Building in Richland County

This is the third of a series of building articles to provide information that relates to the land use requirements and regulations. More information can be found at http://www.richland.orgor for assistance contact the Building Inspection Office at 115 2nd ST SE, Sidney, MT 59270 or call (406) 433-2809

When do I need a construction permit?

A construction permit is needed for all new construction. In many cases a permit is needed for repair or replacement of existing fixtures. A plumbing, electrical, or mechanical permit is needed for any addition or changes to a building’s existing system and new construction. If you are unsure whether or not your project needs a permit please call Alton Hillesland at (406) 433-2809 or the State of Montana Building Division at (406) 841-2056.

When don’t I need a permit?

A permit is not needed for items such as wallpapering, painting, or similar finish work. Plumbing, mechanical, and electric work replacing or repairing fixtures (such as changing water faucets) do not normally require a permit. A permit is also not required for certain agriculture structures. To find out whether or not your project requires a permit please contact Alton Hillesland at (406) 433-2809 or the State of Montana Building Division at (406) 841-2056.

What if I don’t get a permit?

If a permit, when needed, is not obtained before construction, you will have violated County codes and regulations. You then can be subject to fines and penalties. You’ll then be required to obtain permits for the work and it must pass inspection or you will have to return the structure or site to its previous condition. Remember construction codes were created for safety reasons. Work built without a permit can be unsafe, no matter how good it looks.

Where do I get a permit?

Building permits are issued by Building Inspector, Alton Hillesland, at 115 2nd Street SE. The Building Office is open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or you can find the permit application online at This application will still need to be taken to the Building Inspector for approval. For electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits please contact the State of Montana at or call (406) 841-2056.

What about inspections?

It is your responsibility to call for inspections at specific times during construction. You may have your contractor make the call, but it is still your responsibility, as the property owner, to make sure inspections are made. Inspections are made during certain points in the project, depending on the work that’s being performed. For example inspections on a new home would include: footings and foundation walls (prior to pouring concrete), Rough framing, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical (prior to installing insulation or drywall), and final inspection.

Remember the project is not complete for legal purposes until it has passed the final inspection.

What if I have a permit but never called for inspections?

Generally, permits expire after 180 days if no inspections have been made. In order for the project to be complete it must pass final inspection. If a permit expires before final inspection, the project is in violation of County codes. If this is the case please contact Building Inspector, Alton Hillesland, at (406) 433-2809 and he will help you reactivate the permit or apply for another.


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