The Fire Marshal’s Office conducts reviews of site plans, construction plans, and specifications to the 2018 International Code Council (ICC) Fire Code and the related codes and standards referenced therein. We also conduct inspections to verify compliance with the project design codes and standards.
** EFFECTIVE AUGUST 2, 2021**
All plan submittals, permitting, and inspection requests
must be done using our new online system.
Open Burning and other Operational Permits may also be
obtained using this same website (there is no charge for an Open Burning Permit
for the unincorporated areas of Hays County).
To register and access the new system, visit the submittal website.
NOTE: Fires used for cooking purposes, recreation, and warmth are not considered open burns and do not need a permit. These fires are generally limited to three (3) feet in diameter and maximum of two (2) feet high and should be contained in a fire pit, chimenea, or similar.
Bonfires ARE considered open burns and require a permit.
Hays County Fire Code and Amendments
Effective January 1, 2020, Hays County adopted the 2018 International Fire Code (IFC) and local amendments. The 2018 International Building Code is also adopted by reference under Chapter 1 of the 2018 IFC. Hays County also adopted local amendments to the fire code.
- The 2018 International Fire Code can be accessed by clicking here.
- The Hays County fire code adoption and local amendments can be accessed by clicking here.
Fire Marshal Fee Schedule
A fee schedule for Fire Marshal fees was implemented January 1, 2020 (and amended in March 2021): Fire Marshal Fees
When contacting us, please reference the project address, not the project name, on all plans, emails, and correspondence, etc. Our email is our best point of contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Construction FAQs
Who has to get a building permit?
The owner of the building is ultimately responsible for obtaining a building permit. However, any agent who has the owners’ authorization and is acting on behalf of the owner may apply for the building permit.
What law regulates the County authority to require building permits and what types of projects does the county fire code apply to?
The County receives its authority to require certain types of permits from the TEXAS LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE, TITLE 7, CHAPTER 233 – SUBCHAPTER C, 233.061- 233.067 233.061- 233.067
Under Local Government Code 233, the adopted county fire code applies to commercial establishments; public buildings; and multifamily residential dwellings. Please refer to each definition for what is included in those categories. The county fire code does not apply to the construction of single-family dwellings, duplexes, and triplexes, and does not apply to purely agricultural buildings where no workers are present and where the public does not enter.
When is a building permit required in the unincorporated areas of the county?
A building permit is required in the unincorporated areas of the county any time an individual, company, corporation, or group of individuals acting as an organization constructs, builds, or erects a new building to be used for commercial, public accessible, or multi-family residential purposes; OR a pre-built building is moved onto a piece of property; OR anytime an existing building undergoes a “substantial improvement”. Please refer to the definition of “substantial improvement.
What is a "substantial improvement"?
Hays County utilizes two definitions to determine what a substantial improvement is and these are found in the TEXAS LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE, TITLE 7, CHAPTER 233 – SUBCHAPTER C, 233.0615. Sec. 233.0615. These include the repair, restoration, reconstruction, improvement, or remodeling of a building for which the cost exceeds fifty percent (50%) of the building’s value, according to the certified tax appraisal roll for the year preceding the year in which the work has begun; or a change in occupancy classification involving a change in the purpose or level of activity in a building, including the renovation of a warehouse into a loft apartment; or any alteration of a structure that modifies any component of the means of egress (exits, exit accesses, or exit discharge) or required fire protection system(s).
What is a commercial establishment (building) and what is a public building?
The state law does not provide a definition of a commercial establishment (building). Therefore, the definition that is used by the Fire Marshal’s Office is defined in the Commissioner’s Court Order authorizing the Adoption and Enforcement of the Fire Code and includes places where goods and commodities or services are provided, displayed, exchanged, sold or bought.
The state law also does not provide a definition of a public building. Therefore, the definition that is used by the Fire Marshal’s Office is defined in the County Commissioners Court Order authorizing the Adoption and Enforcement of the Fire Code and includes places in which the possession and/or use, as well as the property in it, gives members of the public free access or use and includes buildings in which the public may enter for any purpose, including where an entry fee is charged; or otherwise classified as an occupiable space. This would include HOA amenity centers and common use facilities.
