Building Codes: Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:            What is the difference between a Type I and Type II permit, and why  does Shenango Township issue permits this way?

A:            Pennsylvania’s Uniform Construction Code applies to certain types of structures and requires building permits for them, while exempting others; the ones that are required are called Type I permits. However Shenango Township also requires permits for certain accessory Structures and Structures which are exempt from the state code to make sure they satisfy the Township’s zoning regulations. Those are called Type II permits.

Q:            Do I need a permit for a deck, shed, or addition to my home or porch?

A:            All home additions and porches require Type I building permits, as do decks 30  inches or more above the ground. Decks lower than 30 inches need a type II permit. Sheds larger than 1,000 square feet require a Type 1 permit; sheds under 1,000 square feet require only a Type II permit.

Q:             How do I obtain a building permit for a swimming poll (in-ground or above-ground)?

A:             Any swimming pool – regardless of whether it is in-ground, above-ground, inflatable or portable – that can hold water more more than 24 inches deep, is required to have a Type I permit issued by the Township prior to installation. Pools which can only hold less than 24 inches of water are exempt.

Q:            Are permits required when finishing a residential basement?

A:            Permits are only required when the project involves structural changes or when a current exit is altered.  Non-structural changes such as carpeting, painting and lighting installation are exempt.

Q:            Does a children’s play-set require a permit?

A:             Residential outdoor play-systems including slides, swings and portable sports paraphernalia do not need a permit.  For all commercial playground equipment, a permit is required.

Q:             Does a fence require a permit:

A:              Walls or fences more than three (3) feet high within the required front yard setback of residential properties in certain zoning districts must receive a permit prior to installation.

Q:              Does Shenango Township regulate signs?

A:               Yes.  Outdoor signs are regulated through the Township’s Zoning Ordinance to minimize motorist distraction, to clearly identify places of business and to enhance community appearance.

Q:              How much will my building permit cost?

A:              It varies with the estimated value of the construction, and it is payable when you pick up your permit.

Q:               Do I need a building permit before starting construction or alteration work?

A:                Possibly.  Contact the Shenango Township Zoning Department at 724-658-4460 to learn what permits and approvals are required for your project.

Q:               Do I need a permit to build a new driveway onto my property?

A:                Yes.  Any driveway that accesses a public road requires prior approval from Shenango Township’s Zoning Department.  No permit is needed to resurface an existing driveway.

Q:                How can I get an application for a building permit?

A:                 All applications are available online.  Shenango Township Zoning Department can be reached at 724-658-4460, or feel free to stop by the Shenango Township Municipal Building.

Q:                Do I need to pay for a permit when I drop off the application?

A:                  No payment is needed until you are notified to pick up the permit.

Q:                How many sets of plans do I need to submit with my building          permit application?

A:                  You will need to submit two (2) printed sets of plans for a residential building permit application, three (3) for non-residential building permit applications.  One set of approved plans will be returned to you at the time your Building Permit is issued.

Q:                 Can I fax my residential building permit application to you?

A:                 Residential applications with uncomplicated plans such as decks or swimming pools may be faxed.  Projects requiring complex plans such as homes, additions and the like should not be faxed.  Be sure the plans are legible and that all information is filled in.  Our fax number of 724-658-1255.

Q:                 Is there an ordinance prohibiting high grass?

A:                 Yes.  You will need to call the Zoning Department at 724-658-4460 to report high grass.

Q:                Are there regulations regarding junk vehicles?

A:                 Yes.  Junk vehicles are not permitted to remain on properties unless they are zoned for it, but not every old vehicle is considered junk.  You will need to call the Shenango Township Municipal Building at 724-658-4460 to report a junk vehicle.

Q:                 How do I file a complaint regarding building, zoning or property maintenance?

A:                  You can file a complaint by calling the Shenango Township Municipal Building at 724-658-4460 or by submitting an online request from the Customer Service page.

Q:                  Is there a noise ordinance regarding barking dogs?

A:                   Yes, there is.  You would need to call the Shenango Township Police Department at 724-658-9065 to report barking dogs.

Q:                  Do I need a permit to do landscaping work within my yard?

A:                   No permit is required for landscaping a residential lot.

Q:                  Do I need a permit to install new shingles or siding on my home?

A:                   No.  This type of work is excluded from permitting and inspection.

Q:                  Can I hire my own building inspector for work done in Shenango Township?

A:                   No.  All inspections that are required by permit must be scheduled and performed by Richardson Inspection Services, LLC, at 724-406-0031.