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FAQ – Building Inspections

1. WATER HEATERS IN THE GARAGE: If I have an existing electric or gas water heater in or accessible from the garage, must I raise it 18 inches above the floor level when it is replaced?

YES… At one time Arlington allowed electric water heaters to be installed on the floor of a garage, however codes have been changed to prevent accidents. The water heater thermostat energizes the heating element when the water temperature within the tank falls below a certain selected level. At the instant the thermostat activates, a spark results. This spark is a source of ignition for flammable or combustible vapors, (i.e., gasoline) that may have accumulated along the garage floor. The 18-inch elevation is intended to keep ignition sources above these vapors that are heavier than air and settle to the garage floor.

2. FENCES ACROSS THE PROPERTY LINE: Can the City of Arlington help me when I suspect my neighbor has installed a fence over on my property?

YES & NO… Fences erected in Arlington are required to be permitted through Building Inspections. At the time a request for permit is submitted a site plan must also be submitted showing the proposed location of the fence. As long as the fence does not conflict with any city ordinances the permit application is approved. If the fence gets installed on a neighbor’s property the location becomes a civil issue between the two neighbors. Neighbors can often resolve the issue by establishing where the property lines are. If the situation can not be resolved it may be necessary to have the property line documented by a surveyor and take the appropriate actions in small claims court.

3. CONSTRUCTION HOURS: The contractor(s) working in our neighborhood are working at all hours of the day and night. Can the City of Arlington help control the noise problem these workers create?


Noise created by outdoor construction activities supervised by building permits is prohibited, if located within 300 feet of property used for residential purposes, during the following times:

During the hours of 6 PM to 7 AM Central Standard Time,
During the hours of 8 PM to 7 AM Central Daylight Savings Time
There is an exception for homeowners performing work when acting as their own contractor. The Building Official may grant exceptions for special conditions. When an exception has been granted, affected homeowners will be notified. For assistance with noise being created during the hours of prohibition, contact the Police Department at 817-274-4444.

4. Why does the City of Arlington require building permits?

The City of Arlington and all other cities across the country use the building permit process to verify that construction or development will comply with building codes and zoning ordinances. The building codes and zoning ordinances are adopted by the city council and become the law of the city. The development projects are also inspected to insure that compliance.

5. What is the difference between a building code and zoning?

Building codes regulate the trades of building, plumbing, electrical and mechanical work specifically. Zoning is a local control tool that regulates open space, building setbacks and heights and how the land can be used.

6. What are some of the more common permits that homeowners should be concerned with?

Typically projects like fences, portable buildings, water heater replacement, garage conversions and carports are the most common projects that will affect homeowners. Permits and inspections are required for these types of projects.

7. Is there anything that does not require a permit?

YES… Any type of minor repair work such as painting, wall papering, tiling, counter tops, cabinets, sidewalks not in city ROW, decorative fences less than 24 inches tall, retaining walls not over 4 feet tall – any type of maintenance work that does not involve relocating or replacing walls, doors and windows.

8. How does one get a permit?

One must submit plans describing the work with an application. Applications are available at city hall at 101 W. Abram Street on the second floor. Applications are also available on line and can be downloaded. Staff is available for help when applying.

9. What if the contractor does not get a permit?

When a contractor is discovered working without a permit, a building inspector will issue a stop work order. In these cases, some work may have to be uncovered for inspection and redone. The property owner is ultimately responsible for the work performed on his property.

10. Can I do the work myself or must I hire a contractor?

Homeowners may do all the work themselves if they so wish. A homeowner will be required to sign a homeowner’s affidavit and must still comply with the City of Arlington’s codes. Homeowner’s should carefully consider the complexity of a project when considering whether or not to hire a contractor.

11. What about contractors?

The City of Arlington requires that a contractor be registered as a business in order to obtain permits. The registration does not necessarily mean that a contractor is a reputable businessperson. Homeowner’s should always check references before hiring a contractor. Homeowner’s should always require their contractors to obtain the proper permits and inspections. Homeowners may choose to pay a contractor based upon approval of city inspections.

12. What about inspections, when are they required?

Basically, inspections are required before any part of the construction may be covered up and at the completion of the project. Work such as plumbing, electrical, mechanical work and framing and insulation must be inspected before concealing

13. You mentioned inspecting insulation. Is that a new requirement?

YES… Last year the governor signed a bill that requires all cities in the State of Texas to adopt the energy code.

14. What is the energy code and how will it affect the homeowner?

The energy code applies to all new construction and remodel work. The energy code tells us how to seal up buildings to prevent air leakage and how much insulation to use. It also sets new minimum requirements for doors and windows, air conditioning ducts and equipment and water heaters.

15. Will energy costs make the cost of construction increase?

In some cases it may. Some builders and remodeling contractors have always done most of the items that the energy code requires. For some builders the added cost may only be the cost of more efficient windows.

16. Will the energy code save money?

YES… Houses and buildings built in accordance with the new energy code requirements will cost the homeowner less to heat and cool than buildings built prior to the adoption of the energy code.

17. How can I find out more about the energy code?

Citizens and homeowners can log on to the Building Inspection web page and follow the links for energy information. The Building Inspection web page also contains links to other web sites for additional information. Citizens are welcome to visit the department staff and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.