The official website of the City of Portsmouth Ohio
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Building Guidelines


The City of Portsmouth is proud you have chosen to build here and invest in our community. The Engineering Department will assist you throughout your project from zoning all the way up to project completion and occupancy.

The Ohio Building Codes and the Residential Code of Ohio are the building codes enforced in the city which can be found at the bottom of the page. Also at the bottom of the page you can find all of our permit applications and additional information about what work requires permits.

Contractor Registration

In order to perform any building or general construction within the city limits, a contractor (including sub-contractors) must have a current registration with the engineering department. A building permit will NOT be issued if the chosen contractor does not have a current registration. Contractors can view the necessary documentation and apply for registration in the link below.

Portsmouth Contractor Registration Application

Return the completed application, required documents, and the registration fees to the engineering department.

Building in a Historic District

The City of Portsmouth has established Historic Preservation Districts within the city to protect the historic nature of the buildings in those districts. A Design and Review Board consisting of five citizens appointed by the City Council is committed to maintaining the historic image and feel of the Boneyfiddle Area of Portsmouth. This board meets once a month to review applications for new construction, exterior alterations or demolitions within the historic districts. Local ordinances and the application process can be view in Chapter 1317.

Prior to any building permit approval, you must have a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Design and Review Board. District boundaries and building guidelines can be viewed below.

Boneyfiddle Historic District

Design Guidelines for the City of Portsmouth Historic Districts and Listed Properties.

City Planning Commission

The City Planning Commission is responsible for overseeing the following topics related to the interest of the public:

  • The location, extension, widening, and planning of streets, boulevards, parks, playgrounds, and other public places.
  • Changes in, or vacation of, streets, alleys, or other public places, and the sale or disposal of any real estate owned by the City.
  • The construction of public buildings, bridges, viaducts, street fixtures, and other structures and appurtenances having to do with the convenience and beauty of the City.
  • The design and location of works of art which are or may become the property of the City, or which may be set up in any public place of the City;.
  • The laying out and platting of new subdivisions.
  • The districting and zoning of the City as to the uses to which property may be put, and regulating the height, area, and use of buildings.
  • The improvement of the water front.
  • The future physical development of the City.
  • Such State and municipal legislation as may be necessary to carry out such plans.

If your project requires any action listed above by the Planning Commission, please fill out an application found in the link below and return it to the engineering department with the application fee.

Portsmouth Planning Commission Application

Email Applications to

Additional Information and Resources

Building Codes
Permits & Applications

Additional Information

For more information, please contact the Engineering Department at:
Municipal Building
728 Second St.
Room 25
Portsmouth, OH 45662
Ph: (740) 354-7557
Fx: (740) 354-5383

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