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Building Commissioner

Washington County’s intention is to safeguard life, health, property, and public welfare by regulating and controlling the construction, quality of materials, and use of all buildings and structures. Through building code enforcement of the Indiana Building Code and Washington County Residential Code we are here to ensure safe minimum levels of construction to make a difference in our community. This is closely followed by the enforcement of the Washington County Zoning Regulations, which provide orderly growth to our community.

Indiana Residential Code
Washington County Indiana Published Codes

Commonly asked question?
1.  What is a Tiny home/Cabin?  Any manufactured off-site tiny home or cabin will require a HUD Identification Plate or Indiana Industrialize Building or Modular Stickers
2.  Does not require a site improvement application?
Any type of remodel that does not increase living square footage of residence 
3.  For questions concerning property line fencing please contact your Township Trustee
4.  Setbacks
5’ from the property line
60’ off the County road
10’ from residence
5.  Washington Township residence; where is your project is located:
Contact the City of Salem Building Department 812-883-5060
City limits of Salem
City Annex area (Approx. 2-mile radius)
Contact Washington County Building Department
County Jurisdiction

When do I need a site improvement application?
  • New Residential Structures (single or multifamily)
  • Residential Additions and Remodels
  • Attached Garages
  • Storage/Utility Buildings (any size or portability) with living quarters
  • Mobile Home, Modular Home or Manufactured Home Placement
  • Temporary Structures, RV, Campers

The above list is not inclusive as other permits may be required. This can only be determined by contacting the Building, Planning & Zoning Department.

Why do I need a site improvement application?

The purpose of a site improvement application is to allow the Building Commissioner to oversee construction to make sure that the minimum construction standards are upheld. These standards safeguard life and property. The County’s building and zoning codes have been carefully enacted to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of you and your property. Washington County Indiana has adopted and enforces the following building codes and ordinances:

  • International Residential Codes with current Indiana Amendments
  • Indiana Administrative Code 675
  • Washington County Codes with current Amendments

These codes may be reviewed in the Washington County, Planning & Zoning Department during normal working hours. The department also reviews planning and zoning applications for other matters to ensure that the County continues to be a safe and beautiful area in which to live, work and play.

What is required to get my site improvement application?

When you contact the Building Department, the first question you will be asked is, “What is the location of your project?” This will let us know if you are within Washington County planning, building and zoning jurisdiction. It is possible to have a County address, but actually can be in another planning jurisdiction such as City of Salem 2-mile city annex or towns limits. You will also be asked what your project is. Knowing the type of the project that you are doing will guide the department in helping you obtain the correct permit(s). There are additional requirements to obtain a permit.

4 Step process to obtain a site improvement application:

1.  Driveway Permit
 (Required for All New Driveway Entrances on County Roads)
Washington County Highway Department
600 Anson Street
Salem, IN 47167

Driveway Permits are required by the Washington County Highway Department whenever putting in any kind of driveway, new, existing or add on. You will not be able to apply for a building permit or obtain a 911 address without a Driveway Permit. Stop by the Washington County Highway Dept. (600 Anson St., Salem) for an Application and Flags to mark the driveway. The New Driveway must be approved by the Washington County Highway Department to determine if the driveway site meets safety requirements and if a culvert is needed.

2.  Septic Permit  
Washington County Health Department  
806 Martinsburg Road Suite 100
Salem, IN 47167
812-883-5603, Ext. 2004

Washington County Health Department issues permits for private sewage disposal systems and inspects new construction of private sewage systems. The environmentalists investigate complaints of septic system failures that contribute to land pollution. They also provide information on health hazards such as improper solid and hazardous waste disposal. They work closely with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Indiana State Department of Health.

3.  Building Site Improvement Permit-Application Depending on what type of structure your project is a site improvement application must be filled out.
Washington County Building Department
601 Anson Street
Salem, IN 47167

Depending on what type of structure your project is a site improvement application must be filled out.

