About building permits

Well, here we are at my least favorite part of home construction which is building permits. Inspectors seem to be the necessary evils at the time of construction. I promise you as the years go by and your house hasn’t fallen down, you’ll be ecstatic that you jumped through all the hoops held up by the inspectors.


Permits are definitely a pain, but after it's all done, then you'll be glad you live in a safe home.

You'll need to go and talk to the local building inspector at your county or city courthouse or planning office. He or she will help you with the necessary forms that pertain to your building site.

Every location is a little different and each has it's own special building permits requirements. Inspectors can be very helpful in these cases. It's best to have open communication with the inspectors.

You will most likely have a building inspector, an electrical inspector, a plumbing inspector, and a health inspector. If you're getting financing from a bank, you will probably have a financial officer that will give you funding upon completion of inspections.

You will first have to take your plans to the building inspector. You can usually find the inspectors at your county courthouse or city government buildings. If you don’t find them, they’ll find you. It’s preferable to find them before they find you in most cases. Anyway, you will be charged usually a percentage of the completed value of your home. This really varies so be aware.

On average, building permits will cost around 1% the estimated value of the house. You’ll definitely want to find out the actual percentage before you take your plans in. One way to look at it is regardless of who builds the house, the owner will have to shell out hard-earned bucks to the inspector no matter what. Not many ways out around that one. You will need to pull (buy) permits from each of these inspectors. The electrical, health, and plumbing permits aren't too difficult to swallow, but the building permits will put a huge dent into an already dented wallet. You will want to talk to your building inspector about the different permits.

If you're building a house in the city where water and septic are available, then you won't have to worry about soil and water samples. Us country folk have a few more things to worry about in that case. We do need to provide soil and water samples to the health inspector.

After the samples have cleared inspection, the building inspector can determine how deep the foundation needs to be to get below the frost line and the health inspector will give the requirements for a septic system.

Once the soil type has been determined, you can start your house plans. Some inspectors require official blueprints that you can have made for you for a few hundred dollars or even do them yourself with software and then take your plans to a print shop and have them printed with a plotter or large format printer. Other inspectors really don't care what kind of plans you have as long as they can understand them when you present them.

Most inspectors will need the following forms returned to them before you can get a building permit:

  • Building permit application
  • Appointment Declaration
  • Agent Authorization form


building permit application

building permit application

Some or all of the following building permits and documents may be needed so the inspector can understand how you want to build your house.

  • Copies of plans, including floor, site, roof, elevation, sections, footing details, drainage plans, etc.
  • Copies of general specifications.
  • Copy of Certificate of Title and proof of ownership.
  • Copies of Engineers structural drawings.
  • Copies of soil report.
  • Copies of survey plans


The copies of your building plans can be your blueprints because they show accurate drawings that are in scale.

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