Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Building Department enforce regulations related to light pollution caused by excessive exterior lighting?

Yes, per Chapter 155 of the Municipal Ordinance, section 155-9, Stamford Building Department enforces exterior lighting related violations.  

Section 155.9

a.  Building Department to Enforce. The Chief Building Official, or designee, shall not issue a Certificate of Occupancy unless the applicant provides certification that the Exterior Lighting as installed complies with the approved Lighting Plan and the requirements of this Chapter unless waived or amended by the Director of Operations, or such Director's designee, in writing. The certification shall be submitted in a format prescribed by the Chief Building Official and reviewed by the Department of Buildings. The certification shall be completed by the architect, electrical engineer, electrical contractor, or lighting consultant responsible for the plans or the final installation.

b.  Violations and Penalties. The Chief Building Official, or such Official's designee, shall investigate complaints regarding the compliance with this Chapter. Should the Building Official, or such Official's designee, find any violation of this Chapter, the Building Official shall

(1)  Send a Notice of Violation to the property owner and/or manager where such violation occurred requesting the violation to be corrected within eight (8) days of the date of the Notice of Violation.

(2)  Should the violation not be corrected after thirty (30) days of the date of the Notice of Violation, issue a Citation for such violation not exceeding the following amounts

(a)  One hundred dollars ($100.00) for each day the property is in violation for properties containing a single-family, two-family, or three-family building;

(b)  One hundred dollars ($100.00) for each Luminaire per day not in compliance for all other properties.

Is a CRS number required for electrical service?

Effective immediately no electrical permits are to be issued for any service work that involves Eversource needing our release unless the applicant provides the CRS number.

Do I need a license to work as a General Contractor in Stamford CT?

A General Contractor is required to have one of three credentials described below, depending on the type of construction activity.

  1. Major contractor license:  For commercial, institutional and multi-family structures. 
  2. New Home Construction contractor registration:  For new 1 or 2 family structures.  
  3. Home Improvement Contractor registration:  For residential alteration projects. 

Major contractor” means (1) any person engaged in the business of construction, structural repair, structural alteration, dismantling or demolition of a structure or addition that exceeds the threshold limits provided in section 29-276b, or (2) any person who, under the direction of a general contractor, performs or offers to perform any work that impacts upon the structural integrity of a structure or addition, including repair, alteration, dismantling or demolition of a structure or addition that exceeds the threshold limits provided in section 29-276b. Such work includes, but is not limited to, roofing, masonry and structural frame work.

New home” means any newly constructed (A) single-family dwelling unit, (B) dwelling consisting of not more than two units, or (C) unit, common element or limited common element in a condominium, as defined in section 47-68a, or in a common interest community, as defined in section 47-202.

Home improvement” includes, but is not limited to, the repair, replacement, remodeling, alteration, conversion, modernization, improvement, rehabilitation or sandblasting of, or addition to any land or building or that portion thereof which is used or designed to be used as a private residence, dwelling place or residential rental property, or the construction, replacement, installation or improvement of driveways, swimming pools, porches, garages, roofs, siding, insulation, sunrooms, flooring, patios, landscaping, fences, doors and windows, waterproofing, water, fire or storm restoration or mold remediation in connection with such land or building or that portion thereof which is used or designed to be used as a private residence, dwelling place or residential rental property or the removal or replacement of a residential underground heating oil storage tank system, in which the total price for all work agreed upon between the contractor and owner or proposed or offered by the contractor exceeds two hundred dollars. “Home improvement” does not include: (A) The construction of a new home; (B) the sale of goods by a seller who neither arranges to perform nor performs, directly or indirectly, any work or labor in connection with the installation or application of the goods or materials; (C) the sale of goods or services furnished for commercial or business use or for resale, provided commercial or business use does not include use as residential rental property; (D) the sale of appliances, such as stoves, refrigerators, freezers, room air conditioners and others which are designed for and are easily removable from the premises without material alteration thereof; and (E) any work performed without compensation by the owner on his own private residence or residential rental property.

Please visit the Connecticut State Licencing information page for specific information and filing requirements.  Please click here for information on Major Contractor License Requirements.

Per Connecticut General Statutes 20-340 Exception (11), license requirements shall not apply to persons engaged in the installation, maintenance, repair and service of glass or electrical, plumbing, fire protection sprinkler systems, solar, heating, piping, cooling and sheet metal equipment in and about single-family residences owned and occupied or to be occupied by such persons; provided any such installation, maintenance and repair shall be subject to inspection and approval by the building official of the municipality in which such residence is located and shall conform to the requirements of the State Building Code.

My home is owned by an LLC and I am the sole owner of the LLC.  Am I allowed to pull a permit as a home owner doing his/her own work per CGS 20-340?

An LLC is not exempt because the exemption under CGS 20-340 is for persons only not firms or entities.  An LLC must have an HIC license and file as a contractor.

CHAPTER 400-HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS
Sec. 20-420a. Procedures for registration. (a) No corporation shall perform or offer to perform home improvements in this state unless such corporation has been issued a certificate of registration by the commissioner. No such corporation shall be relieved of responsibility for the conduct and acts of its agents, employees or officers by reason of its compliance with the provisions of this section, nor shall any individual contractor be relieved of responsibility for home improvements performed by reason of his employment or relationship with such corporation.

