Does It Need a Permit?

Please use this quick reference guide to determine if a permit is needed for a particular job.

The State of Wisconsin Building Code is on the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) website.

Click Here for State of Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code for one and two family homes.
Click here for State of Wisconsin Administrative Code for Commercial Structures. 

Please also note that if you are making changes to a historic property, no changes may be made to the exterior unless the owner first obtains a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) from the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), regardless of stated permit requirements below.

Project Need a permit? For more
Air conditioner yes Call 286-8210
Asbestos abatement --
single family or duplex
No Call 286-3280
Asbestos abatement --
3 or more residential units
Yes Call 286-3280
Asbestos abatement --
commercial building
Yes Call 286-3280
Attic alterations or conversion Yes Call 286-8210
Banners hung from streetlight poles Yes Call 286-3329
Basement alterations or conversions Probably Call 286-8210
Bathroom -- remodel Probably Call 286-8210
Block party Yes Call 286-3329
Building cleaning (masonry building Yes Call 286-3280
Cell phone antenna Yes Call 286-8210
Day care center Yes -- need
occupancy permit
Call 286-8210
Deck  Yes Call 286-8210
Deconstruction  Yes Call 286-8210
Door -- brand new
(one or two-family home)
 Yes Call 286-8210
Door -- new or replacement
(commercial building
 Yes Call 286-8210
Door -- replacement
(one or two-family home) --
size of opening does not change
 Yes Call 286-8210
Driveway Only the approach
from the street requires a permit
Call 286-8208
Electrical work -- ALL Yes -- contractor must be licensed Call 286-2532
Fence -- new Yes View/Print the Application
Or call 286-8210
Fence -- replace Yes View/Print the Application
Or call 286-8210
Festivals (private property) Yes Call 286-8210
Fireplace Yes Call 286-8210
Furnace Yes Call 286-8210
Garage -- demolish / deconstruct Yes Call 286-8210
Garage -- new Yes Call 286-8210
Garage -- replace Yes Call 286-8210
Handicapped ramp Yes Call 286-8210
House (1 and 2 family) -- additions Yes Call 286-8210
House (1 and 2 family) -- new construction Yes Call 286-8210
House -- demolish / deconstruction Yes Call 286-8210
Hydrant use Yes Call 286-8208
Insulation Sometimes Call 286-8210
Landscaping Maybe Call 286-8210
Masonry building cleaning Yes Call 286-3280
New business Yes -- needs occupancy certificate Call 286-8210
Occupancy Yes Call 286-8210
Parade Yes Call 286-3329
Parking slab -- one or two-family home Maybe Call 286-8210
Parking slab -- commercial building or 3 or more residential units Yes Call 286-8210
Patio No  
Photo shoots Yes Call 286-3329
Plumbing -- commercial project Yes Call 286-3116
Plumbing -- multi-family home Yes Call 286-8208
Plumbing -- single-family, owner-occupied home Yes Call 286-8208
Pool Yes Call 286-3280
Public way -- use of Yes Call 286-8208
Retaining walls Maybe Call 286-8210
Roof -- tear off shingles Maybe Call 286-8210
Roof -- new (with new rafters, etc.) Yes Call 286-8210
Roof -- replace shingles Maybe Call 286-8210
Shed Yes Call 286-8210
Shingles -- new Maybe Call 286-8210
Shingles -- replace Maybe Call 286-8210
Sidewalk on private property No  
Sidewalk in front of home Probably Call 286-8208
Sidewalk -- use of Yes Call 286-8208
Sidewalk café Yes Call 286-8208
Siding Yes Call 286-8210
Signs Yes Call 286-8210
Solar  Yes Call 286-8210
Stairs/steps Probably Call 286-8210
Street festival Yes Call 286-3329
Street -- use of Yes Call 286-8208
Swimming pool Yes Call 286-3280
TV tower Yes Call 286-8210
Tent with 2, 3 or 4 sides Yes Call 286-8210
Tent with 3 or 4 open sides No  
Tent smaller than 600 s.f. No  
Water meter Yes Call 286-8208
Water service - branch Yes Call 286-8208
Water service - new Yes Call 286-8208
Water service - tap Yes Call 286-8208



City of Milwaukee Department of Administration Director Sharon Robinson 

 M, T, Th, F 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

 W Closed to the Public 

 Plan Exam & Permits, 809 N. Broadway, 1st Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53202




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