Building Codes & Permitting

*You are required to have all permits displayed and clearly visible from the street, along with an approved set of plans on the job site, at all times. Failure to comply with this will result in your receiving a Red Tag violation and a minimum $50.00 fee.*


Building Codes

International Code Council

Please be aware the City of Galveston Building Department is under the 2012 International Codes.

  • 2012 International Building Code (Chapter 10 of City Code) Ordinance and local amendments.
  • 2012 International Existing Building Code (Chapter 10 of City Code) Ordinance and local amendments.
  • 2012 International Energy Code (Chapter 10 of City Code) Ordinance and local amendments.
  • 2012 International Fire Code
  • 2012 International Fire Code Ordinance
  • 2012 International Fuel and Gas Code (Chapter 21 of City Code) Ordinance and local amendments.
  • 2012 International Residential Code (Chapter 10 of City Code) Ordinance and Local amendments.
  • 2012 Mechanical Code, with local amendments (Chapter 21 of City Code)
  • 2012 Mechanical Code, with local amendments (Chapter 21 of City Code) Ordinance and local amendments
  • 2017 Electrical Code [Effective September 1, 2017, per the State of Texas law requires all work to adhere to the 2017 National Electrical Code.] 
  • 2011 Comprehensive Plan*
  • Design Standards for Historic Properties*
  • Flood Ordinance No. 02-085
  • National Electrical Code, Chapter 12 of the City Code*
  • 2015 Land Development Regulations*

* Denotes codes available on City of Galveston website 

Code Amendments

Construction Codes

Click here to view the City of Galveston Code of Ordinances.

  • Chapter 1 General Provisions
  • Chapter 2 Administration
  • Chapter 3 Airports
  • Chapter 4 Alcoholic Beverages
  • Chapter 5 Ambulances
  • Chapter 6 Amusements
  • Chapter 7 Animals and Fowl
  • Chapter 8 Beaches and Waterways
  • Chapter 9 Bicycles
  • Chapter 10 Buildings
  • Chapter 11 Cemeteries
  • Chapter 11.5 Clean Air: Smoking in Public Places
  • Chapter 12 Electricity
  • Chapter 13 Fire Protection and Prevention
  • Chapter 14 Flooding and Municipal Drainage Utility System
  • Chapter 15 Garbage and Trash
  • Chapter 16 Harbors, Wharves and Docks
  • Chapter 18 International Property Maintenance Code
  • Chapter 18.5 Lead Abatement
  • Chapter 19 Licenses, Permits and Business Regulations
  • Chapter 20 Litter
  • Chapter 20.5 Mardi Gras
  • Chapter 21 Mechanical and Air Conditioning Code
  • Chapter 22 Municipal Court
  • Chapter 22.5 Neighborhood Partnership Program
  • Chapter 23 Nuisances
  • Chapter 24 Offenses - Miscellaneous
  • Chapter 25 Oil and Gas
  • Chapter 26 Parks and Recreation
  • Chapter 28 Pensions
  • Chapter 29 Planning - Beach Access Dune Protection and Beach Front Construction
  • Chapter 30 Plumbing and Gas
  • Chapter 31 Public Utilities
  • Chapter 32 Streets, Sidewalks and Public Places
  • Chapter 33 Taxation
  • Chapter 33.5 Tobacco Products
  • Chapter 34 Traffic
  • Chapter 34.5 Transportation
  • Chapter 35 Vehicles for Hire
  • Chapter 36 Water, Sewer and Sewage Disposal
  • Chapter 37 Wrecker, Tow Truck and Storage Facility Code

Permitting

For a full list of permit applications, please visit the Applications, Fees, and FAQs page on the Development Services homepage.

Certificate of Occupancy (C/O)

No building or structure shall be used or occupied, and no change in the existing occupancy classification of a building or structure or portion thereof, shall be made until the Building Division has issued a Certificate of Occupancy. Issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy shall not be construed as an approval of a violation of the provisions of the International Residential or Building Codes. Certificates presuming to give authority to violate or cancel the provisions of this code or other ordinances of the City of Galveston shall not be valid. 

Commercial Building Permits

You will need the following information in order to submit your Commercial Building Application. Applications without all necessary information will not be accepted.

