Review = $90 + $.04/sqft + 3% state fee (sqft fee not charged on sprinkler or fire alarms and follow-up plan submittals on existing projects are charged a total of $92.70 for each separate submission)
  • Commercial or Residential HVAC, plumbing, electric or sprinkler permits:
  • Projects < $5,000 = $90 + $.05/sqft + (3% state fee commercial or 1% state fee residential)
  • Projects > $5,000 = $180 + $.05/sqft + (3% state fee commercial or 1% state fee residential)
  • Unit replacements including electric service, water heater, furnace or A/C unit:
  • $75+ (3% state fee commercial or 1% state fee residential)
  • Commercial fire alarm permits use the base fee + state fee only and no sqft fee.
How long does it take to review plans and get permits?

The turnaround time for the approval of a building permit depends on the scope of the work.

Permits for work not requiring plans such as minor repairs, home improvements and re-roofing are generally issued in one day.

Residential work requiring plans (construction drawings and/or site plans) such as new construction, additions or alterations are usually issued within one or two days.

Commercial permits requiring plan approval generally take between 7 and 21 days as plans usually require other department approval such as Planning and Zoning, Fire, and Utility Divisions. Plans will be routed to the necessary divisions and have concurrent plan reviews.

Most other permits such as home improvement, electric, plumbing or HVAC permits are generally issued in one day.

How do I file a complaint about the condition of a property?

The City of Wooster has adopted the International Property Maintenance Code as the minimum standard for all buildings, housing, and properties in the City. If you have a complaint about your housing conditions or other buildings or housing in the City, you can submit that complaint online. From the Building Standards home page, click the link to the Property Maintenance and Zoning Code enforcement page. You will see a link to the online submittal form.

Does the City register contractors?
Who Must Be State Licensed?

The State of Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) licenses qualified electrical, HVAC, and plumbing contractors who successfully meet the qualifications. These include technical proficiency, experience, insurance, and other requirements. It is illegal to contract this work in the State of Ohio without being licensed. There are currently no State of Ohio licensing requirements for building or remodeling contractors. Additionally, the State of Ohio Division of Fire Marshal licenses individuals and companies who work on fire protection systems.

Who Must Register in Wooster?

All State of Ohio licensed trade contractors performing work within the city limits of Wooster are required to register in the City before they can purchase permits and begin the job. The City of Wooster only registers State of Ohio licensed trade contractors - plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and fire protection. 

City of Wooster Codified Ordinances allow owners of single-family owner-occupied houses to purchase trade permits if they are doing the work themselves and are able to perform work that complies with the code. 

What We Do

The Building Standards Division will register all State of Ohio Licensed Trade Contractors free of charge automatically when you apply for a permit and supply your license number. We will verify the applicant possesses a valid and current State License and as long as that license is current, your registration is current. You do not need to pay a fee or renew as it will be done automatically.

Why We Do It

The reason we verify State Licensing is to provide minimum qualification standards that provide for the safety and welfare of the general public, owners, and occupants of buildings and structures within the city. By registering for free, we do not duplicate the standards of the State of Ohio but rather enforce the standards that already exist. We avoid duplicative bureaucracy and inefficiency and truly value the time, resources, and efforts of our customers. In addition, we do not charge fees without providing a real service to our customers and citizens.