Permits and Codes


No matter what part of the country you are in they all have different building codes.  Always check with your local building department.  We have seen some areas where no permit is required for buildings up to 400 square foot.  While others over 100 to 120 square foot you need a permit.  Habitable dwellings will require in some areas an engineered wet stamp, some just a brace wall engineering; others Title 24 Energy Calcs.  If you decide that you need a permit, we can help.

Little Green are not responsible for any permits required to build these buildings on your site if needed.

If you decide you need a permit, check your local building department to see if they allow Owner-Builder Permits.  They are usually the most hassle free.  Depending on your area, permits for habitable buildings can be costly.  Call for information.


But what about the local building codes?  It’s a question that has slowed down more than one builder who’s considered adopting advanced panel construction.  Often, local building codes don’t include prescriptive methods for building with panel systems, so each manufacturer must obtain code approval for each product.  Some jurisdictions require an engineers review and seal of the structural design, which the manufacturer may be able to provide.

While these obstacles may impact the cost and schedule for a first construction effort, they can be overcome.  The Partnership for Advanced Technology in Housing (PATH) provides some industry guidance in its 2003 progress report, Technology Roadmap:  Advanced Panelized Construction.

In the report, PATH addresses the three typical methods for code compliance.  The first is obtaining code approval to develop a consensus standard through a standards-writing organization and then submit it to a building code committee as a reference standard.  However, this process can take years for a standardized product, much less panels.

A second, more effective method is direct code adoption, which requires submitting a code change to the model code organizations.  In many cases, this results in a prescriptive standard.  With PATH support, prescriptive standards have already been developed for insulating concrete forms and light gauge steel framing.  These code provisions provide design flexibility because they are typically adopted directly into the local building code.  PATH has recently partnered with the Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA) and the NAHB Research Center to develop a prescriptive method for design and code acceptance of structural panels.

The third approach is to obtain a code evaluation report, which typically contains the supporting design or testing results and specifies installation procedures, spans, connections, and related information.  These documents, known as Evaluation Service Reports provide the information building code officials need to determine whether a panel product (or other technology) satisfies code requirements, thus providing an equivalent to code approval.

As with all prescriptive provisions, involving engineers or architects to review and seal the plans can be a good strategy to satisfy specific requirements.  Regardless of your approach, bear in mind that code or permitting officials can always delay a project if they are unfamiliar with a particular technology or method.  Your best bet:  talk with your local building official and secure local approval before you even think about building.

Note:  “Considering Codes” article was originally published by Professional Builder on 05/2005.  We felt it important to add this article to our website.



Take a glass of water, place it in a 96 sq. foot building with our 4” walls, floor and roof with a 100 watt light bulb in zero degree Fahrenheit outside temperature - How long would it take the water to freeze?  Probably never!!

Structurally insulated panels polystyrene pressure bonded between marine glued plywood sheets.
  • Constant R-Values
  • Stronger! Quieter!
  • No Bugs! No mold !

32 square feet to 400 square feet