Communication is critical to your project's success. Call 270-444-8527.
The Fire Prevention office is located on the first floor of City Hall, 300 South 5th Street.
Frequently Asked Questions - Permits, Site Plans, and Construction
- Why is a Permit Required?
The City of Paducah requires permits before construction or remodeling work begins to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of our community. Major duties of the Fire Prevention Division include plan reviews, issuance of permits, and providing inspections.
Purpose of a Permit A building permit is a license granting legal permission to start construction of a building project. It allows the enforcement of the codes adopted as law by a state, county, or city. You have an investment in the home or business you are about to build or remodel. When that home or business building does not comply with the codes, your investment could be reduced. Building permits provide the means for Code Officials to protect us by reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction and therefore ensuring public health, safety and welfare. Building permits provide the means for Code Officials to inspect construction to ensure that minimum standards are met and appropriate materials are used.
Adopted Codes The Commonwealth of Kentucky under Kentucky Revised Statute 198B indicates that all construction within the Commonwealth conform to a uniform building code, the Kentucky Building Code (KBC). Kentucky Building Code (Sec. 105) states Any owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, remodel or change the occupancy of a building, 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.
For information about the Paducah Code of Ordinances and adopted Kentucky codes, visit Adopted Codes. Additional information is available through the International Code Council.
- What is Site Plan Review Process and Requirements for Commercial Development?
All commercial developments and additions in the City require a site plan be submitted to the Department of Planning (270-444-8690) for review before any building permits can be issued. The process starts with a preliminary meeting with staff to discuss the proposed improvements and elements required to be on the plan. Site plans should be drawn according to the Site Plan Checklist unless otherwise directed by staff. Once an adequate site plan is submitted, Planning staff review it for compliance with applicable planning & zoning regulations. If acceptable, Planning staff will sign off on the plan and forward it to the Engineering Department (270-444-8511) for review. Once approved by Engineering, the plan is then forwarded to the Fire Prevention Division (270-444-8527) in order that building permits can be issued. For more information about site planning including a checklist of requirements and standard notes for erosion prevention and sediment control and floodplains, visit Site Plans.
- What is the Permit Process and the Cost of a Permit?
The permit process varies slightly with the scope of work. Complex projects require the plan check process (pictured). Less complex plans or plans that have completed the plan check process are advanced to a clerical review. A permit application must accompany all plans. The clerical review of the application verifies that all contractors and subcontractors have a local business license. The general contractor is required to carry worker’s compensation insurance and have the appropriate valid state professional licenses. Additional requirements include an acceptable estimated value of all construction, appropriate fees paid, and verification that additional applications or departmental approvals have been completed. Once all approvals are accounted for, then permits may be obtained.
Permit costs vary with type of project. Some fees are fixed scales, and some are based upon the cost of constructed value.
Steps to Obtaining a Permit
1. Submit one (1) complete set of drawings/plans and specifications to the Fire Prevention Division for approval *(when applicable)
2. Submit site plan to Planning/Zoning for approval *(when applicable)
3. Complete permit application(s)
4. Verify contractors are licensed and insured
5. Obtain building, electrical, and HVAC permit once site plans and drawings are approved.
* Permits for projects that will not affect the layout or size of a structure may not require drawings/plans and/or a site plan. If you are obtaining an electrical permit, please provide the electrician’s CE & ME license #s. If an HVAC permit is needed, this trade has its own application that will need to be completed by a master HVAC license holder.
- What is the Plan Check Process and How Long Does it Take?
Fire Prevention has plan check services (pictured) that support the permit process. Depending on the size, complexity, and project type, plans are reviewed to insure code compliance. At the time of submittal, plans are screened for completeness, and the appropriate plan check fee is required to be paid. Depending on the extent/size of the project, the initial review process can vary from a few days to thirty days. The initial review process may create additional questions or expose deficiencies that will be returned to the owner or design professional for additional action. If no compliance issues exist, the process will advance to the rendering of fees and commencement of work. This is will be followed by a series of scheduled inspections by the local building inspector.
- How and When Should Inspections be Scheduled (Construction Milestones)?
To schedule an inspection, call Fire Prevention at 270-444-8527. There is no need to request to speak to an individual inspector. Advise the staff of the type of project, its location, and the type of inspection requested. Please provide at least a 24-hour notice for each inspection. Schedule an inspection appointment at the following construction milestones:
Footings An inspection is required prior to placement of concrete to verify depth, soil composition, location, reinforcement size, and configuration.
Foundations A foundation inspection is required prior to placement of concrete or back filling of cells to verify size, reinforcement, and support.
