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Building & Zoning

Building & Zoning Department

Welcome to Lower Gwynedd Township's Building & Zoning Department! Here you will find information on what improvements require permits, how to apply for permits, how much permits cost, and other information related to building and zoning within the Township. Permits are required for many things. If you are contemplating doing work, installing a fence, building a detached garage, opening or moving a business, make sure you have the proper permits. The Building and Zoning Department office is happy to help. The links below provide many of the forms and information you may need.

Building Permits

A building permit is required to erect, construct, enlarge, add to, alter, repair, replace, improve, remove, install, or maintain any structure or building. This includes accessory buildings such as pools, garages or carports, decks (over 30 inches off of the ground), etc.

The provisions of the Lower Gwynedd Township Code of Ordinances and the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code control the requirements for building permits.

Common residential projects needing permits include (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • New construction
  • Renovations other than cosmetic
  • Any plumbing, electrical or mechanical work, other than changing fixtures
  • Demolition/Post-Demo Restoration 
  • Deck/patio/porch
  • Dumpster- Zoning permit only
  • Earth disturbance/grading
  • Exterior Alterations
  • Fences
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Fire suppression systems
  • Fireplace/wood stove installation
  • Generator installation
  • HVAC (new & replacement)
  • Pools/spas
  • Road Opening
  • Sewer Connection/Lateral Inspection
  • Sheds
  • Sidewalks
  • Solar
  • Tennis courts
  • Tents
  • Trailer
  • Underground storage tanks
  • Window Replacement

Standard Inspection Requirements:

  • Footing and foundation pre-pour (forms in place before concrete is poured)
  • Concrete slab or backfill
  • Floodplain
  • Plumbing, mechanical, electrical
  • Insulation
  • Fire suppression, fire prevention, fire alarm
  • Structural steel, poured concrete, engineered truss
  • Sanitary sewer
  • Stormwater management facility
  • Final

See our residential permit page and our non-residential permit for more information on permit applications and what you need to include when you submit! Also check out the checklists provided below.

CHECKLIST

Applicable Codes:

All construction work must conform to the requirements of the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code. The UCC administration and enforcement regulation has adopted the following codes for use throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

Lower Gwynedd Township operates under the 2018 International Building Code.

Suggestions for Passing the Blower Door Test (2018 International Building Code)

Hours
Monday-Friday: 8:00 am-4:00 pm

Telephone & Email Directory

Name Title Telephone
Jamie Worman
Zoning Officer (215) 646-5302
Joseph Groarke
Code Enforcement (215) 646-5302
Patty Sexton-Furber
Building Codes Administrator (215) 646-5302
Keystone Inspections
Building Inspections (215) 646-5302
Jamie Worman
Director of Building & Zoning (215) 646-5302
Accessory Structures

Accessory structures require a complete building permit with the zoning permit portion complete along with the required construction and site plans. All accessory structures shall be located entirely within the permissible building area (exclusive of all mandatory setback areas), but not to the front of the main building, or in the rear yard at least 10 feet behind the rearmost portion of the main building, and at least 10 feet from any side or rear property line, except that such distances shall be reduced to five feet in "C" Residential Districts only.

Garages, New Additions & Sheds (Accessory Structures)

Any addition to a structure requires a complete building permit with all relevant sections completed along with the required construction and site plans.

Accessory structures require a complete building permit with the zoning permit portion complete along with the required construction and site plans. All accessory structures shall be located entirely within the permissible building area (exclusive of all mandatory setback areas), but not to the front of the main building, or in the rear yard at least 10 feet behind the rearmost portion of the main building, and at least 10 feet from any side or rear property line, except that such distances shall be reduced to five feet in "C" Residential Districts only.

