When Do I Need a Permit?

Please note: Electrical Permits are obtained through the Department of Labor and Industries. You can access their website here.


Under the 2015 International Residential Code, in the City of Monroe, you may build a detached, uninhabitable residential storage shed with a floor of 200 square feet or less and is not considered a permanent structure (with no footings, etc.) without a permit. In addition, you must meet all zoning code requirements including setbacks and lot coverage.


Decks not exceeding 200 sq. ft. in area, that are not more than 30 inches above grade and any point, are not attached to a dwelling and do not serve the exit door that is required is exempt form obtaining a building permit.

A building permit is required to construct a residential deck or walking surface if it meets one or more of the following requirements:

  1. More than 30 inches above grade at any point.
  2. Deck or walking surface is attached to the dwelling unit.
  3. Deck or walking surface serves the main exit door.

A deck must have a guardrail when the difference in distance between the deck and the ground plan is greater than 30 inches. For single-family homes, the deck guardrails must be at least 36 inches high. Also, deck stairs require a handrail when there are four or more stair risers. The handrails must be between 34 inches and 38 inches above the stair tread. Deck guardrails and stair handrails require openings no greater than 4 inches along the railing surface, although the rail can have a 6-inch gap at the base of the railing and a stair riser. Deck guardrails and handrails must be able to support a 200 lb. concentrated load at any point. Infill components shall be designed to withstand a load of 50 lbs. psf. A railing must be able to bear the load laterally, that is from the side, as well as from the top.

Deck permit application


In the City of Monroe, a fence permit is required for any new fence or wall. The fences can be located up to the property line except at street intersections or access points. Fences and walls shall have a maximum height of 42 inches within the front-yard setback line, or a maximum height of 6 feet anywhere else on the lot.  Barbed wire or razor fencing is not allowed in residential zones. See Chapter 15.08.020 (H) of the Monroe Municipal Code (MMC).

At intersections (street corners) and access points (driveways), a site distance triangle must be maintained for traffic safety reasons. For more information about fencing call the City of Monroe Permit Division at 360-863-4501.

Fence permit application


In the City of Monroe, residential roof repairs of less than 200 square feet in any five-year period are allowed without a permit. If you need to apply for a permit, you can call the Permit Division at 360-863-4501. Adding sky lights requires an additional fee and framing and insulation inspections.  Also, repairing or replacing trusses requires a regular building permit application and may require construction plans and truss information.

Pools & Hot Tubs

In the City of Monroe, a permit is required when installing a pool, spa or hot tub if any of the following conditions apply:

  1. It is 24" deep or greater.
  2. It has more than 5,000 gallons.
  3. It is equipped with a water recirculating system.

This includes in-ground, above ground and on-ground pools; hot tubs; spas and fixed-in-place wading pools. Typically, these types of projects require a building permit, a plumbing permit, an electrical permit for wiring the pump, and a mechanical permit if a gas heater is used.

According to Appendix G of the 2015 International Residential Code, swimming pools, hot tubs and spas must be completely enclosed by a fence that is at least 4 feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates. Any openings in the fence cannot permit the passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere. In addition, the Washington State Energy code requires that heated swimming pools be equipped with a pool cover that meets the ASTM F1346 specification.

Hot tubs or spas with a safety cover that complies with ASTM F 1346 are exempt from the barrier requirements listed above.

Air Conditioner / Heat Pump

Mechanical and electrical permits are required and the unit may not be set within established yard setbacks; however, permits are not needed for:

  1. Portable heating devices (space heaters)
  2. Portable ventilation equipment
  3. Portable cooling unit
  4. Steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment
  5. Replacement of parts
  6. Portable evaporative cooler
  7. Self-contained refrigeration system containing 10 pounds or less of refrigerant and actuated by motors of 1 horsepower or less.

Mechanical permit application

Concrete Slabs, Walks, Driveways, Patios

No building permit is required in City of Monroe, provided they are not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route (ie, an access route required under the Americans with Disabilities Act). In addition, you must meet all zoning code requirements including lot coverage.

A right-of-way permit is required if working in a public right-of-way.

Right of Way Permit application

Doors & Windows

No permit is required to replace the glass or glazing within an existing window pane or a door within the existing frame. If you are widening or changing the door frame or window frame, you will need to apply for a residential remodel permit and contact the Permit Division for code requirements.

Residential Remodel permit application

Plumbing - Fixture Replacement

No permit is required to stop leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipes. If they become defective and must be removed and replaced with new material, customers need to apply for a plumbing permit.

Adding plumbing to an accessory building requires a site plan that meets City of Monroe site plan submittal requirements and additional review by City of Monroe Water Quality Department 360-863-4546.

Plumbing permit application

Furnace, Gas Insert, Gas Log, Wood stoves

Mechanical permits are required for all these appliances and may also require electrical permits if wiring work is needed. A permit is not needed for portable heating appliances (space heaters), or to replace any minor parts.

Mechanical permit application

Retaining Walls

In the City of Monroe, no building permit is required if the wall is 4 feet or less in height from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall and not supporting an extra load such as a fence or soil sloping down to the top of the wall; otherwise, a building permit is needed.

Retaining Wall permit application

Shelving & Cabinets

For non-residential projects, permits are required for racking/shelving over 5’-9” tall. Racking/shelving 6’ or more in height are required to be secured for seismic, and racking/shelving over 8’ in height will require a Washington State engineered design.

Siding Replacement

A residential remodel permit is required to replace siding.

Residential Remodel permit application

Water Heaters

A plumbing permit is required to replace a water heater. A new installation will also require a mechanical permit if it is gas-heated.

Plumbing/Mechanical permit application