Worcester County Building Codes

For more information, please click on any of the following links below.


Projects that involve plumbing and installation of gas service and/or appliances must obtain the proper Plumbing/Gas Permits. However, it is not required prior to the issuance of the Building Permit. For more information relative to Plumbing/Gas Permits, please visit Department of Environmental Programs or contact the office at 410-632-1220.


A Building Permit application is required for any new construction, excluding accessory
structures 500 square feet or less, or uses of land. The permitee shall provide the following
information along with a complete Building Permit Application and the initial submittal fee. See Permit Application.   Please refer to the “How to Complete a Permit Application” found next to the online permit application for more specific submittal criteria. See Schedule of Fees for costs associated with this permit.

Residential Building Permits:

Site Plans
Four (4) copies of an a site plan if outside of a public water and sewer service area; three (3) copies of a site plan if within public water and sewer service area (i.e. Ocean Pines, Newark, West Ocean City.) The site plan should illustrate the following information:

· Uses and sizes of existing and proposed building structures/use areas;
· Dimensions along all property lines;
· Distances between the proposed construction activity and any existing building structures to each other, lot lines, ditches, roads, and private well/septic, if applicable.

Construction Plans

Three (3) stick built or four (4) modular  sets of construction plan drawings showing the
Proposed Structure Construction method:
Site built
Manufactured – Requires manufacture information including installation details, floor plans, elevations, dimensions, etc.
Modular – Requires State of Maryland approved drawings with any site details necessary for construction (foundation, decks, additions, etc.).  Provide set-up manual including drawings ( ¼ inch to 1 foot scale).
Contractor Information:
Primary Contractor contact information and license number (MHB for new structures and MHIC for improvements/additions) – On permit application.  License credentials will be verified with State of Maryland database.
Electrical Contractor – contact and license credentials are required at application for electrical permit which will supplement the building permit.
HVAC Contractor – Credentials required at framing inspections.
Building Performance Contractor – Certified Professional (as approved by Worcester County) listed but not required at permit application on Worcester County 2012 IECC form.  Final building performance testing is required to pass by a certified test agency to receive Certificate of Use and Occupancy.

Foundation Plan:
Outside Foundation Dimensions
Pier Size and Spacing
Foundation Vents and locations – Note if flood designed.
Foundation wall thickness
Footing dimensions including depth
Framing details, joist size and on-center spacing and beam size and spacing.
If using existing foundation, the same information is required.
The department may require engineered foundation for special circumstances and/or soil tests/certifications.
If the project is determined to be in a flood zone, existing elevation information may be required to determine additional construction requirements.
First Floor Plan
Show and dimension all proposed interior and exterior rooms and spaces.  Label each room for purpose.
Floor plans for interior renovations and additions, show existing room sizes and proposed new room/addition dimensions.  Where connecting an addition to an existing structure, show connecting details.
All kitchen and bathroom details for major plumbing and appliances.
Doors and dimensions and attic access.
Beams, headers and girders if any.  Roof construction details depending on truss or frame design.
Stairs, stairwells and handrails.  Stair width, ascent/decent direction, number of risers and treads and riser heights.
Upper Floor plans (Same as first floor plans plus):
Attic access and ceiling break lines, if applicable.  Provide ceiling height at break line.
Label spaces open to below.
Building Sections
Footer to ridge cross section of new structure showing construction detail.
For additions, include cross section of existing condition and structural attachment method to new addition.
Show all materials including but not limited to - gypsum board, insulation, wall sheathing, and siding including the thickness, type and R value rating of the insulation.
Include elevation drawings of at least front, rear and side appropriate to
determine major features and dimensions.
Label height of structure and highest roof peak from existing grade.
Dimension the height of each story.
Chimney or ornamental roof design feature height
Roof pitch and material of construction.
Roof and crawl space ventilation if applicable.
Siding material.
Doors and windows locations with schedule showing sizes, location, R, U and solar heat transfer coefficients (SHTC).

Energy Code
Completion of Worcester County 2012 IECC Energy Code requirements signed by owner and contractor (see attached).  All residential building projects, except open deck additions, require the completion of the Worcester County 2012 IECC Energy Code requirements form.
If using the prescriptive UA Alternative RESCHECK model then this
information must be supplied with plan permit application.  Plans must include insulation values per the RESCHECK model to be approved.  If changes occur during construction, a new RESCHECK model must be submitted and approved to complete the project which shows all changes.
Final documentation submitted for Certificate or Use and Occupancy must include the proper compliance information – Prescriptive, Rescheck or Performance.  Building envelope R-Values must match the method of compliance.
If using the performance option to comply, additional information is required to be submitted by a design professionals, certified performance professional or professional engineer for review and approval by Worcester County.
Final Blower Door building envelope leakage testing and duct leakage
testing is required.  These tests must be performed by a County
Approved test contractor having training/certifications to perform tests per the 2012 IECC.  Test companies are generally holding BPI or
RESNET certifications.

Building Permits - Commercial

Note:  Commercial Plans require Site Plan Review separate and preceding permit application.  Site plan approval must be obtained before applying for a building permit for a commercial building.  Commercial construction requires plans that are prepared by a Maryland Licensed Architect.  Depending on the project, additional information may be required during plan review to issue a permit.  Depending on the project, deferred submittals will be required to document code compliance.

