How Big Can a Shed Be Without a Permit in NJ?

How Big Can a Shed Be Without a Permit in NJ?


Building a shed on your property is an excellent way to add storage space or create a dedicated area for hobbies and projects, and many times, as property owners, we make a split decision to go out and buy a shed or decide to build a shed ourselves.

However, before diving into your shed project, it’s crucial to visit the building department or call an expediter to understand the permit regulations in your area to avoid potential fines or issues with local authorities.

If you’re a homeowner or DIY enthusiast in New Jersey, this guide will help you to navigate the state’s specific guidelines for shed construction, ensuring your project goes off without a hitch.

Overview of NJ Permit Regulations

Like many municipalities, New Jersey has specific regulations regarding the size and placement of sheds for their town or municipality to ensure safety and community standards. These regulations vary by municipality, but the state offers some general guidelines, and to prevent a complaint from being filed by your neighbors or having to remove the shed due to non-compliance issues, it’s best to research the code and zoning in advance.

Understanding these rules will help you determine whether you need a permit for your shed and how to comply with local zoning laws.

Why Permits Matter

Permits are important because they ensure that structures are built safely by licensed trade professionals and approved by the building department of the local municipality you reside in, and they tell neighbors and the building enforcement officers patrolling the neighborhood that the property owner is adhering to local building codes.

Additionally, permits help maintain neighborhoods’ aesthetic and functional harmony and protect property values, which keeps neighbors happy. Ultimately, property owners failing to obtain the necessary permits can result in fines, penalties, angry neighbors, and even be forced to dismantle your shed.

Shed Sizes Allowed Without a Permit

In New Jersey, the need for a permit depends largely on the size of the shed you plan to build. Here are the general guidelines:

Maximum Dimensions

  • Height: The total height of the shed from the ground to the roof peak should not exceed 12 feet.
  • Width and Length: The combined square footage of the shed should not exceed 200 square feet.

These dimensions can vary slightly depending on the municipality, so it’s essential to check with your local building department for specific regulations in your area.

Additional Considerations

  • Setback Requirements: Even if your shed meets the size criteria, it must be placed a certain distance from property lines, other structures, and public utilities. Typically, sheds must be at least 5 feet from property lines, however, to be sure of the requirement, contact the building department, expediter, or architect.
  • Flood Zones: If you live in a designated flood zone, additional regulations may apply, regardless of the shed’s size, and it’s better to be safe than sorry later.

The Process of Obtaining a Permit

If you’ve already purchased or built your shed and as a result of research it exceeds the dimensions allowed without a permit, you’ll need to go through the permit application process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand what to expect:

Step 1: Research Local Regulations

Contact your local building department, expediter or architect to understand the specific requirements for shed construction in your area. They can provide the necessary forms and detailed instructions.

Step 2: Prepare Your Application

You’ll need to submit detailed plans of your shed, including dimensions, materials, and placement on your property. Some municipalities may require professional drawings or blueprints. An expediter can assist you with the documentation preparation and coordination of all the moving parts required prior to submitting your application.

Step 3: Submit Your Application

Submit your completed application along with any required fees. Permit fees can vary, so it’s best to check with your local building department to determine how much to budget.

Step 4: Wait for Approval

The approval process can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on your project’s complexity and the building department’s workload.

Step 5: Schedule Inspections

Once your permit is approved, you’ll need to schedule inspections at various stages of construction to ensure compliance with building codes.

Tips for Building a Shed Within Regulations

If you’d prefer to avoid the permit process altogether, here are some practical tips for building a shed that complies with NJ regulations:

Plan Ahead

Before purchasing materials or breaking ground, carefully plan with the help of an expediter or architect or by visiting the building department to determine your shed’s size and location to ensure it falls within the allowable dimensions and setback requirements.

Use Quality Materials

Using durable, weather-resistant materials will help ensure your shed stands the test of time and meets any potential inspection criteria, however, remember to check with the building department to determine if the products you’re planning to utilize will be permitted.

Follow Instructions

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely if you’re using a shed kit. Proper assembly is crucial for both safety and compliance.

Consult Professionals

If you’re unsure about any aspect of your shed project, consider consulting a professional contractor, builder, expediter or architect who is familiar with local building codes and regulations.

Real-Life Examples and Case Studies

Hearing from other homeowners who have navigated the NJ permit process can provide valuable insights and inspiration for your own shed project. Here are a couple of stories that highlight the importance of understanding and complying with local regulations:

Example 1: The Smith Family’s Garden Shed

The Smith family wanted to build a garden shed to store their tools and supplies. They carefully researched their local regulations and built a 10×12-foot shed, ensuring it met the height and setback requirements. By planning ahead and staying informed, they avoided the need for a permit and completed their project smoothly.

Example 2: The Johnsons’ Workshop

The Johnsons needed a larger shed to serve as a workshop for their woodworking hobby. Their planned 250-square-foot shed exceeded the no-permit size limit, so they went through the permit application process. They worked with a local contractor to prepare their application and ensure compliance. Although the process took a bit longer, their shed was approved, and they now enjoy a fully functional workshop.


Understanding permit regulations is a crucial step in any shed project. In New Jersey, sheds up to 200 square feet and 12 feet in height can generally be built without a permit, but it’s essential to verify specific requirements with your local building department. Whether you choose to build within these dimensions or pursue a larger project with a permit, proper planning and adherence to regulations will help ensure a successful and enjoyable addition to your property.

Call to Action

Have you recently built a shed or are you planning to start a shed project? All Boro Expediter would love to hear about your experiences and any tips you might have.

Share your stories or ask questions in the comments below!


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