Many homeowners ask us if we are required to obtain permits for our storm shelter and safe room installations. The answer is it depends. It depends on the city and county you live in. It tends to be that most larger and some medium-sized cities require permits for storm shelters and most smaller cities do not require permits. Of course, I always check beforehand to find out if permits are required. If you’re local, I’ll do this for free. If you’re not local, I’ve included the steps to get the permit below.
The process for getting the permit is pretty easy. As a general rule, all you need is the building permit application, a site plan and engineered drawings of the storm shelter or safe room that’s being installed.
If I’m required to get a permit, here are the steps I take.
- Talk to the city and/or ocunty and find out what paperwork is required beforehand so you only make one visit.
- OKIE – Call OKIE and have them mark all utility lines and easements
- Site Plan – this is simply a drawing of your property, showing property lines, house and where the proposed building (storm shelter) will be located. You will need to measure the the distances between everything as well. You will need two copies of this, so make one copy.
- Engineered Storm Shelter Drawing – I will provide this to you, regardless of where you live. It just details the shelter building specs and that it meets FEMA Publication 320 Guidelines. You will need two copies of this as well.
- Fill out building permit application in person. Many times, you will need to ask questions, so I go down to the city and if I need any help filling this out, they always help me.
That’s it and depending on your city and/or county, it can take anywhere from 2 – 15 business day for the permit to be approved. Costs range from $40 – $350.
There are few things that cities and counties are picky about. Depending on city, you may need to mark the runoff pattern and where silt fences will be placed. The City of Tulsa requires this. Also, some cities are really picky about where you place the shelter in accordance to property lines, existing easements and/or homes. Cities such as Norman require you to be at least 5′ away from the home and any property lines.