•    Frame or addition to residence: Any building unit providing complete independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation. Addition is a new construction that increases square footage of dwelling or residence.
Click below for Application

•    Modular: a home built in sections: Built with a wood floor system and are designed to go on a concrete foundation, either a full basement or crawlspace.
Click below for Application

•    Manufactured: are completely constructed in a factory and then transported to the home site. Built on a steel frame and are typically set on concrete blocking or cement or metal pylons.
Click below for Application

•    Temporary structures: Any temporary structure, mobile unit, camper or RV, including accessory structures, being used for human habitation for living, sleeping, cooking, or eating purposes, or any combination thereof must obtain an approved septic permit or waiver from the Washington County Health Department. The site improvement permit is good for 180 days.
R107.1 GENERAL. The building official is authorized to issue a permit for temporary structures and temporary uses. Such permits shall be limited as to time of service but shall not be permitted for more than 180 days. The building official is authorized to grant extensions for demonstrated cause.
R107.2 CONFORMANCE. Temporary structures and uses shall conform to the structural strength, fire safety, means of egress, light, ventilation, and sanitary requirements of this code as necessary to ensure the public health, safety, and general welfare.
R107.3 TEMPORARY POWER. The building official is authorized to give permission to temporarily supply and use power in part of an electric installation before such installation has been fully completed and the final certificate of completion has been issued. The part covered by the temporary certificate shall comply with the requirements specified for temporary lighting, heat, or power in NFPA 70.
R107.4 TERMINATION OF APPROVAL. The building official is authorized to terminate such permit for a temporary structure or use and to order the temporary structure or use to be discontinued.

4.  Addressing/911 Address Office
Washington County Addressing
601 Anson St
Salem, IN 47167

A.  You must have approval from the Highway Department (if needed), Health Department, and Building Department before a permanent address can be issued to site locations.

B.  Any temporary structure, mobile unit, camper or RV, including accessory structures, being used for human habitation for living, sleeping, cooking, or eating purposes, or any combination thereof must obtain an approved septic permit or waiver from the Washington County Health Department and Building Department before an address is assigned. The site improvement permit is good for 180 days.

C.  After getting Driveway Approval (If needed), Septic Approval, and Building Approval you will be issued an address.

Can I draw my plans myself?

Yes. Washington County accepts hand drawings, provided they include all information needed for your permit review.

Do I or my contractor(s) need to be licensed to do work on my project?

No. Currently Washington County does not provide nor require licensing. The only exception to this is plumbers. They are required to be bonded and licensed by the State of Indiana. If your project includes plumbing, you will be required to hire a licensed plumber and/or need the mobile home installers #.

Who is responsible for obtaining the permit for my project?

The permit may be obtained by the project or property owner, contractor, architect, engineer or a permitting company. However, the project or property owner shall be responsible for making sure all evaluations are requested and all conditions are met. A required evaluation sheet is given with all permits issued from this department.

What is the cost of the permit?

The permit fee is based on the size of your project. Gross square footage of enclosed area includes basements and garages.

0 UP TO 500FT                   $50.00
501-1000                              $100.00
1001-1500                            $150.00
1501-2000                            $200.00
2001-2500                            $250.00
2501-3000                            $300.00
3001-4000                            $350.00
4001-5000                            $400.00
5001-6000                            $450.00
6001->>>>                          $500.00

Acceptable forms of payment are cash, check, or money order made payable to TREASURER OF WASHINGTON COUNTY.

 What about getting evaluations?

An evaluation at each and every required phase of construction must be requested in a timely manner, at least 24 hours in advance, to make certain the work conforms to the applicable building codes, the obtained permit and the approved plans. Failure to make required notification for inspection at each phase of construction, as defined upon the Required Evaluation Sheet given to you during the permit process, may be cause for removal of performed work, reinstallation of performed work, fines, or stop work orders can be issued.



Can I get a certificate of occupancy?

Final inspection determining the code compliance is a valuable and necessary part of the construction process. Once code compliance is determined, the Building Commission may issue a Certificate of Occupancy which establishes that your project is completed and has met all building codes associated with your project. Failure to have all inspections, as required, eliminates you from the privilege of obtaining the Certificate of Occupancy.

Contact information for Building Commissioner/Zoning Director

Travis Elliott  
Office Phone : 812-883-0139
Office Location  601 Anson Street  Salem, IN 47167
Office Hours Monday-Friday 7:00am-3:00pm