How to build a house, responsibly

Don Grooms
Posted 9/10/19

There’s an adage you’ve probably heard since childhood from your parents, teachers and other authority figures: Clean up after yourself. Well, even the strongest city governments in the country cannot clean up by themselves.

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How to build a house, responsibly

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Editor’s note: This one of a series of articles by Don Grooms, Madisonville code compliance officer, to help the citizens and property owners in town have a better understanding of city ordinances.

There’s an adage you’ve probably heard since childhood from your parents, teachers and other authority figures: Clean up after yourself. Well, even the strongest city governments in the country cannot clean up by themselves.

They must rely on each ordinary person, like you and me, on our choices and our will to be responsible. That ranges from fire safety when camping to keeping old tires out of the yard to even those looking to build, remodel or repair a house.

Luckily, the City of Madisonville Permitting Department is here to help. Not everything requires a permit, but we also offer simple guidance. And can let you know if a permit actually is required.

This is a list of what will, and what will not require a permit in the city of Madisonville:

Work Exempt from Permits 2015 IRC

R105.1 Required. Any owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit. R105.2 Work exempt from permit. Permits shall not be required for the following. Exemption from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.

BUILDING

1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet (18.58 m2). Non-residential locations (less than 120 square feet).

2. Fences not over 7 feet (2134 mm) high.

3. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet (1219 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge.

4. Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18 927 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.

5. Sidewalks and driveways.

6. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.

7. Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep.

8. Swings and other playground equipment.

9. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.

10. Decks not exceeding 200 square feet (18.58 m2) in area, that are not more than 30 inches (762mm) above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling and do not serve the exit door required by Section R311.4.

ELECTRICAL

1. Listed cord-and-plug connected temporary decorative lighting.

2. Reinstallation of attachment plug receptacles but not the outlets therefor.

3. Replacement of branch circuit overcurrent devices of the required capacity in the same location.

4. Electrical wiring, devices, appliances, apparatus or equipment operating at less than 25 volts and not capable of supplying more than 50 watts of energy.

5. Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles. Gas:

1. Portable heating, cooking or clothes drying appliances.

2. Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.

3. Portable-fuel-cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid. Mechanical:

1. Portable heating appliances.

2. Portable ventilation appliances.

3. Portable cooling units.

4. Steam, hot- or chilled-water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code.

5. Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.

6. Portable evaporative coolers.

7. Self-contained refrigeration systems containing 10 pounds (4.54 kg) or less of refrigerant or that are actuated by motors of 1 horsepower (746 W) or less.

8. Portable-fuel-cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid. The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe; provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drainpipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, such work shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in this code. The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures, and the removal and reinstallation of water closets, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.

R105.2.1 Emergency repairs. Where equipment replacements and repairs must be performed in an emergency situation, the permit application shall be submitted within the next working business day to the building official.

R105.2.2 Repairs. Application or notice to the building official is not required for ordinary repairs to structures, replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles. Such repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load-bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.

The above items are exempt by adoption of the 2015 International Residential Code adopted by the city of Madisonville, TX. for construction standards.

This would then require items such as, replacing water heaters, installing hot tubs, reroofing, retaining walls greater than 1 to 1 slopes, sheds greater than 200 square feet, any electrical, plumbing, or heating changes or expansions to have permits and approval.

This also requires them to be inspected and approved during and upon completion of the installations or construction of said systems or structures.

If you have any questions about permitting, please do not hesitate to call the city hall at 936-348-2748.

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