Building / Trades Sections

Mission: Ensuring that all residential and commercial structures are properly and safely planned, built, and maintained within Sedgwick County using national best practices while providing fair and equitable rules for the local building industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Building Section:

Do I need a permit to build or remodel my residence or other structure?

Yes. Building permits and inspections are required in the unincorporated areas and in most cities in Sedgwick County. Call 660-1840 for information and assistance.


When you act as the general contractor of a project and personally obtain the building permit to work on your residence, you may not be aware of the many responsibilities. You may still have the same responsibilities and liabilities as a licensed contractor if you purchase a building permit in your name and have a general contractor complete the work. Some of the responsibilities and liabilities that you may incur are as follows:

Do I need a permit to install a manufactured home in Sedgwick County?

Yes. A permit and inspection are required. Call 660-1840 for assistance.

I am going to put a bedroom in the basement. Do I need an escape window?

Yes, the code requires an egress out of every bedroom for your safety.
All emergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 4.5 square feet with the window in an open position.

The minimum net clear opening height shall be 19¾ inches for single, double hung and awning style windows. For all other types of windows the minimum height shall be determined by multiplying the width times the height to achieve a total net clear opening of 4.5 square feet.

The minimum net clear opening width shall be 17 inches in the open position for casements and slider windows, or 30¼ inches for single and double hung units.

Can I put a window in the wall separating the house and the attached garage? How about a door with a window?

A 20-minute occupancy separation must be maintained. This can be accomplished by covering both sides of the wall (the garage side & the living side) with a minimum layer of 1/2“ sheetrock covering the wall studs.

Do my stairs have to be even?

Yes. The code requires not more that 3/8” total difference in variation from the top to bottom of stairway. The maximum rise of each tread is 8”. The minimum tread width of each step is 9”.

When do I need handrails on my steps?

Handrails are needed when you have 4 or more risers (steps). Guardrails are needed when you are more than 30” off the ground.

How much headroom clearance does the building code require for staircases?

Staircases required 6’ 6” headroom.

Do I need a permit to install a culvert?

Yes. Call 660-1840 for a culvert permit.

Can I build a permanent structure in the utility easement?

No, you may not.

As the owner, can I be a general contractor of my own residence?

Yes, once every three years.

One-story detached accessory structures, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet (18.58 m2), has no utilities and a location permit is obtained from the MABCD prior to installation in the city limits of Wichita, Kansas; and 400 square feet and has no utilities in unincorporated Sedgwick County.

Exception: Non-fixed and movable storage cabinets equipped with doors that conceal the contents within and having a footprint not exceeding 25 square feet (2.32 m2), shall not require the issuance of a location permit.

All detached accessory structures greater than 25 (2.32 m2) but equal to or less than 400 (37.16 m2) square feet shall be tied down to the earth using anchoring methods described in "Non Vehicular Storage Structure Anchoring Standards" of the City of Wichita; or be attached to a permanent concrete foundation per R403.1.6.

When building a new residence, how many feet can the residence be from the edge of the road before a fire road approval is required?

Call the Sedgwick County Fire Department at 660-3473 for current information.

How do I obtain a road approval?

What should I do to make sure a contractor is licensed in Sedgwick County?

Contact the MABCD at 660-1840 and ask if contractor is licensed before signing any contract or hiring the contractor.

Electrical Section:

Can I move my electric meter so I can build my room addition?

No. Only MABCD licensed electrical contractors can move, alter, enlarge or change the electric service. An electrical permit is also required.

Can I wire my new home?

Yes, upon satisfactory completion of the MABCD electrical homeowner’s test and plan review. Call 660-1840 for assistance.

Can I install electrical wiring in my new garage or when finishing my basement?

Yes, if you are the owner and occupant and upon completion of MABCD electrical homeowners test and plan review.

How deep does PVC conduit have to be buried at my residence?

A minimum of 18” of dirt needs to be over the pipe.

Mechanical Section:

Do I need a permit to replace my furnace or water heater?

Yes, a permit is required, and an inspection is performed to ensure the safety of the installation. If installing a furnace or water heater yourself, call 660-1840 for advice, assistance and a permit. If you are paying someone else to install it, call 660-1840 to make sure they are licensed to perform such work in Sedgwick County. After it is installed, make sure your contractor schedules an inspection with our office.

Plumbing Section:

How far can an LP tank be from my house, property line, or any building?

Can I install my own fuel gas piping?

No. Only plumbers and LP installers licensed in Sedgwick County may install gas piping.

Can I do my own plumbing?

Yes, you must first pass the plumbing homeowners test available by calling 660-1840.

What kind of material can be used for waste lines and vents?

How deep does PVC conduit have to be buried at my residence?

A minimum of 18” of dirt needs to be over the pipe.

Can I have a septic system or a lagoon for my sewer system?

Call 660-1840 to inquire about wastewater systems.

Do you have questions that are not answered in this section?

Please call us at 660-1840 between 8:00 a.m.  and 5:00 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.