Rough Frame An inspection is required prior to installation of wall finishes to verify framing, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and gas installation.
Final Inspection An inspection is required prior to occupancy of any structure to verify completion and finalization of all trade work including plumbing, electrical, and mechanical finals, as well as to determine the completion of all building and life safety requirements.
- What is a Certificate of Occupancy and When is One Needed?
Note: No new business shall engage in business prior to obtaining a certificate of occupancy and a City of Paducah business license.
According to Kentucky Building Code (KBC 111.1), 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 code official 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 this code or of other ordinances of the jurisdiction.
According to KBC 111.2 (Change in use), changes in the character or use of an existing structure shall not be made except as specified in
New Business – All new business require a final inspection and a certificate of occupancy prior to operation.
New Residence – All new residential uses including one and two family require a final inspection and certificate of occupancy prior to use.
Changes of Use / Ownership – Changes in the business type or use of a building require a new certificate of occupancy. Changes of ownership that do not include a change of use will not require a new certificate.
- Are Historic Tax Credits and/or City Assistance Available?
The Planning Department offers several Downtown Development Programs to encourage development, beautification, rehabilitation, and stabilization of the Historic Downtown area. Assistance also is provided in completing state and federal applications for historic tax credits.
Downtown & Market House District Assessment and Reassessment Tax Moratorium Historic Downtown New Business Grant Program Micro-Grants: Facade and Beautification Roof Stabilization Assistance Program Upper Story Residential Grant Program
What Type of Projects Require Permits?
- Accessory Structures
Accessory structures (ie. detached garages, sheds, carports, pergolas, arbors, gazebos, decks, and pools) require permits.
Commercial accessory structures exceeding 120 sq.ft. require a permit for installation. All installations are required to obtain zoning approval for location.
Residential accessory structures exceeding 200 sq.ft. in area require permits for installation. All installations must meet zoning setbacks for side yard, rear yard, and distance to other structures. Additionally, accessory structures cannot exceed the height or area of the primary structure.
The American Wood Council’s Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide is recommended. This guide, based on the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC), is not intended to preclude the use of other construction methods or materials. All construction and materials must be approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
All awnings require permits with the exception of window awnings on one and two family dwellings supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
- Commercial and Residential Construction
With the exception of cosmetic finishes, all new construction, additions, and renovations require a permit.
s required by the Kentucky Building Code, the Fire Prevention Division issues permits for all demolition, wrecking, razing, or moving of buildings or other structures with the exception of residential accessory structures. A fee of $50.00 is required for all demolition permits.
- Electrical Systems
Kentucky law mandates all electrical work with the exception of normal maintenance, as outlined in the Kentucky Building Code, is required to be permitted. Work is mandated to be performed by a licensed electrical contractor employing a licensed master electrician. Homeowners are exempt from the licensing requirement for work to their primary residence.
2014 NFPA 70 - National Electrical Code --227.480 Authority to require permits -- Proof of licensure under KRS Chapter 227A -- Inspectors -- Inspection standards. (Effective June 24, 2015) (1) (a) A city, county, urban-county, charter county, or consolidated local government or the state shall, according to the Uniform State Building Code as it pertains to the plan review and inspection responsibilities of local governments or the state, require any person to obtain a permit before commencing construction, alteration, or repairs of any electrical system. (b) The city, county, urban-county, charter county, or consolidated local government or the state shall require all inspections that are deemed necessary by the department for the safety of life and property. The department shall promulgate administrative regulations to describe the circumstances where inspections are required.
Residential fencing requires permits in all zones. Height and material are regulated by the zoning ordinance depending on the location on property, orientation of structures, and zone.
Commercial fencing does not require permits unless the fence exceeds 8’-0” in height. Zoning setback requirements are still mandated at intersections, entrances, exits, gate encroachments etc. Additionally if screening is required, the opacity of material is regulated.
- HVAC Systems
Kentucky Law mandates all initial and all repair and replacement be permitted within jurisdiction operating a mechanical permit program prior to the inception of the statute. Work beyond normal maintenance as described by the Kentucky Building Code must be permitted. Homeowners are exempt from the licensing requirements for work to their primary residence.
2012 International Mechanical Code --198B.6671 Permit required for installation of initial system -- Contents of application and permit -- Exemptions. (1) Notwithstanding KRS 198B.030 to the contrary, any person who installs an initial heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system shall apply for a permit prior to beginning the installation. No installation shall begin before the application for the permit has been filed. In no event, however, shall a person exempt under KRS 198B.674 be required to possess or show proof of a heating, ventilation, or air conditioning license in order to obtain the permit required by this section.
