Building & Planning FAQ

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Building Code Services FAQs
What are the current building codes used by the city?
  • 2015 International Building Code
  • 2015 International Residential Code
  • 2017 NFPA 70, National Electric Code
  • 2015 International Plumbing Code
  • 2015 International Mechanical Code
  • 2015 International Fuel Gas Code
  • 2015 International Existing Building Code 
  • 2015 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code
  • 2015 International Property Maintenance Code
  • 2009 International Energy Conservation Code and ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings
  • 2009 ICC/ANSI A117.1 Accessible & Usable Buildings
  • WV Code 87-4-5
What type of projects require a building permit?

Building Permits are required for new constructions, additions and alterations and projects ranging from building a new house and renovating a bathroom to installing a privacy fence.  The following is a list of common projects that require a permit: 

  • New Home Construction
  • Room Additions
  • New Decks
  • New Roof
  • Kitchen Renovation
  • Bathroom Renovation
  • Electrical Upgrades
  • Demolition
  • Garage / Car port Construction
  • Swimming Pools
  • Tool Sheds (if they contain electric or are 200 sq. ft. and larger)
  • Fences in the floodplain
  • Fences (over 7 ft.)
  • Retaining Walls (over 48”)
  • Siding
Who should apply for the building permit?

Preferably the contractor should apply for the permit as they typically have the application information and drawings necessary to submit, although the owner can act as the general contractor and list the contractor as a subcontractor.  If the owner applies, they will need to ensure the contractor is licensed and current with all applicable state and local taxes, such as B&O, and inform the Finance Office as to how the taxes on the job will be paid on this permit.

How do I know if my contractor is licensed in the city and state?

You may check the WV Division of Labor website:  and contact the City of Wheeling Finance Office at 304-234-3653

How long does it take to get a permit?

Most applications are reviewed and approved within 48 hours, however on larger projects it may take up to a week.  In some instances, such as roofing, siding and windows, the permit can be issued the same day.

What type of drawings do I need to submit?

A complete set of drawings is required for larger projects.  Smaller projects such as a bathroom remodel can be depicted on a single sheet that includes a neatly drawn and legible room layout with electrical and plumbing diagrams.  A complete material list should accompany the drawing.

Am I located in the flood zone?

Property along the Ohio River, Wheeling Creek and its larger tributaries are located in the flood zone.  Every ward in the city contains flood zones.  To check on your specific property enter your address in the search box at the following website:  

How much does a building permit cost?

The permit costs $4.00 per $1,000 cost of the job including materials and labor, rounded up to the nearest $1000.  For example, if your project cost is $5,600 then the permit would cost $24.00

In addition, a new electric service fee is $25 Residential / $50 Commercial

What type of Inspections are required and when should I schedule an inspection?


  • Building (per IBC 2015)
  • Footer (proper rebar installation prior to placement of concrete) 
  • Concrete or Masonry foundations 
  1. Anchor bolts (during placement)
  2. Reinforcement (prior to placement of concrete)
  • Concrete Encased Electrode (Ufer ground in Footing)
  • Framing and Ceiling grid (before drywall and ceiling tile placement)
  • Insulation (before covering)
  • If applicable: 
  1. Attic access
  2. Steps/ Handrails/ Guardrails
  3. Foundation/ Roof water drainage
  4. Fire Assemblies
  5. Handicap Accessibility (ANSI 117.1-2009)
  6. Crawl spaces (access & ventilation) 
  • Plumbing (per IPC 2015)
    (Visual & Pressure test of Supply & DWV; No Air test on PVC)
  1. Water lines
  2. Sanitary waste & vent
  3. Building sewer
  4. Final

  • Electrical (per NEC 2014)
  1. Underground (Including Concrete Encased Electrode “Ufer ground”)
  2. Rough-in
  3. Final
  • HVAC (per IMC 2015)
  1. Rough (Mechanical vents in bath are to be vented outside)
  2. Final
  • Other inspections as directed by Inspection Division
  • Final Inspection (prior to occupancy)
    • Rough-in and final inspections of the footer, framing, plumbing, electrical and overall final inspection are necessary.  We ask that you schedule your inspection at least 24 hours in advance by calling the Permit Specialist at (304) 234-3701  


(New Homes / Remodeling of 1 & 2 Family Dwellings and Townhouses)                                                                                                       

  • Building (per IRC 2015)
  • Footer (proper rebar installation prior to placement of concrete)
  • Concrete Encased Electrode (Ufer ground in Footing)
  • Concrete or Masonry foundations 
  1. Anchor bolts (during placement)
  2. Reinforcement (prior to placement of concrete)                                              
  • Framing (before drywall and before ceiling tile placement)
  • Insulation (before covering)
  • If applicable:
  1. Steps/ Handrails/ Guardrails
  2. Attic Access 5. Crawl Spaces (access & ventilation)
  3. Foundation/ Roof Drainage
  4. Fire Assemblies
  • Plumbing (per IPC 2015)
    (Visual & Pressure test of Supply and DWV; No Air test on PVC)
  1. Building sewer
  2. Sanitary waste & vent
  3. Final
  • Electrical (per NEC 2014)
  1. Underground (Including Concrete Encased Electrode “Ufer ground”)
  2. Rough-in
  3. Final
  • HVAC (per IMC 2015)
  1. Rough-in (Mechanical vents in bath are to be vented outside)
  2. Final
  • Other Inspections for which a permit was issued
  • Final Inspection (prior to occupancy)
Do I need a fence around my pool?

