Building Division

Effective May 9, 2018, Ordinance No. 18-032 requires the following:

The lowest floor* of all new construction and substantially damaged/improved structures in the FEMA 100-year floodplain must be built to a minimum of 18 inches above the base flood elevation.

Residential structures must be elevated 18 inches above base flood elevation.

Non-residential structures can be elevated 18 inches above the base flood elevation OR floodproofed (AE-Zones only) to 18 inches above the base flood elevation.

The 18-inch freeboard requirement applies to all mechanical equipment servicing the building.

          * Lowest floor in V-zones is the "lowest horizontal structural member."
Permitting, Inspections, Plan Review


The Building Inspection Division processes building, electrical, air conditioning, and miscellaneous permits. Division staff monitors activities to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local guidelines and ordinances.

When a Building Permit is Required

You need a permit for the following:
  • Building an all new structure commercial or residential. 
  • Adding rooms, decks, porches, or accessory buildings.
  • Block the sidewalk, parking lane, etc. temporarily with a construction dumpster, temporary fence, machinery, debris, etc.
  • Building or modifying a deck
  • Building or modifying a sign
  • Building or replacing a fence
  • Building retaining walls over 4 feet in height measured from bottom of the footing to top of the wall
  • Constructing new driveway (other applicable regulations; see the Public Works Department and the Coastal Resource Manager)
  • Food establishments (new or altered) require additional permit for grease traps
  • Installing new siding
  • Place any fill on a property (requires drainage plan)
  • Replacing a roof, or portions of a roof
  • Replacing an electric stove with a gas model
When in doubt, check with the Building Division at (409) 797-3660. Construction without a permit will result in double or triple permit fees, and may result in corrective action through Municipal Court.

Please click here to view the list of downloadable applications and fee schedule.


OSHA has ruled on exposure to respirable crystalline silica. As of June 23, 2016 these new regulations will be in effect. The enforcement of these new regulations is scheduled to start June 23, 2017. Please visit the OSHA website below for more information on how this will potentially impact the construction industry.

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