  • 2 Sets of 11 x 17 Engineered Plans or a digital (electronic) copy are required for all new construction or significant modification construction.
  • ADA Registration. This is for all non-residential projects over $50,000.00 of valuation.
  • Asbestos Survey. This survey is required for all commercial alterations, renovations & demolitions, this includes residential more than 4 units.
  • Completed Building Permit Application. This includes all associated signatures and information. All blanks of the application must be completed with the requested information or N/A where appropriate. 
  • Commercial Permit Checklist Information. All items noted on the "Commercial Building Permit Checklist" must be addressed on the submitted building permit. This is attached to the application.
  • Completed Temporary License To Use Application. Submitted with site plan, project timeline and traffic routing information. Application should be submitted at the same time of building permit application to avoid delay in approval.
  • Detailed Site Plan. This plan must be to scale, indicating all applicable setbacks, property line location, associated streets and placement of proposed improvements. 
  • Drainage Plan. This is required for all new development where alterations to the drainage patterns may occur, or where no drainage provisions currently exist. 
  • Elevation Certificate. This is required for all new structures. 
  • Energy Code. Please refer to the handout entitled "City of Galveston Energy Code Requirements."
  • Historic Districts. Photos of the existing areas or structure along with drawings of proposed changes or alterations. (Please refer to Section 29-80 of the Zoning Standards and the Design Standards for Historic Properties in Galveston.)
  • Landscaping Plan. This is required for all projects.
  • Land Use Information. Details of the existing and proposed land use, including operations, personnel specifications, services provided, etc. (floor plan/layout required)
  • Property Survey. If available for all new construction including additions or expansions. 
  • Off-Street Parking Plan. Required for all multi-family residential and non-residential projects.

People also view:

Please be aware the City of Galveston abides by the 2012 IBC code for all Commercial construction. When building in the City of Galveston, there is a 5' fire setback requirement from all adjoining property lines. Please contact us if you have any questions.  

Residential Building Permits

You will need all of the following information that pertains to your job in order to submit your Residential Building Application. Applications without all necessary information will not be accepted. 

  • 2 Sets of 11 x 17 (minimum size) Engineered Plans or a digital (electronic) copy are required for all new construction or significant modification construction.
  • Completed Building Permit Application. This includes all associated signatures and information. All blanks of the application must be completed with the requested information or N/A where appropriate.
  • Detailed Site Plan. This plan must be to scale, indicating all applicable setbacks, property line location, associated streets and placement of proposed improvements. 
  • Drainage Plan. This is required for all new development where alterations to the drainage patterns may occur, or where no drainage provisions currently exist. 
  • Elevation Certificate. This is required for all new structures. 
  • Energy Code. Please refer to the handout entitled "City of Galveston Energy Code Requirements."
  • Historic Districts. Photos of the existing areas or structure along with drawings of proposed changes or alterations. (Please refer to Article 10 of the Land Development Regulations and the Design Standards for Historic Properties in Galveston.)
  • Land Use Information. Details of the existing and proposed land use, including operations, personnel specifications, services provided, etc. (floor plan/layout required)
  • Property Survey. If available for all new construction including additions or expansions. 

Please be aware the City of Galveston abides by the 2012 IRC code with 130 MPH 3 second wind gust for all Residential construction. When building in the City of Galveston there is a 5' fire setback requirement from all adjoining property lines. Please contact us if you have any questions.  

FAQs

  • Do I need a permit? If your project has a valuation of $500 or more you will typically need a permit. Paint work, new finished flooring materials, cabinets and interior trim work are examples of work that do not require a permit. 
  • What does $500 valuation mean? Valuation is the overall value of all labor and materials necessary to complete a project. There is no discounted rate for materials that are previously owned or donated nor on labor that is donated or done on your own project. What would the cost be if you called a registered contractor to do the project?
  • How long does it take to get a permit? There is not a set amount of time it takes to get your permit back to you as there are multiple factors that go into the amount of time it can take to review. Please ensure that you have included all necessary information with the application to prevent delays. The City of Galveston makes every attempt to get your permit to you as quickly as possible. 
  • What happens if I do not get a permit? The property owner may be subject to legal action for failure to obtain a building permit. If you carry out a construction project that requires a building permit without having one, the City of Galveston Building Department representatives may issue a "Stop Work" or a "Cease and Desist" order, which remains in effect until a permit is obtained. If the work does not meet the requirements of the Building Codes, you may well have to redo the work at your cost. Additionally, work performed with out a required building permit may hold up the sale of your property in the future and may also affect an insurance claim. Before any work beings on your property, check with your insurance representative, who can explain exactly what is needed to ensure continuous and adequate coverage, both during and after the construction. 
  • What is a site plan? Please view this example
  • Who is my inspector? Please view our Inspectors page  as it will depend on what you are doing.
  • What inspections will I need? Common inspections are listed with each inspector. Please be aware if you are doing a type of work that falls into one of these categories you will need to call for that inspection. It is up to you to know which inspections you will need and when you will need to call for them. If you are not certain of if or when you need an inspection it is your responsibility to contact that inspector. 
  • How will I know if I passed or failed an inspection? Typically inspectors will leave tags to indicated if your inspection has been passed or failed. A red tag is a failed inspection. You may also visit the Citizen Portal of our website to check on the status of permits and inspections along with other useful information.