General Information About Permits

If you're thinking about new construction, remodeling, or making improvements like sheds, decks, or swimming pools, you'll need a permit. We're here to help streamline the process.

We aim to process permit applications as quickly as possible, but a few factors can influence how long it takes. The key is to provide accurate and complete information, which helps speed up the review. Keep in mind that our workload can vary with the seasons.

To make the process run smoothly, please submit all plans electronically when applying for a permit. Ensure that they comply with the New Hampshire State Building Code and include any approvals from local land use boards. If needed, the Bow Building Department might ask for a plan review by a licensed New Hampshire engineer or an approved third-party agency.

We appreciate your cooperation in making our town a great place to build and improve! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

Most construction activity requires a permit. This includes:

  • Decks
  • Dormers
  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • LP and Natural gas fitting
  • Most renovation projects
  • Plumbing
  • Porches
  • Sheds (over 200 square feet)
  • Swimming pools (above-ground and in-ground)
  • Roof Installation
Required Items 

Please submit the following to apply for a building permit.
  • Address of property and owner's name.
  • The phone number, and daytime contact information of the applicant.
  • Site or plot plan with setbacks from property lines, well and septic system and street Right of Ways.
  • Minimum setbacks for Residential and Rural Zones are: Front 35 ft; Side and Rear 20 ft; Wetlands Have Minimum Required Setbacks Per Zoning Ordinance Article 10.01D
      Business Development, Industrial Zones, Commercial Zones differ.
  • For other types of permits (electrical, plumbing, mechanical, (HVAC) and gas fitting) not all items may be applicable. Commercial buildings and other special circumstances (example: changes of occupancy), additional information will be required. The staff will gladly assist you if you have any questions.
  • 2 sets of construction plans. 1 set 11x17 and 1 full set of plans to scale. Unfinished areas to be finished, such as attic, over garage, basement, indicate area(s) on the plan
  • Finished basements have special requirements (refer to basement handout)
  • Interior Renovations: Provide a sketch of the existing layout with all rooms identified and provide a sketch of the new renovations indicating all proms. "Indicate all load bearing walls to be removed or added."
  • Estimated cost of construction (excluding land, well and septic system)
  • Energy Code Compliance.
For New Homes the Following Items Are Also Required Prior to Occupancy. Please Note it is the Applicant's Responsibility to Ensure They Are Completed.

  • Septic design is to be approved by Town of Bow and also the State of NH (DES) -Sub Surface Bureau phone number 603-271-3501.
  • Name of well drilling company, well depth and test results. (See handout for required tests)
  • Oil burners permitted by Fire Department. Phone 603-223-3960.
  • Driveway Permit approved and submitted by Road Agent, or if on a State road, by State Dot
  • Sewer Connection Fee (if applicable), to be paid when obtaining the building permit. For information contact 603-223-3915.
  • Water Connection Fee (to be determined after submitting the application). For information contact the building department  at 603-223-3970.
  • Street Number (reflective) 3 inches high on both sides of mailbox or post. (See handout).

Adopted Codes

2018 International Residential Code*, 2018 International Building Code*, 2018 International Plumbing Code*, 2018 International Mechanical Code*, 2018 International Energy Conservation Code*, NFPA 70 National Electrical Code 2020.
(with NH amendments)

Time Limit Exceptions

Special Exceptions, Variances, & Conditional Use Permits

With the exception of approvals for excavation (which are granted for a duration of three (3) years pursuant to Article 7, Section 7.15 Excavation of Earth Materials) Conditional Use Permits issued by the Planning Board or Special Exceptions and Variances issued by the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall automatically expire two (2) years after the date of approval if at that time:

  • The Conditions of approval have not been met; or
  • Any related state of local permit or approval is outstanding; or
  • The action authorized by the land use board(s) has not commenced

 Commercial, Industrial & Multi-Family Structures

(All Projects Other than One and Two Family Dwellings)

Projects Requiring Permits