When is a Permit Needed?

Permitting is the second step in the building approval process and is the tool that the City uses to ensure planned construction meets all applicable codes and regulations. Permits are required to erect, alter, or enlarge any structure, including swimming pools and fences; and, install, alter, repair, or replace any electrical wiring, plumbing, or mechanical equipment. Plans must be drawn to scale and dimension, and be of sufficient clarity to be easily read. Plans must show the property lines, location of the buildings in relation to the property lines, all easements, and all setback lines.

All permits are obtained through Development Services. However, new construction building plans are reviewed by Bureau Veritas through a professional services agreement with the City of Portland. Applications and plans should be submitted to Development Services as usual.

You need a permit if you plan any of the following:

  • Build a retaining wall more than four feet in height (above and below grade)
  • Build a stairway
  • Build, demolish, or alter a garage, carport, or accessory building
  • Cut a new window or door, or widen an existing opening
  • Replace existing windows
  • Driveway installation or extension
  • Fence installation
  • Patio, porch, deck, or pergola installation
  • Relocate or add a wall
  • Roof work
  • Room additions
  • Swimming pool or hot tub installation (above or below ground)
  • Parking lot alterations or resurfacing
  • Move earth or any amount of cut / fill on sites within the city limits

Notice as of June 2019:


Plumbers seeking a permit from Development Services or performing plumbing work in Portland are required to have a valid, current Texas plumbing license.

A recent executive order from Governor Greg Abbott delayed the permanent end of agency regulations until it can be re-addressed at the next Texas legislative session. The state agency responsible for issuing plumbing licenses in Texas will remain operational through May 31, 2021.

The City of Portland continues to plan for a local or regional regulatory program in the event of inaction during the next Texas legislative session.