You need a building permit to construct any new building, add to an existing building, alter any living space, and/or perform repairs or modifications that involve structural components. An altered space includes projects that create, reconfigure, or modify living space by adding or removing walls. Typical examples would be basement living spaces, kitchens, and baths. Any contractor working on a one and two family dwelling must have valid state certifications.
Permits are not required for
- Storage sheds, play houses, recreational structures or other accessory structures that do not exceed on hundred square feet in area and twelve feet in height.
- Re-roofing or residing unless the new material alters the original architectural style of the existing building.
- Replacement doors or windows unless structural modifications are required and/or the new doors or window alters the original architectural style of the existing building.
Although we don't require a permit for all types of work, the work must still meet applicable building and zoning codes.
Value of Work Form
If you need both a building and occupancy permit, we ask that you fill out a Value of Work form. This gives us a detailed description of your work. This form needs to be completed at the time of the building permit application.
We charge fees to offset the cost of plan review and inspection services. Our permit fees are one of the lowest in the Milwaukee metro area. Each permit requires a non-refundable application fee or a plan review fee if full construction plans are submitted at the time of application. There are generally two components that comprise the total fee paid for a permit: plan review and inspection. Plan review fees range from $50 to $500 depending on the type of plan review.
The inspection fee depends on the type of permit and is usually:
- a cost per unit
- a flat fee
- a cost per $1,000 of value
- a cost per square foot
To apply, submit a completed residential application, or commercial application form, two copies of construction plans (three copies for a commercial job), three copies of a land survey, and the application fee payable to City of Wauwatosa. Any exterior work, from a new structure or addition to most exterior remodeling, will require a review by the our Design Review Board.
Have a more specific project?
See the following pages for additional information on specific building projects:
For more information, please email the Building & Safety Division or call (414) 479-8907.