Any body of water deeper than 24” is required to have a 4’ tall barrier.  This includes landscape ponds, swimming pools, etc. The barrier can be a fence, the wall of the pool itself, a wall or hedgerow.

When is the dilapidated house in my neighborhood going to be demolished?

If the house is part of a city issued demolition contract made up of multiple properties across the city, then it is up to the scheduling of the demolition contractor as they move about the city.  If it is a private demolition being carried out by the owner, then there is a process that involves notifying the adjacent property owner.  You may contact the Permit Specialist or Code Enforcement Officer for an update by calling (304) 234-3601.

How do I register my vacant building in the Vacant Building Registration Program?

The Vacant Structure Code, adopted by City Council in 2009, was designed to determine and track the ownership of, as well as encourage responsibility for the maintenance of vacant buildings.  Under the program, owners of vacant structures are required to register them with the city.  Once registered, the owner has a year to renovate and occupy, tear down or sell the property before a fee is assessed.  The fees increase with each year the structure remains vacant.

Planning & Zoning FAQs
What is a Comprehensive Plan and where can I view it?

A Comprehensive Plan is a community’s long-range plan developed to provide guidance and identify the city’s policies and strategies related to the physical, economic, and social development of Wheeling on matters such as land use, housing, transportation, infrastructure, public services, recreation, economic development, community design, and historic preservation.  View the Envision Wheeling Plan 2014.

What is the purpose of zoning?

Zoning is the division of the city into districts wherein compatible uses of land may be found and established.  It was developed out of the need to provide adequate light, air and safety during the overcrowding development patterns being established in urban areas in the early 1900’s.

What is my property zoned?

Turn on the zoning layers on the GIS map.

Is the zoning ordinance online?

Yes.  The Codified Ordinances of the City is available online here:

How close to my neighbor can I build something?

That depends on the zoning district in which the property is located.  Each district has specific front, side and rear setbacks.  You may review the zoning map and ordinances or contact the Zoning Office at (304) 234-3702

What is a “variance” and how can I request one?

A variance is a request to modify a requirement of the zoning ordinance, such as increasing the permitted size of a garage or reducing the number of parking spaces required to be provided by a business.  The person seeking the variance must be able to justify the request and demonstrate a hardship through no fault of their own.  An example of a justification is to demonstrate that due to a unique shape of a lot, that setback may not be able to be achieved.

Do I need permission to build a shed?

Yes.  If the shed is larger than 100 square feet it will require the issuance of a zoning certificate.  If it is larger than 200 square feet or it will contain electric, a building permit is also required.

Are there any limitations on signage in the city?

Yes.  Part of the Zoning Ordinance includes a separate section dealing with signage.  This includes language on size, lighting and location.  You may find the map here and ordinance here, or contact the Zoning Office (304) 234-3702

Why did I receive a public meeting notice in the mail?

When a public hearing is scheduled with the Board of Zoning Appeals, Historic Landmarks Commission or the Planning Commission, the City notifies property owners within 200’ of the property of the request and invites them to attend the meeting or submit comments.  You may find a list and materials for upcoming public hearings here

Can I appeal the decision of the zoning officer?

Yes.  If you believe the Zoning Office or Planning Commission erred in its interpretation of the Zoning Code, you have 30 days to file an appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals.  Once received, the Board will review your appeal request and schedule a date and time for a hearing.  You may find an application to appeal here.

Other Building & Planning FAQs
Does the city offer any home buyer assistance?

Yes.  The City administers the first time homebuyer program.  Details can be found here.

Does the city have money to help me fix my home?

No.  Federal Regulations pertaining to the handling of lead based paint found in pre-1970 construction made it difficult for the City to justify the expenditures necessary to use Federal CDBG funds.

How do I start a new business?

Ensure that you are selecting a location properly zoned for the type of business you will be starting.  Then work with the Inspectors to ensure the building codes are met prior to opening the doors to the public.  You can view an overview of the licensing process here.

Can you help me find a location for my business?

Feel free to contact our Economic Development Specialist to try and match your business needs with available inventory or other resources.

What are the restrictions on bars and video lottery parlors?

Depending on the zoning district, you may need to be 1,000’ feet away from a church, school, park, residence in a residential zone or another bar/parlor.  There are no restrictions in the Downtown or Industrial zoning districts.  See Zoning Map here.

What is the population of the city?

At the time of the 2010 Census, the population was 28,486.

What areas are eligible for a façade grant and how do I apply?

Neighborhoods in the downtown and Centre Market areas depicted on this map are eligible for funding.  Information and an application may be obtained here.

What should I do if I believe I was discriminated against?

Contact the Human Rights Commission.

How can I request public documents?

You may submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Legal Department.

Where can I view upcoming meeting agendas and materials?

Follow this link to meeting materials.