How To Perpare For Building Inspections
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How To Perpare For Building Inspections

Follow the simple process to obtain building permits and schedule your building inspections.

So you have decided to take on that home-improvement project on your own. The process is really the same weather your building a deck or a new home. Something you will need to do when acting as your own general contractor is to pull permits and schedule inspections. This can be over whelming if you don't know the process and what to do.

Start by contacting your local municipality or building department. They will let you know the proper steps. The first step is apply and get your zoning permit. A zoning permit will be issued if your current project is compliant with the zoning requirement for setbacks from property lines, correct construction- such as residential project in an area designated for residential construction. Let's say you want to build a barn, but the area is zoned only for residential, most likely your zoning permit will be denied because your area is not zoned agricultural.

In some cases you may also be required to have a well and septic permit, water hook-up/sewer hook-up permit and possibly a soil and erosion permit if you live near a lake, stream or river.

Once you have all the pre-required permits, you will need to apply for a building permit. You will need copies of all the required pre-permits and a copy of your building plans to submit to the building department. The cost of the permit is normally determined by the cost of the project. The bigger the project the higher the cost. Once submitted the building department will review your file and verify you have all required permits and drawings. The building inspector will perform what is called a plan review of your plans, checking for code compliance and safety items. If your plans are complete and code compliant you would then be issued a building permit for you project.


Inspections are broken down into segments. The building inspector wants to see your work before too much is completed and changes can be made without too much hassle. Inspections and the number of inspections can vary greatly by jurisdiction. Be sure to get the list of required inspections from your building department.

Let just touch on a few of the big inspections:

  1. Footing/ foundation- this inspection in done after your footing are dug and form boards are in place and prior to pouring concrete.
  2. Rough-inspection is completed after the floor, wall and roof framing is completed. You will also need to have all of your rough mechanical, plumbing and electrical installed and inspected prior to scheduling your rough building inspection.
  3. Final- this one is key. Final means final. Nothing will tick off a building inspector more than asking for a final inspection before the project is complete. This means paint, doors installed and trim applied, flooring siding and everything else in the house.

There you have it. The process is quite orderly and simple if you know the proper steps. Work with your local building department and inspector for a smooth running and code compliant project.

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