Whether we’re starting a major renovation or just putting up a new shed, most construction projects require a building permit. Permits ensure structures meet zoning and safety codes, but obtaining one can feel daunting. Let’s explore the step-by-step process for successfully securing a permit so that your next project goes smoothly.
Selecting The Right Permit Type
First, we’ll need to determine what type of permit our project requires. Common options include:
- Building permit – for new structures and major additions/alterations. This covers overall construction.
- Electrical permit – for any electrical system installations and upgrades.
- Mechanical permit – for HVAC systems, boilers, and other mechanical equipment.
- Plumbing permit – for any plumbing system modifications.
- Demolition permit – for tearing down existing structures.
The building department website or a call to their office can clarify exactly which permits we’ll need based on the scope of our plans.
Submitting A Complete Permit Application
With the right permit types identified, it’s time to complete the permit application forms. This provides key details and allows the approval process to begin.
Be sure to fill out all sections accurately and legibly. We’ll need to include general information like the property address, owner name, and contractor. We’ll also attach detailed project plans and documentation, like floor layouts, material specifications, and equipment models.
Many cities now offer online permitting software or apps that simplify submitting applications and documents digitally. This is easier than printing copies and applying in person.
Gaining Project Approval
Now the waiting begins. The building department will review your application and plans to ensure they meet all codes and zoning regulations for the area. This process can take weeks or even months for large projects.
You may need to clarify details, make revisions, or provide additional documentation along the way. It’s crucial we respond promptly to any requests from the department to keep things moving. If all looks good, you’ll finally receive official notice that your permit has been approved!
Paying Permit Fees
With the permit approved, it’s almost time to break ground. But first, you must cover all applicable permitting fees. Costs vary significantly based on factors like:
- The project type and size
- Whether it’s residential or commercial
- The complexity of plans
- The number of permit types required
- Your municipality’s fee structure
Fees often include a base permitting charge, plus additional fees for plan reviews, inspections, and other costs. Be sure to budget appropriately at this step. Many departments accept payments online through the permitting software portal.
Now your project can kick off! But you’re not done with the permitting office quite yet. Most permits require multiple inspections at different stages of construction to ensure work meets standards.
You’ll need to schedule these inspections a few days in advance through the department’s website or phone line. Common inspection points include after:
- Foundation is complete
- Framing and rough electric/plumbing
- Insulation and drywall
- Final fit and finish
The exact inspections required will be listed on your issued permit. Failing an inspection can lead to costly delays!
Receiving The Certificate Of Occupancy
You’re so close to completion! After passing the final inspection, we can obtain something called a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). This is the official document stating the project has met all codes and is safe to occupy and use.
To get the CO, you’ll need to correct any final deficiencies noted on our last inspection. You may also need to submit things like HVAC commissioning reports. With the CO in hand, your permit journey is completed! You can now comfortably enjoy the fruits of your labor. Time for a construction party!
Staying Organized Is Key
While permitting requires careful attention to detail, keeping yourself organized, responsive, and prepared at each step will set you up for success. Taking advantage of online resources can make the process more efficient too.
With a proactive approach and a dash of patience, you’ll check every permitting requirement off the list and get your plans approved. Before you know it, you’ll have a completed project permitted fair and square. Here’s to a safe and compliant building for all!