|How to Obtain a Building Permit|
Building permits can be issued only to currently licensed contractors, except that homeowners who work on their own residence do not have to be a licensed contractor for anything except natural gas plumbing, which requires a licensed plumber. Separate permits are required for electrical, plumbing, and mechanical work. Application forms are available for each type of permit. Building permit application forms are used for fences, and a special form is used for signs. A General Contractor’s Information Booklet containing more details and sample forms is available from the Development Services Assistant.
The completed application form is submitted to the Development Services Assistant, along with required plans. Building permits involving building construction or remodeling must have floor plans and other architectural or engineering plans as appropriate for the scope of the work. Building permits involving new or expanded buildings, and/or parking areas, must have a site plan. If engineered drainage detention plans are required for compliance with the City’s drainage ordinance, those plans are submitted to the City Engineer. Basic site plans are also required for fences, residential outbuildings, and freestanding signs.
Building plans and site plans for new construction of, or additions to, any multifamily, commercial, industrial, or institutional building will be discussed by a Development Review Committee consisting of various City staff members. The committee meets at 9:00am on Wednesdays. The applicant/contractor may be invited to attend the meeting when their plans will be considered. If the applicant/contractor is not present, they will receive written comments from the Building Official and/or City Planner notifying them of any needed changes or of any questions to be addressed. Plans for single-family and duplex residential construction, residential accessory structures, signs, and fences are not reviewed at a Development Review Committee meeting but are distributed internally for approval by the individual City departments.
Once all issues have been addressed and the internal review is complete, including approval of any engineering plans by the City Engineer, the applicant/contractor is notified that the permit is ready.
Electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits associated with a project requiring a building permit are not issued before the building permit, but after that they may be issued without any further review at the time the application is submitted.
The Development Services Assistant gives the applicant/contractor an orange building permit card, if applicable, and the approved permit application form listing all fees due. The applicant/contractor must take the approved permit application to a cashier’s window in the main floor lobby for payment of fees, which may include tap fees and impact fees in addition to the permit fee. The cashier gives the applicant/contractor a receipt, and makes a copy of the form before sending the original back to Development Services. Temporary utility connections are authorized, if needed, to facilitate construction activities. The contractor must post the orange card on the property within view from the street, if possible.
For most types of permits, inspections must be requested at specific stages of construction, and the facility may be occupied or used only after it passes a final inspection. In the case of new buildings, a certificate of occupancy is the last step in the process. If utilities are involved, this is when the temporary status is changed to permanent service.