Work Done Without A Permit


Work done without required permits is in violation of Washoe County's Ordinances and Building Code is considered by default to be illegally constructed work. So why would you put yourself through the County review Process? In addition to peace of mind, there are other beneficial reasons to do so:

  • Legalization of non-permitted construction will assure that the work meets minimum building code standards.
  • Future sale of the property may be adversely impacted. Nevada's disclosure laws require illegal work to be declared. 
  • Banks and appraisers may not include non-permitted work for property value calculations
  • Illegal construction can affect your home's insurability and resale. 

Applying to legalize existing work done without a permit is identical to applying for new work.

If the work is visible (not covered/enclosed):

  • For small projects such as most simple electrical, plumbing, water heaters fences and reroofs, start the permit application process and obtain a permit.

If the work is concealed (covered or closed up):

  • There are two options when permitting work that is not visible for inspection. The first is to expose or partially expose the work prior to the inspection. If this is not feasible or financially prohibitive, the work can be certified by a third party. A licensed design professional such as an Engineer, Architect, and Residential Designer or a Contractor licensed in the applicable discipline may provide a certification letter. The letter must state that work completed meets currently adopted codes. 

There may be some projects that cannot obtain a permit such as: setback violations, located in drainage ways/easements or technical violations may deny the project. A demolition permit may be required to bring the property into compliance. 


Q. How do I obtain a permit?

Please check our webpage "Submit for a Permit" for more information. If you have any questions, please call (775)328-2020 and our staff will assist you through the submittal process. The flow chart down below shows a typical permit process.

Q. How long does it take to get a permit?

The time to get a permit issued varies by the complexity of the project and the quality of drawings submitted. Washoe County's target date is 10 days from the day the plans are accepted as completed. 

Q. How do I know what work requires a permit?

All work requires a permit, unless it is listed in exemptions. To read the exemption see: What Requires a Permit.

Q. Who may obtain a permit?

Licensed contractors and Owner/Builders (with affidavit).


For more information on inspections see the Inspections tab.