- Manufactured Homes
Installations are approved by the Planning Department based on the Paducah Code of Ordinances. Manufactured and mobile homes must be permitted for placement, foundations, decks, porches and other attached structures. Additionally, electrical and mechanical installations are required to be permitted.
Manufactured and mobile homes are permitted in R-2, R-3 and R-4 districts for single family residential purposes with the following provisions which shall be made prior to occupancy (except as noted herein).
- Miscellaneous for commercial
Permits may be required for commercial remodeling, repairing, and electrical upgrades, etc.
- Miscellaneous for residential
Permits may be required for residential changes/additions of fireplaces, pools, decks, fences, etc.
Commercial and residential pools require permits for all installations. A building and electrical permit are also required. The only exception for permit requirement is residential above ground type pools.
Additionally, fenced enclosures are required on all outdoor installations. If no fence enclosure exists, a fence permit will also be required. Enclosures require a 48” high barrier with openings limited to 4” unless the barrier is chainlink (2 ¼” max.). Enclosures are not required if the above ground pool is 48” tall and has a removable or securable entry ladder. Gates must be self closing, self latching with the latch mounted at 48” high.
In addition to building, electrical, and fence permits, a plumbing permit is required for the discharge of waste water. City zoning setbacks apply in all installations based upon the zone of the installation.
- Prefabricated Structures
The Modular section of the Kentucky Department of Housing Building and Construction is responsible for reviewing and approving modular buildings that are constructed of any size or use, all or any component parts of which are of closed construction made from precast concrete panels or precut wood sections fabricated to individual specifications in an off-site manufacturing facility and assembled in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. These types of buildings are known as Kentucky Industrialized Buildings (KIBS). The review process is broken down into two parts: Model Approval and Site Placement Approval.
Model Approval: To obtain model approval, an authorized KIBS modular manufacturer submits a set of construction documents for each model that the manufacturer wants to be placed in Kentucky. The plans are reviewed in accordance with the current adopted building code. Once approved the model is allowed to be shipped to the Commonwealth. Only one approval is required for each model type per building code adoption cycle. When the state adopts a new code edition the model approval must be repeated. Inspections of these factory-built modular units are conducted in the factory by an approved third-party inspection agency.
Site Placement Approval: Before an approved modular unit can be placed in the Commonwealth, a site placement approval must be obtained. This site placement approval shall be required every time a particular approved model is placed. A set of site construction details shall be submitted for review and approval. These drawings shall include, but not limited to a site plan, pier/foundation details, tie down details and all site built details for stairs and ramps. If you have any questions about site placement approval, call 502-573-1795.
Signage in the City of Paducah is defined by city ordinance section 126-76. Sign: Any name, identification, description, display, illustration or device which is affixed to or represented directly or indirectly upon a building, structure or land, in view of the general public, and which directs attention to a product, place, activity, person, institution, or business or otherwise provides information to the public. All signage including new, replacement, existing repaired, or existing face change-out require a permit. Approval of permits is based the property's zone.
- Temporary Buildings/Tents
Kentucky law mandates all temporary structures comply with the provisions for normal construction but be erected for a period of less than 180 days. Tents and other membrane structures erected for a period of less than 180 days shall comply with the International Fire Code. Those erected for a longer period of time shall comply with applicable sections of this code.
3103.1.1 Permit required. Temporary structures that cover an area greater than 120 square feet (11.16 m2), including connecting areas or spaces with a common means of egress or entrance which are used or intended to be used for the gathering together of 10 or more persons, shall not be erected, operated or maintained for any purpose without obtaining a permit from the building official.
3103.2 Construction documents. A permit application and construction documents shall be submitted for each installation of a temporary structure. The construction documents shall include a site plan indicating the location of the temporary structure and information delineating the means of egress and the occupant load.
Scope My Project Online Portals
Paducah has launched Scope My Project, online tools centered around business development and project scoping. The portals will help guide citizens, entrepreneurs, developers, contractors, and business owners who are embarking on complex projects, such a starting a new business or a renovation project, through the City’s permitting requirements. These tools are designed to increase communication, enhance availability, and eliminate confusion.
Zoning Portal - Allows users to explore where different business types are permitted throughout Paducah.
Business Permitting Portal A project scoping tool that guides the user to specific license, permits, and requirements for constructing, renovating, and developing a business in Paducah. After answering the questions, a summary specific to the project can be downloaded. This summary will include zoning information, permits needed, and a preliminary estimate of permit fees.
The portals also include links to contact City staff, set up a kick-start meeting, and an opportunity to create a free account to save project information and start the application process.