Building Permits

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BUILDING PERMITS - WHY AND HOW 

WHY DO I NEED A BUILDING PERMIT?
A building permit grants legal permission to start construction of a building project. A building permit provides the means for Building Officials to reduce the potential hazards of unsafe construction and therefore ensuring the public health, safety and welfare. Apply for a permit prior to the start of any construction or remodeling work. Building permit application and plan check provide the means for Building Officials to inspect construction to ensure that minimum standards are met and appropriate materials are used.

WHICH CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS NEED BUILDING PERMITS?
Some examples of required building permits are:

  • New Buildings
  • Additions
  • Renovations
  • Demolitions
  • Electrical, Plumbing and Mechanical systems
  • Water heaters, re-roofs, signs, and masonry fences over 72 inches high (Retaining walls more than three feet).
  • Tenant improvements in existing buildings

WHO IS ALLOWED TO PULL A BUILDING PERMIT?
Only the owner, owner's licensed contractor or owner's authorized agent.

THE PERMIT PROCESS

  • VISIT THE BUILDING AND SAFETY DIVISION: You may also need input from other departments and agencies, including the Planning Department.
  • SUBMIT THE APPLICATION: You will need to know - who will do the work, scope of the work, location of work, and how the work will be done. Sketches, drawings, plans or other documentation of the proposed work will generally have to be submitted for review depending on the size and scope of the project.
  • WAIT DURING THE REVIEW PROCESS: The majority of permit applications are processed with little delay. The Building and Safety Division will determine if your project is in compliance with the construction codes and other municipal ordinances. Your plans will be reviewed (plan check) and usually returned to you within two weeks of the date they are first submitted and one week for each recheck after that. Some minor plans may be reviewed over-the-counter, depending on the scope and size of the project.
  • RECEIVE RESULTS OF THE REVIEW PROCESS: If compliance with the code is determined, the plans are stamped approved and upon payment of fees and receipt of other agency clearances, a permit is issued. If compliance is not determined, you will be given a list of corrections. After making the corrections resubmit the plans for a second review. Most plans are approved after the second review.
  • RECEIVE YOUR PERMIT: The building permit is the document granting legal permission to start construction. Keep a copy of the approved set of plans and job card at the site for the inspector to use during inspections. Changes should be brought to the Building and Safety Divisions attention immediately. Changes will generally require a review and approval in the same manner as the original application.
  • ARRANGE INSPECTIONS: Each major phase of construction must be inspected to make sure work conforms to the Code and approved plans. The person responsible for the construction project should request the inspections. 24 hour advance notice is required. If an inspector finds that some work does not conform to the Code, the inspector will advise (and provide a written notice) that the situation is to be remedied. If the violation is serious and presents a safety hazard, a stop work order may be posted until the problem is resolved. Another inspection may be necessary before work is allowed to resume.
  • FINAL INSPECTION: If there are no items to be resolved after work has been complete, the inspector will sign off the permit. The permit, along with other construction documents will be placed in the permanent address file for your property. After all other agency inspections and clearances are completed, the utilities to your building are released and a Certificate of Occupancy is issued, if applicable.