Deck

If you are just replacing the deck boards and there is no change to the size or frame of the deck you do not need a permit. If you are changing the deck framing or building a new deck or expanding an existing deck, you need a building permit. A zoning review will also be conducted to make sure the required setbacks are observed. Projections into required yards are permitted. In the case of a single-family detached residence, unroofed open terraces and patios may project into a required side yard not more than 10 feet, and into a rear yard not more than 20 feet, but in no case may the projection exceed 50% of the required yard. If you add a roof to a deck or porch that is attached to your house, you must maintain all required yards without any projections into these yards.

Electric

If you remove, replace, alter, or install an electric system you will need an electrical permit. All electric plans must have a third-party stamp prior to submission. The Township does not perform electrical inspections. Inspections must be contracted with a third-party inspection agency registered with the Township.

Exterior Alterations/Stucco

A building permit is required for exterior alterations. There is a specific inspection sequence that must be followed and that information will be provided with the building permit.

Fence

Yes, you need a permit. You will need to submit a simplified zoning permit for review and approval prior to installing a fence. The Zoning Officer will review the proposed location of the fence and make sure it complies with the standards noted in the Township Codebook. No fence shall be greater than 6 feet tall.

Generators

Generators require a building permit with the electrical portion completed. Electricians must have a current master license with the Township. If a gas line is being run, the plumbing section of the permit must be completed by either a master plumber registered with the Township or a certification gas line card must be attached. Generators must be located a minimum of 15 feet from the side and rear yard property lines, except for the “C” and “CD” districts is reduced to 10 feet. Generators are not permitted in the front yard. A site plan is required to depict the location of the generator and must be submitted with the building permit application. A full list of requirements can be found on the building and zoning page of the Township website.

Roof

Installation, replacement or major repair of any structural component of roof or window structures (trusses, headers, rafters, etc.) for existing buildings requires a Building Permit. No Permit is required when an area of less than 20% of the roof is being re-roofed or repaired, or windows are being repaired or replaced in kind without any alteration to the structure, however, all work must meet the requirements of the 2018 International Building Code (IBC) or 2018 International Residential Code (IRC) as applicable and the manufacturer’s instructions. Failure to secure a permit, when necessary, may result in violations, fines and necessitate the removal of installed structures.

Sheds

Building permits are required for sheds greater than 200 square feet. A zoning review will be done as part of this submission. Sheds that are less than 200 square feet do not require a building permit application. They only require a simple zoning permit application be submitted and approved.

Solar Panels

Solar panels require a building permit and electrical permit. We do not provide specific criteria on panels; we defer to the manufacturer’s requirements.

Swimming Pool (inground/above ground)/Spas

Before a permit can be issued for a pool it must comply with the applicable zoning requirements. Each property in Lower Gwynedd Township is part of a designated zoning district. The zoning district specifies the permitted land uses, such as residential, commercial, or industrial, and the minimum distances or set back requirements from the property lines for buildings, accessory structures, and fences, as well as maximum height restrictions. When you apply for a building permit, the application is automatically sent to the Zoning Officer for review. You are encouraged to contact the Zoning Officer before you finalize your plans to make sure that the project meets the minimum zoning requirements and does not encroach on easements or required side, front, or rear yard area. General zoning requirements for swimming pools is that they shall be constructed in accordance with applicable Township ordinances and shall not be located in front yards. All pools, filters, heaters or any facilities incidental thereto shall be not less than 25 feet from all side and rear property lines, except that such distance shall be reduced to fifteen feet in "C" and "CD" Residential Districts.

The installation of any swimming pool, including in-ground, above-ground or on-ground pool, hot tub or spa and pool fence require permits. The type of permit you need is determined by the type of pool or spa you are installing. Small above-ground pools and spas require a zoning permit (and possibly electric and plumbing) as well as a fence permit and a grading permit.

Large above-ground pools and any in-ground pools require the comprehensive building permit with the required sections completed (including electric, plumbing, and zoning) and a grading permit.

All applications/plans must demonstrate strict compliance with pool barrier requirements before a permit will be issued.