My structure was built in 1928.  What building code was it built under?

The state building code was adopted in 1971 and information about applicable codes for structures built in 1971 or thereafter can be found here.  Any residential structure built prior to the adoption of state building code in 1971 must comply with the Stamford Municipal Ordinance Chapter 146 – “Housing Standards” as applicable as well as comply with the Connecticut State Fire Safety Code.   Per section 101.4.4 of 2015 International Building Code (IBC) portion of the 2018 State Building Code, property maintenance shall be in accordance with the requirements of the 2015 IBC and the applicable provisions of the 2018 Connecticut State Fire Safety Code and the 2018 Connecticut State Fire Prevention Code.

Do I need a permit if I am doing repairs?

A permit is not required for ordinary repairs to structures.Such repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load-bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.(R105.2.2 and IBC 105.2.2)

What types of projects do not need a building permit?  (Exempt work)

Work exempt from permit. Exemption from the permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws, statutes, regulations or ordinances of the jurisdiction.

Permits shall not be required for the following work:

Building:

  • One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area is not greater than 200 square feet (18.58 m²).

  • Fences, other than swimming pool barriers, not higher than 7 feet (2134 mm).  (A zoning permit is still required.)

  • Oil derricks.

  • Retaining walls that are not higher than 3 feet (914 mm) measured from finished grade at the bottom of the wall to finished grade at the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II or III-A liquids.

  • Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18925 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.

  • Sidewalks, driveways and on-grade concrete or masonry patios not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above adjacent grade and not over any basement or story below and which are not part of an accessible route.

  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops and similar finish work not involving structural changes or alterations.

  • Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.

  • Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Use Group R-3 occupancy, as applicable in Section 101.2, which are equal to or less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallon (18925 L) capacity and are installed entirely above ground.

  • Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes and not including service systems.

  • Swings and other playground equipment.

  • Window awnings in Group R-3 and U occupancies, supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.

  • Movable cases, counters and partitions not higher than 5 feet 9 inches (1753 mm) and not containing any electrical, plumbing or mechanical equipment.

  • Portable grandstands or bleachers providing seating for fewer than 100 persons when located outside of a building.

Electrical:

  • Minor repairs and maintenance work, including replacement of lamps and fuses or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.

  • Electrical equipment used solely for radio and television transmissions, but a permit is required for equipment and wiring for power supply and for the installation of towers and antennas.

  • Temporary testing systems required for the testing or servicing of electrical equipment or apparatus.

Gas:

  • Portable heating or cooking appliances with a self-contained fuel supply.

  • Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.

  • Portable fuel cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.

Mechanical:

  • Portable heating appliances with a self-contained fuel supply.

  • Portable ventilation appliances.

  • Portable cooling units.

  • Steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code.

  • Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.

  • Portable evaporative coolers.

  • Self-contained refrigeration systems containing 10 pounds (5 kg) or less of refrigerant or that are actuated by motors of 1 horsepower (746 W) or less.

  • Portable fuel cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.

Plumbing:

  • The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe; provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drainpipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, such work shall be considered new work and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in this code.

  • The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures, and the removal and reinstallation of water closets, provided such repairs do not involve or  require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.

What happens if I occupy the premises before a CO or COA is issued?

Pursuant to subsection (a) of section 29-265 of the Connecticut General Statutes, no building or structure erected or altered in any municipality after October 1, 1970, shall be occupied or used, in whole or in part, until a certificate of occupancy has been issued by the building official, certifying that such building or structure or work performed pursuant to the building permit substantially complies with the provisions of the State Building Code. Nothing in the code shall require the removal, alteration or abandonment of, or prevent the continuance of the use and occupancy of, any single-family dwelling but within six years of the date of occupancy of such dwelling after substantial completion of construction of, alteration to or addition to such dwelling, or of a building lawfully existing on October 1, 1945, except as may be necessary for the safety of life or property. The use of a building or premises shall not be deemed to have changed because of a temporary vacancy or change of ownership or tenancy.

Exceptions:

1. Work for which a certificate of approval is issued in accordance with Section 111.6.

2. Certificates of occupancy are not required for work exempt from permit requirements under Section 105.2.

The penalty shall be not less than two hundred nor more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than six months or both, pursuant to section 29-254a of the Connecticut General statutes.  (SBC 111.1, CGS 29-254a, CGS 29-265a)

What happens if I continue to work after a Stop Work order has been issued?

Any person who shall continue any work in or about the structure after having been served with a stop work order, except such work as that person is directed to perform to remove a violation or unsafe conditions, shall be liable for penalties in accordance with Section 114.4.  (SBC 115.3)

The penalty shall be not less than two hundred nor more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than six months or both, pursuant to section 29-254a of the Connecticut General statutes.  (SBC 115.3, 114.4, CGS 29-254a)

What are the License Requirements for contractors?

The License requirements are available here on Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection's web site.

Please click here for Connecticut Department of Administrative Services -  DAS Contractor Classification List.

Please click here for information on Major Contractor License Requirements.

How do I verify if my architect or engineer is licensed in Connecticut?

Please click here for a link to License Verification.

What are the building code requirements for maintaining construction safety?

Chapter 33 of International Building Code provides requirements for construction safety. 

In addition, Federal OSHA standards mandate site safety.  Please click on the links shown below for short videos on Federal OSHA standards.