Site Plan

Construction Plans
Submit (4) Sets of Construction Plan Drawings prepared by Licensed Architect showing the following minimum information:
A complete project description including information if change of use is applicable.
All original drawings must be wet sealed and signed by a Maryland Licensed Architect.
A code analysis completed by the Licensed Architect including use group, occupant loads, construction type, sprinkler requirements, area, etc. per IBC.
Drawings shall include
Foundation Plans
Floor Plans on levels
Elevations – Each story height labeled and highest building peak height labeled.
Cross Sections and Construction Details
Roof Plans
Sprinkler Plans or reference to deferred submittals
Structural Plans including soils report
Plumbing Plans – for Environmental Programs Dept. Review
All commercial buildings must comply with the 2012 International Energy Code.  The design professional must list the required performance path (ASHRAE 90.1, IECC Prescriptive, IECC Performance).  Required information includes:
Insulation materials with R values.
Fenestration U factors and solar heat coefficients
U factor Calculations
Mechanical System and water heating equipment  design or design criteria including types,  size, efficiency.
Equipment controls specifications
Duct sealing requirements
Lighting fixture schedule and wattage tables (allowed/designed)
Air sealing requirements.  Envelope air testing may be required if air barriers are not properly designed, installed and inspected.  The building inspector shall have jurisdiction to determine if final building envelope air testing is required.

Building Thermal Envelope Exception (Low Energy Use Building)


A Zoning Permit is required for any type of use of land, detached building or structure (which is 500 square feet or less in size), above-ground swimming pool, signs, home occupations, agricultural structure, fence/wall, sign, etc. The permittee shall provide the following information along with a complete and notarized Zoning Permit application and the initial submittal fee.

  1. Four (4) copies of an approved site plan if outside of public water and sewer service area; three (3) copies of an approved site plan if within public water and sewer service area (i.e. Ocean Pines, Newark, West Ocean City).The site plan should illustrate the following information:
    • Uses and sizes of existing and proposed building structures/use areas;
    • Dimensions along all property lines;
    • Distances between the proposed construction activity and any existing building structures to each other, lot lines, ditches, roads, and private well/septic, if applicable.
  2. See Fee Schedule below for permit costs.
  3. Due to the existence of wetlands, flood plains, multiple lots, public services on the property, etc., the Department may require the filing and recording of other "special" documents as part of the permit package.

Zoning Permit Fees

  1. Accessory Structures (Under 500 square feet): $50.00
  2. Use of Land (i.e. fences, home occupation ): $50.00
  3. Chicken Houses: $50.00
  4. Agricultural Structures: $50.00
  5. Signs ($1.00 per Sq. Ft. or $50.00 minimum)



If a zoning permit has been issued, a site inspection is required after the completion of the proposed work/use to confirm compliance with zoning setbacks. Upon completion of the inspection, the applicant will receive a copy of a Zoning Cerificate for the use of the structure/use.


Project that involve or require electric must obtain the proper Electrical Permit. However, it is not required prior to the issuance of the Building Permit. Electrical Permits may be obtained from the following locations:

  • Isle of Wight Office - located at the corner of St. Martins Neck Road and Route 90, or contact the office at (410) 352-3057 or (410) 632-5407. (Construction in the Ocean Pines area, Newark area or West Ocean City area must obtain Electrical Permits from the Isle of Wight Office).
  • Snow Hill - located in Room 1201 of the Government Center, or contact the office at (410) 632-1200.
  1. See Fee Schedule below for permit costs.
  2. Electrical Permits may be obtained by either the homeowner or licensed electrician.

Electrical Permit Fees

  1. Permit Fee: $25.00

***The County does not perform electrical inspections. The owner/applicant will be required to contact an outside inspection agency for all electrical inspections. See below:

  • Middle Department Inspection Agency: 410-749-0641
  • Maryland Electrical Inspections: 410-219-3228
  • Private Inspection Agencies Approved by Worcester County


If the property is located within a public water and/or sewer service area, the applicant/property owner should contact the Water and Wastewater Department at (410) 641-5251.

If the property is not located within a public water and/or sewer service area, the applicant/property owner should contact Environmental Programs at (410) 632-1220 regarding possible permits and fees.


According to the Worcester County Zoning and Subdivision Control Article, Section ZS 1-115(b) Zoning/Occupancy Certificate, "It is unlawful to:

(1) Use a building or structure or part thereof, erected or located after the effective date of this Title, until a zoning/occupancy certificate for such use shall have been issued by the Department....." Failure to obtain a Zoning/Occupancy Certificate prior to the use or occupancy of any structure is a violation and could result in the issuance of civil infraction citations/fines.

Important Note: Issuance of a Zoning/Occupancy Certificate requires 48 hours for processing after approval of the final inspections (Building/Zoning, Plumbing/Electrical, and Water & Wastewater).


Residential Building Permit Fees

  1. Stick Built Houses, Modular Homes and Additions
    1. Minimum fee: $50.00 payable at time of submittal (NON-REFUNDABLE).
    2. Habital Area (Stick Built House, Addition & Modular Homes) Square Footage x $48.12 x .0055
    3. Non-Habital Area (Garages, Covered Decks, etc.) Square Footage x $22.62 x .0055
    4. Open Decks - Square Footage x $15.00 x .0055 dential Building Permit Fees
  2. Mobile Homes: $100.00
  3. Accessory Structures (Greater than 500 square feet): Square Footage x $22.62 x .0055