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Building Permits

What is the Building Permit Process?

1- Determine your project. Permits are required for projects like, but not limited to, dwellings, decks, retaining walls, fences, sheds (if it is a permanent structure with footings in the ground), and garages. If it adds value to the property, it should be submitted for a permit. Permits are monitored by the Woodbury County Assessor's office for property value increases.

2- Complete a Building Permit Form. Forms can be found at the below link or with the city clerk. All four sections of the permit form must be completely filled out and signed. Also note for fence permits, if it is going to be closer than 4ft from the property line on the rear or side lines, the adjacent property owner must sign consent in Section 2 on the form. The Sight Plan in Section 4 must include property lines and accurate measurements.

3- Submit the Building Permit Form with any applicable fees. Forms can be brought to city hall, emailed to the clerk, or dropped into the payment drop-box at city hall. Fees can only be paid with cash or check (payable to the City of Lawton) and are required before the permit can be processed. Fee amounts are listed on the form.

4- Form is reviewed. The public works director, the Mayor, and one Council Member must review and approve the permit before the project can begin. While most permits can be reviewed and approved quickly, the permit may be required to be listed on a city council meeting agenda to be reviewed in an open meeting. The public works director, Mayor or city clerk may contact the applicant for clarification on any information provided.

5- Approval or Denial. The city clerk will notify the applicant once the permit is approved or denied. If it is denied, the clerk will provide details for the denial. A copy of the approved permit can be supplied to the applicant if requested. A copy will be permanently retained at city hall and submitted to Woodbury County. 

6- Complete the Project. Call 811 before you dig! 

The city of Lawton is dedicated to make the approval process of permits as easy and as quick as possible. Thank you for your support and cooperation! If you have any questions on your project, please reach out to city hall.


1. Most new construction, alterations and repairs are required by the State of Iowa to have a Building Permit.


2. Your Building Inspector will become a valuable member of the Design/Build team to review the plans for conformance with the Building Code before construction starts to help avoid costly mistakes.


3. Your Building Inspector will perform periodic inspections and advise on compliance with the Building Code while construction is in progress, sometimes discovering discrepancies that can be more easily corrected prior to completion of construction than after!


4. Compliance with the Building Permit Process will assist in the effort to achieve compliance with the Building Code, and at least a minimum level of required safety for the building occupants and neighbors.


5. Compliance with the Building Code establishes a minimum level of safety that is mandated. It establishes a base line, and allows a conscious decision to exceed the minimum requirements within financial and practical feasibility.


6. Financial institutions often require minimum compliance with applicable Building Codes in order to provide necessary financing for purchase or for construction.


7. Insurance companies often exclude coverage from situations where there is a documented Code violation.


8. Evidence of code compliance based on the documented Building Permit process can provide protection for a property owner in the event of potential lawsuits.


9. Some municipalities have ordinances that assess double the normal Building Permit fees for a project that commences without proper Building Permit.


10. Violation of the requirement to obtain a Building Permit is a criminal offense, with possible fines and imprisonment!

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