"The effort of permitting a shed becomes the project. The construction project itself is trivial ..." RT

More permit info than you want know

When is a building permit required?

The most recent version of the New Mexico building code dictates that any structure greater than 120SF is required have a building permit when built, delivered, or installed in the state New Mexico.

What is a building permit?

A building permit is much more than a piece of paper. A building permit is basically a process controlled by the local jurisdiction to document what you are building and how you are building it.  This process in its simplest form involves the following steps:

  • Application and plans intake
  • Plan review
  • Permit issuance
  • Inspections as construction proceeds
  • Final inspection(s)

Where do building permits come from?

It depends…

Permitting is typically a one-step or two-step process. 


In the City of Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Bernalillo County and the Town of Bernalillo, permitting is a one-step process.  This means the applicant goes to the” city  hall” and they will approve both the zoning and building aspects of the project.


Many areas outside those areas listed above do not have their own building departments, rather having only zoning departments.  These areas typically rely on another authoritative entity to review the “building” aspect of a project.  Zoning departments review plans for height restrictions, placement on lot, suitability for the neighborhood, etc.  Zoning departments  typically do not care or review how the structure is to be built.   

  • Step 1 requires the applicant to first submit plans to the local zoning authorities.  Once step 1  is completed and approved, the applicant then is required to take the plans to step 2.
  • Step 2 is where the building permit is issued.  Usually this involves submitting the plan-set approved in step 1 to New Mexico CID (Construction Industries Division) for structural review, building permit issuance, and required inspections.

What is needed to get a permit?

All permitting jursidictions will require at least the following:

  • Site Plan – An accurate, scaled to size site plan representing your property as it exists today whih also includes the proposed new structure(s).
  • Elevations – A set of scaled and accurate drawings representing what the new strcuture will look like when finished.
  • Structural Details – A set of drawings that represent the construction methods and materials to be used in the construction of the proposed structure. Depending on the nature of the project and materials used, these drawinghs may need to be stamped by an engineer or architect.

Who gets the permit?

Generally speaking, the building permits are to be obtainedby the licensed general contracting business being hired to do the work. In NM, a general contractor will hold either a GB-2 or GB-98  license (2 is residential only, 98 include residential and commercial).  Bilt-Wel holds a GB-98 license.

A home-owner can pull their own permit in certain circumstances, such as when the homeowner plans to actually do the construction themselves.  Check out the form you have to sign to get your own permit.

How much do permits cost?

The cost of the permit depends on a number of factors.  Most jurisdictions have their own permitting fee schedule and it varies widely from city to city. Albuquerque and Corrales have the highest fees.