Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When is a permit required?
A: A permit is needed for all development within Harris County

Q: What are some examples of development?
A: Development means any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials.  Fences or fence-type walls located within the flood plain are included within this definition.  Visit Residential Development Permits for what requires a permit and what does not.  This is further elaborated in the flyer located on the same page.

Q: What do I need to do to get a permit to build something on my property?
A: Please visit Residential Development Permits and click on the link for the type of permit you wish to apply for.  For new houses or mobile homes, please click on the link for “Residential Development Permits”.

Q: Is my project located in the flood plain?
A: Please visit Information on my Address and enter your address in the box at the upper left corner of the map, then click on the magnifying glass symbol.  Your property will pop up with all relevant information.  The map is a large file and takes several seconds to load.

Q: The Map says that my property lies within the 500 year floodplain. What do I need to do to get a permit to build on my property?
A: If the GIS mapping service indicates that your property lies within the 500 year (x-shaded) floodplain then an elevation certificate will be necessary in addition to the completed development permit application and an accurate site plan.
Compare that number to the number found at Item C2.g.
If the number at Item C2.g is equal to or greater than the number in Box B9, then you will process your application like your home is not in a floodplain.
If the number at Item C2.g is less than the number in Box B9, then you will process your application like your home is in the 100 Year Floodplain.

Q: I see that my property is in the 100 Year Floodplain. What do I need to submit to Harris County to build on my property?
A: You will need to retain the services of a registered Architect or Engineered (licensed to practice in Texas), who will prepare foundation and other drawings required by the Harris County Floodplain Management Regulations (located at http://www.eng.hctx.net/permits/Residential-Development/Residential/Regulation-Standards-Details).  In addition you will need to submit a detailed and accurate site plan, and a completed application form if you choose to apply on paper in lieu of the online system.
1. Be "e" signed and stamped by a Professional Engineer who is registered with the State of Texas; and,
2. Contain Harris County Floodplain Notes; and,
3. Contain a Complete Benchmark Description; and,
4. Contain a complete address and legal description; and,
5. Have the Base Flood Elevation, the Finished Floor Elevation, and the Finished Elevation of the Garage at the Garage Door Threshold called out.

Q: What if my home is in the 100 Year Floodway?
A: You will need to retain the services of a registered Architect or Engineered (licensed to practice in Texas), who will prepare foundation and other drawings required by the Harris County Floodplain Management Regulations (located at Residential Development Permits).  In addition you will need to submit a detailed and accurate site plan, and a completed application form if you choose to apply on paper in lieu of the online system.

Q: I need to get a permit to construct my driveway. What do I need to do?
A: The area between your property line and the street is called the Right-of-Way.  Any driveway built within that Right-of-Way will require a permit.  For residential applications, Harris County will need a completed residential application and an accurate and detailed site plan.  See site plan sample posted at Driveways & Culverts. Check the Harris County driveway regulations posted at Regulations, Standards & Details.

Q: If a ditch is in the front of my property, what do I have to do to put my driveway in?
A: If the ditch at the front of your property lies within the County Right of Way, then any driveway built within that Right of Way will require permitting.  For residential applications, Harris County will need a completed residential application and an accurate and detailed site plan.  See site plan sample posted at Driveways & Culverts. Check the Harris County driveway regulations posted at Regulations, Standards & Details.

Q: I want to put some dirt on my property. Can I do that?

A: 1. If your property lies outside of any Special Flood Hazard Area, then Harris County will need a completed residential application, and an accurate site plan and a fill affidavit. The site plan must show where the fill will be placed, how much fill will be placed at each location on the property and how the water will flow on the property after the fill is placed.

2. If your property lies within any Special Flood Hazard Area, then You will need to retain the services of a registered Architect or Engineered (licensed to practice in Texas), who will prepare mitigation, drainage and other documents required by the Harris County Floodplain Management Regulations (located at Regulations, Standards & Details).  In addition you will need to submit a detailed and accurate site plan, and a completed application form if you choose to apply on paper in lieu of the online system.

3.  No Fill is allowed in a Floodway.

Q: Is a demolition permit required for demolition work within the unincorporated area of Harris County?
A: No demolition work permit is required within the unincorporated area of Harris County.  A permit will be required to construct or develop the property after demolition work is completed.

Q: Is a residential fence required for locations outside of the special flood hazard area?
A: No permit is required for a residential fence for locations outside of the special flood hazard area.

Q: Do I need a permit to add a patio or carport to my house?
A: Yes, a permit is required to add a patio or carport to your house.  Please visit http://www.eng.hctx.net/permits/Residential-Development/Residential/Residential-Development-Permits and click on the link for “residential Development Permits”.  In addition to the documents listed there, you will need to provide a detailed cost & scope of work.