Building Inspection

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Building Inspector/ Director

William A. Hanley II

(401) 845-5463



Large scale projects like new house construction, putting on an addition or renovating an entire house is best left to a building contractor. Building or General Contractors must be registered with the State of Rhode Island Contractor Registration Board. Each contractors firm receives a registration number on an identification card.

Most contractors display this number on their trucks, in their advertising and on their stationery. Contractors need permits for much of the work that they do. The Inspection Division gives each permit holder a receipt copy that should be available on the job site.

A homeowner can do work on his or her own property as well, but there are restrictions. First, the work must meet the same standards of the Rhode Island State Building Code that contractors have to meet. And second, the homeowner must do the work by himself or herself. While there is no such thing as a homeowners permit, (its the same permit that a contractor gets), homeowners must take an additional step to get a permit.

They must sign and have notarized a form called a homeowners affidavit stating that they are aware of the laws governing their right to do their own work on their home. All of this leads back to the question, When is a permit required? Here are some general guidelines to help determine this.

A building permit is required when you are planning work which could have an impact on the structural soundness of your house, such as:

  • Replacing roof covering
  • Installing any new window/door or replacing a window/door
  • Installing or replacing wallboard or plaster
  • Installing floor joists and floor sheathing
  • Moving walls, installing new walls, skylights
  • Installing or replacing the exterior covering like shingles, clapboard or vinyl siding
  • Installing or replacing decks and garages
  • Converting a basement or attic area from a storage area into habitable space