Included in these types of places are, but not limited to, auditoriums, classrooms, churches, libraries, restaurants, theatres, schools, daycare facilities, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, hospitals, correctional facilities, hotels and motels, dormitories, department stores, shopping centers and tenant spaces, doctors offices, general offices, laundries, warehouses, and temporary structures including tents and membrane structures. Industrial facilities having a fire brigade that conforms to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are not regulated under the county adopted fire code.
What is a multi-family residential building?
A multi-family residential building is defined in TEXAS LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE, TITLE 7, CHAPTER 233 – SUBCHAPTER C, 233.062(a)(3).
A “Multi-Family Dwelling” means any residential structure consisting of four (4) or more residential dwelling units. A dwelling unit is any single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation. 233.062(a)(3)
What do I have to do to get a building permit?
Before applying for a site and foundation or building permit, a permit from Hays County Development Services must also be obtained. The Hays County Fire Marshal’s Office will deny any permit application that does not contain the Hays County Development Permit Number. In order to obtain a site and foundation and/or a building permit, you must submit to the Hays County Fire Marshal’s Office a pdf plan set that is to scale and sized at 24×36 (all other sizes will be denied); the plan set must include a set of architectural plans. Architectural plans must, at minimum, include a floor plan showing all rooms, the intended room use, doors, and room size; building elevations for all four sides; electrical layout; and heating, ventilation, and air/conditioning layout (HVAC). A fire protection site plan must also be included in the plan set. The fire protection site plan must include a layout of all proposed and required fire apparatus access roadways (fire lanes), fire hydrant locations (new and existing) or location of a fire protection water requirement meeting the requirements of Hays County IB 001: Fire Flow/Water Supply (link: https://hayscountytx.com//www/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/IB-001-Fire-Flow-and-Water-Supply.pdf), and measurements showing the building(s) and distances to the property lines and distances to other structures on the same property.
Fire lanes/access roadways and fire hydrants must meet Hays County requirements that can be found here: https://hayscountytx.com/law-enforcement/fire-marshal/fire-prevention-safety-checklists-permits/
Do I need to engage/hire a Texas-licensed Architect for my project?
State law determines whether an architect is required, however, the plan review of your project may take longer if you do not engage an architect. This is due to the fact that we require many things to be included in a set of plans and architects are trained in this requirement. Not using an architect may cause your plans to be denied until the necessary items are included. Please visit this website to determine if state law requires you to engage an architect on your project: https://www.tbae.texas.gov/Home/WhenToEngageAnArchitect or for a downloadable pdf flowchart click here.
Do I need to engage/hire a Texas-licensed Engineer for my project?
State law determines whether an engineer is required, however, the plan review of your project may take longer if you do not engage an engineer. This is due to the fact that we require many things to be included in a set of plans and engineers/architects are trained in this requirement. Not using an engineer may cause your plans to be denied until the necessary items are included. Please visit this website to determine if state law requires you to engage an engineer on your project: https://pels.texas.gov/eng_req.htm or for a downloadable pdf flowchart click here.
Do I need to submit my project plans to the State for an accessibility plan review?
Generally speaking, all projects that have an estimated project cost of $50,000 or more US Dollars are required to be submitted to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for compliance with the Elimination of Architectural Barriers Act, a state law that ensures projects comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Hays County cannot issue building permits unless a project complies with this law. We verify that a TABS project number has been assigned to the project prior to plan review and issuance of building permits. If your project is under $50,000, you are still required to comply with the law, you just do not have to submit your plans. To submit your plans for issuance of your TABS project number, please visit: https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/TABS. For more information, please visit: https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/ab/abfaq.htm#g5.
Why does the County conduct Fire Inspections?
There are two general reasons why fire/safety inspections are conducted. (1) To ensure that any building in which the general public enters for business, entertainment, social, religious, or other purposes is maintained and complies with the County’s adopted fire code. (2) Our inspections provide the owner/occupant of the building an indication of fire and life safety hazards so they may correct the hazards to reduce their liability and potential for loss due to a fire or injury/death.