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  • A building permit is written authorization granted by the building department to build a structure.
  • The permit allows the holder to build in accordance with the construction documents submitted to obtain the permit.
  • Each jurisdiction has different documentation requirement for obtaining a permit. Check with your local building department before you begin your project.

Before you can begin the building process, you must obtain a building permit. Check with your building department for requirements. Also check how long the process takes. Generally a building permit takes between 2-6 weeks to obtain once the building department has all the necessary documentation. The building department may require many of the following: 2 complete sets of plans, engineering specs, MECcheck (Model energy code check), truss details, drainage plan, permit fee, etc.

  • Once the permit is issued you can begin your project. The city plans examiner will likely make notes and marks on your plans signifying changes or clarifications.
  • After receiving the building permit, any changes to the plan will have to be approved by the city Plans examiner.
  • Many cities are owner-builder friendly. They will supply a packet that helps to explain the building and inspection process.
  • Most building departments have a checklist of the items needed to obtain a building permit. This list is helpful for the first-time builder, or the owner-builder. Here is a typical checklist-City requirements checklist. Before you do select a plan or even buy a lot, visit the city building department to find out what is required.
  • If you are hiring a general contractor for the project it is generally his responsibility to obtain all building permits. This should be stated in the contract.

A variance is a exemption from the zoning committee to exempt your project from certain building zoning or building regulation. For example, a common variance that is sought is the building setback. Zoning and building regulations require that a building is "setback" a certain distance from property lines. If you want to place your home closer than the current zoning regulations, you will need to apply for a variance.


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