Building Codes

Disclaimer: The Sustainable Economies Law Center provides periodic updates to this site, however, information presented may be out of date. We encourage you consult with a professional before taking action based on the information here.


research needed

This page will provide information on the types of building permits that may be necessary when operating an urban agricultural project or enterprise. Legal requirements and issues that may arise in each category will be addressed. If you would like to help us research this section, please click here to get involved!

Greenhouses and Hoop Houses

Content coming soon!

  • When is a building permit need for a greenhouse?
  • Are there types of greenhouses that don’t require building permits, such as hoop houses?
  • Is there a size limitation?
  • What cities have adopted specific guidelines about this?

Animal Shelters and Chicken Coops

Content coming soon!

  • When, if ever, are goat shelters and chicken coops considered buildings subject to building code?
  • Do any cities provide guidelines on building codes or exemptions applicable to very small structures, or structures not meant to house humans?
  • How far away must chicken coops be from residential buildings and property lines?

Rooftop Gardens

Content coming soon!
  • What are the building code requirements for putting in a rooftop garden?
  • Do you need a permit to put a few plants and trees on your roof?
  • At what point does the size of the garden trigger the need for a permit?
  • What’s involved in getting a permit?
  • What cities have adopted specific policies and guidelines around this?
  • See some resources from Shareable here.

Other Relevant Structures/Uses

Content coming soon!

  • What permits might you need to grow plants on the exterior wall of a building?
  • Do you need any special permits to cut pavement?

Building Code Information By City

Content coming soon!