Find out the exemption rules for work that doesn't require a permit

Typical work exempt from permits

Work that does not require a permit is typically cosmetic, such as:

  • Painting
  • Tile
  • Floor coverings including carpet, vinyl, wood, and more
  • Shelving
  • Cabinet Work
  • Wall papering
  • Privacy fencing made out of PVC, wood, or chain link (see Building projects below for more information)

You can view the Hillsborough County Construction Code for a complete list of all exemptions and codes you need when performing construction work.


Explore the categories below to find out which projects and/or repairs need a permit. We have included the most frequently requested categories and types.

If your project or repair is not in this list, it most likely requires a permit, however you can check with if you have questions.

Building projects (docks, fences, porches, and sheds)

Although a permit for the following may not be required, if you have an HOA/COA you should check with them for their rules.

No permit required

  • Docks: Dock construction when the Port Authority has already given approval
  • Fences: Fences made out of PVC, wood, or chain link
    • Call the zoning department for all fences to check on restrictions/requirements for your area
  • Sheds: Residential sheds and greenhouses less than 150 square feet

Permit required

  • Fences: Electrical or concrete fences
    • Call the zoning department for all fences to check on restrictions/requirements for your area
  • Porches: All porches require a permit


The following electrical work does not require a permit.

No permit required

  • Low-voltage systems: The installation or repair of a low-voltage system in an existing single-family residence when the work is performed by the property owner or the work is performed by a non-owner, provided the total cost of labor and materials does not exceed $5,000


The following gas work does not require a permit.

No permit required

  • Portable heating appliance
  • Replacement of any minor part that does not alter its approval or make it unsafe


The following mechanical work does not require a permit.

No permit required

  • Any portable heating appliance
  • Any portable ventilation equipment
  • Any portable cooling unit
  • Any steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by the code
  • Replacement of any part that does not alter its approval or make it unsafe
  • Any portable evaporative cooler
  • Any self-contained refrigeration system containing 10 lb. (4.54 5 kg) or less of refrigerant and actuated by motors of 1 horsepower (746 w) or less
  • Installation, replacement, removal, or metering of any load management control device


The following plumbing work does not require a permit.

No permit required

  • Leaks: Stopping leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe
  • Water closets: Clearing stoppages or repairing leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures and the removal and reinstallation of water closets only if these repairs don’t involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures
  • Septic tanks: Cleaning septic tanks

The following plumbing work does require a permit

  • Leaks: if any concealed trap, drain pipe, water, soil waste or vent pipe becomes defective you have to remove and replace it with new material, then you will need to get a permit

Only a licensed plumbing contractor or the property owner can perform all work described for leaks and water closets regardless of whether a permit is required for such work.

Minor repairs

The following minor repairs do not require a permit.

No permit required

The following meet the ordinary repair definition, and do not require a permit:
  • the work will not be structural in nature (as described below)
  • work involving floor coverings (carpet, vinyl, tile, wood, etc.), painting, wallpapering, cabinet work, furnishings, decorations, shelving, facia, soffitt, gutters and downspouts, and routine internal and external maintenance when you don’t alter or install structural components, regardless of cost
  • preliminary site investigation such as test borings, test pilings, well points and soil sampling activities

The following repairs are not considered minor and do require a permit

  • cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof
  • the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load-bearing support
  • the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements
  • the alteration of, replacement or relocations of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring systems or mechanical equipment, or other work affecting public health or general safety

Emergency repairs

  • If you have to replace equipment or make in an emergency situation, you can submit the permit application within the next working business day

Emergency repairs following a disaster

In an emergency situation following a disaster where you have to replace equipment or make repairs, permit applications can be postponed for a period of 30 working days under the following conditions:

  • an emergency declaration is issued
  • we have authorized emergency permitting or the Board of County Commissioners or County Administrator has authorized it following confirmation of a disaster inspection performed by a disaster-assessment team or building inspector (or other designee of the Building Official)

What waiving permits doesn't do

Exemptions from permit requirements of this code does not waive any other requirements of the building code, including but not limited to certification requirements, or of any permit requirements set forth by any other jurisdiction or agency with the power to enforce building code regulations.


For further information about permit exemptions, call at (813) 272-5600.

Last Modified: 1/16/2024, 10:09:06 PM

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