· What types of work do I need a permit for? Actually, a lot of fairly common repairs require a building permit. Roofing, water heaters, even finishing a room in your basement are some fairly common things that require a permit. Cosmetic items like paint, tile, flooring, or landscaping do not require any permitting. For more information click here.
· How do I get started? It all starts with a set of plans and the application. The city and possibly other agencies will need to review your plans for compliance before you get started. The Idea is that we have a good idea of what you are doing and we can hopefully identify any problems before you commit to building or buying anything. For a more detailed explanation of the review process.
· OK, well who can make the plans? The building department always recommends you use a professional to design and prepare plans. However, for the most part anyone that demonstrates competency can prepare plans for most residential projects up to 3,000/sf any projects over 3,000/sf an architect is required. The building department is unable to do any of the plan or design work for you. However, we will try to point you in the right direction. Whomever you chose must have knowledge of building codes and prepare neat, scaled, and comprehensive plans. That being said some designs, sizes or types of buildings will require a design professional.
· What needs to be on the plans? Try to keep in mind you are explaining your project start to finish, using only the plans. Plans should include structural details, floor plans, plumbing fixtures, electrical devices, furnaces…..try to show the full scope of the project. Some good examples can be found on our standard details.
· What codes and standards does the building department use? Every three years the powers that be decide if they will adopt the latest version of the building codes. Currently we are using the 2012 I-codes with 2009 A.N.S.I. 117.1 as the accessibility standard, and the 2011 National Electrical Code. (I.B.C., I.R.C., I.M.C., I.F.G.C., I.P.C., I.E.C.C., and the 2011 N.E.C. )
· How long will it take? We want to get your plans back to you as soon as possible. To keep permitting costs as low as possible, we use a smaller but harder working staff. We process the permits in the order we received them. Our goal is to get your plans back to you in 10 business days or less.
· Is there an expedited review process? Sadly we don’t have the ability to move anything forward in the cue, no matter the size. The building department will work hard to get your plans ready as fast as possible.
· So when can I start building? After your plans are approved and your permit is paid for you are ok to go to work. Mostly we want to make sure we’re all on the same page before you buy or build anything.
· COST…. WHAT WILL IT COST ME? Some permits will be based on square footage, others on valuation. Still other permit types are charged a flat fee. Most fees can be determined during the plan review process.
· Yeah, that stuffs great. I just need an electrical/mechanical/plumbing /etc. permit. Ahhh, some of those are available “over the counter” others may still require some level of review. Gas schematics, one line diagrams, or commercial “sub-permits” will require a review. Roofing, furnaces, hot water heaters can usually be issued at the counter without review. Check out the forms and details page for more information.
· I have the permit now what? At certain times during the construction process an inspection will be required. A good “rule of thumb”, before it gets concealed, covered, buried, etc….call for an inspection. A list of required inspections can be found here.
· How do I schedule an inspection and when are the inspections done? We ask for at least 24 hours’ notice to schedule an inspection, and most times you can get an inspection the next day. Inspections are done 9am-4pm, Monday-Friday, holidays excluded. For footing, foundation, and bond beam inspections we provide timed inspections. For all others we will do our best to honor an AM or PM request. We can usually give you a time frame of about an hour when you can expect the inspector to arrive.
· What do I need on the site for inspections? The permit, prior inspection reports, plans all need to be on site for inspections. Without those the inspector cannot perform the inspection. Also the inspector cannot go into occupied houses or a home with minors without someone else present.
· Does the permit expire? Yes, it can. But for the most part, we’re happy to give you all the time you need. If you need an extension let us know what is happening and we’ll generally be able to give you more time. The last thing we want you to worry about is time
· So what happens when I finish with all the inspections? Most permits will be finalized and closed upon passing the final inspection. Some permits a Certificate of Occupancy will be generated and given to the contractor who signed for the permit.
· Will any other agencies need to approve my building? Depending on the nature of your project other agencies or departments may be required to give approval. Good examples are the sewer/water district, fire department or utility companies. The Health Department and the Department of Air Quality will need to notified for demolition permits. The building department will give you a list of other agencies that will need to “sign off” when your permit is issued.