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Per the 2012 IRC Section R105.2, the following work is exempt from obtaining a building permit:
1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet.
2. Fences not over 7 feet high.
3. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge.
4. Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.
5. Sidewalks and driveways.
6. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
7. Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches deep.
8. Swings and other playground equipment.
9. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
10. Decks not exceeding 200 square feet in area, that are not more than 18 inches above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling and do not serve the exit door required by Section R311.4.