Inspections – FAQs


See a listing of Building Codes and OrdinancesCodebooks may be obtained from the International Code Council at (205) 591-1853.

The state law requires that only a properly licensed contractor which holds a current certification through the Alabama Homebuilders Licensure Board or a currently licensed state general contractor with a license number below 18908 can build a one or two family dwelling. The owner of the property may also build their own residence if they hold title to the property and it  is to be their personal residence, which will not be offered for sale for at least a year. The owner acting as their own contractor loses any protection from the Alabama Homebuilders Licensure Board for any defects. The owner must adhere to all codes and ordinances.

Yes. Accessory structures must be in the rear yard, at least five feet from the side and rear property line, off any easements that may be on the property, and cannot be over two stories. The accessory structures must be at least ten feet from any other structure including the main house. Plumbing in accessory structures is limited to one commode and one lavatory. On corner lots, accessory structures must meet the required secondary front yard setback. The secondary front yard setback may be obtained by called Zoning Administration at (256) 564-8008.

No. Fences do not require a permit. If the fence is located in the Huntsville Historic District, it must have approval from the Huntsville Hisstoric Preservation Commission. Most fence questions may be answered by calling Community Development at (256) 427-5400.

Setback lines are measured perpendicularly from the actual property line to the foundation of the structure.

A building permit must be obtained if the cost of the material and labor for such work is in excess of $250 dollars or structural work is involved in any amount. Painting, wallpapering, fencing, and floor covering are exempt from permitting. When in doubt, call the Inspection Department (256) 427-5331.

Yes. If you pay someone to do subcontractor or contractor work, they must be licensed with the Inspection Department. Subcontractors are only licensed to do certain work. Before you contract with a contractor or subcontractor, call the Inspection Department to find out if they are licensed to do the work.

Note: for specific information for properly licensed contractors and sub contractors please contact the Huntsville Inspection Department at (256) 427-5331.