City of Rock Valley's Building Codes & Permit FAQ's

Keep reading to learn about our Building Codes & Permit FAQ's


Check out the new Eagle Ridge Road Paving Project! You can learn more on the Master Builders of Iowa website:


Any owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, or demolish a building, structure, or fence shall first fill out an application to the City and obtain the required permit.


Additions, Decks, Fences, & Garages Building Permit (pdf)

New House Building Permit (pdf)

Multiple Family Building Permit (pdf)


  • When is a building permit needed?
    • You need a building permit when building a new house, or for an addition to a house or garage. A permit is needed for building an unattached garage, storage shed, fence, or deck. A building permit is needed when any structure/s are built or altered by way of square footage and/or elevation.
  • Do I need a building permit for windows, shingles, or siding?
    • If you are not altering square footage or elevation, you will not need a permit.
  • What is the right of way?
    • The city owns the right of way; however, the property owner is responsible for maintaining the right of way. You cannot plant a tree or build a fence on the right of way. If sprinklers are installed on the right of way, the city is not responsible for damage either by snow removal or utility repairs.
  • What are the regulations for an egress window?
    • Basements with a habitable space and every sleeping room need at least one emergency escape and rescue opening. Basements with more than one sleeping room are required to have an opening/rescue window in each sleeping room. An egress window is not required for adjoining rooms. The sill height (bottom) of each window shall be no more than 44 inches above the floor and have minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet.
  • Do I need a permit for a fence?
    • Yes. Fences cannot be higher than 6 feet. Fences shall not be closer than 6 inches to any property line. Fences less than 4 feet in height many be located on the front/rear/sides of property. Fences greater than 4 feet, but no more than 6 feet, may only be located on the sides and/or rear of property. Fences can be constructed of chain link, non-decomposing wood products, molded plastic, or wrought iron. Fences are not permitted in the right of way.
  • What are the requirements for lawn sprinklers?
    • All sprinkler systems must have a vacuum breaker. You may locate a sprinkler in the right of way, but the city is not responsible for damage either by snow removal or utility repairs. It is the homeowner's responsiblity to follow watering guidelines set forth by the City Council in drought conditions. Failure will result in fines.
  • What are the requirements for footings?
    • Footings shall be a minimum of 42 inches below the final grade for all slab construction. #4 or 1/2 inch rebar is the minimum to be used in all footings. Basement exterior walls shall be supported on continuous solid or fully grouted masonry, concrete footings, or other approved structural systems. Basement footings must be 8 inches thick and 16 inches wide with two #4 or 1/2 inch thick rebar continuously connected.
  • Do I need a permit for pouring concrete for a driveway or patio?
    • No, but if you are removing part of a curb or street gutter, see below.
  • Can I grind my curb instead of breaking up and replacing?
    • No. The curb must be cut, broken, and removed. All cuts must be made with a saw and may not be made less than 4 feet from an exisitng joint. Concrete must be broken up by pneumatic jack hammer or sledge hammer. Use of a hydraulic device to lift whole slabs is prohibited. This can cause craks and/or spalling to the street, which the homeowner will be responsible for damage and cost of replacement. Use of rebar in the new curb section is required. A minimum of two 1/2 inch rebar dowels in the traverse joints and replaced in 4 foot intervals on longitude joints with a 1/2 inch expansion joint filled with bitumen sealant. Inspection by the city is required before installation of concrete in the new curb/gutter. Cost of replacement for grinding or not following code will be at the homeowner's expense.


(712) 476-5707


City of Rock Valley

1507 Main Street

PO Box 100
Rock Valley, IA 51247