What is a Building Permit?

A building permit is a license which grants legal permission to start construction of a building project.


What Construction Projects Need Building Permits?


Building permits are typically required for new buildings, additions, renovations, demolitions, prefabricated structures, temporary buildings, mobile homes, a ir conditioning systems, ventilating systems, heating systems, electrical systems, plumbing systems, miscellaneous for residential (fireplace, pools, decks, sheds, etc.).    


The Purpose of Permits:












Permits allow the enforcement of codes which have been adopted as law by the State, County or Township.  No matter what the specific project may be, the enforcement of codes is carried out to protect the public health, safety and welfare.  The unit of government which enforces the codes is acting to assure safe construction.


The Use of Permits:











Code officials and inspectors use building permits as a vital step in their enforcement of codes.  You have an investment in the home or business you are about to build or remodel.  When that home or business building does not comply with the codes, your investment could be reduced.  Applying for a building permit notifies the Code Official that you are constructing or remodeling a building so he can ensure code compliance.


Why a Building Permit?















Building permits provide the means for Code Officials to protect us by reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction and therefore ensuring the public health, safety and welfare.  The building permit process helps us understand what our local laws and ordinances are.  Before any construction or remodeling work begins, application for a permit should be made to the Construction Office.  Building permits provide the means for Code Officials to inspect construction to ensure that minimum standards are met and appropriate materials are used.


The Permit Process

Step 1. Determine what type, size, and scope of your

construction project.



Determine what type of project you are going to do.  Is it going to be a new structure, addition, renovation, demolition, or changes to an existing structural system (ie. air conditioning systems, ventilating systems, heating systems, electrical systems, plumbing systems, etc.)?  It is strongly recommended that for larger projects the services of a design professional be utilized to create plans for your project. 











Step 2. Visit or call the Housing/Zoning and Construction Code Offices.

The Zoning Enforcement  Officer will ask "What are you planning to do?" and "Where are you planning to do it?"  Then, the Zoning Enforcement Officer will explain the requirements,  Codes and Ordinances, regarding your project.  An application for a zoning permit will be given to you at this time.  Zoning permits must be approved before any construction permits will be approved.  The initial contact will provide the resources and information you will need to make your project a success and avoid problems which could cost you time and money.


Step 3. Submit Application














A building  permit application will be given to you which  requires information about the construction project.  You'll  be asked to document "who" will perform the work, "what" work will be done, "where" the work will be done, "when" the work will be done and "how" the work will be done.  Sketches, drawings, plans or other documentation of the proposed work will have to be submitted for review.   Please submit two sets of documents.


Step 4. Wait During Review Process


The majority of permit applications are processed with little delay.  The Sub-Code Officials will determine if the application is in apparent compliance with the construction codes.


Step 5. Receive Results of Review Process













If apparent compliance with the codes and other applicable regulations is determined, the application is approved and a permit issued.  If non-compliance is determined, your application as submitted will be denied.  You will be contacted via e-mail, fax, or mail with regards to the outcome of teh review of your permit.  If you are refused a building permit, the application can be corrected as per suggestions from the Code Officials and resubmitted.


Step 6. Receive Permit











The building permit is the document granting legal permission to start construction.  You must proceed as approved in the review process.  A fee will be collected at this time.  The permit fee helps defray the cost of the Code Official's time spent in the application process, the review process and on-site inspection process.  The fee also gives you access to the Code Official's knowledge and experience when and if you have any questions about your construction project.  An additional fee for services, such as water connection and surveys, may be required.  Inspections required for your project will be indicated on the permit.  You must post the construction permit notice card in a window or other prominent place at the construction site, keep a copy of the building plans at the site, and have the site clearly identified from street level with block, lot, and address.  Changes will require a review and approval in the same manner as the original application and must be brought to the attention to the Construction Code Official immediately.


Step 7. Arrange Inspection Visits














Each major phase of construction must be inspected by the Sub-Code Officials to make certain the work conforms to the Codes, the building permit and the approved plans. The person responsible for the construction project  must request each inspection.  The person responsible shall give the construction office 24 to 48 hours  advance notice and within 72 hours of the notice an inspection will be scheduled.  If an inspector finds that some work does not conform to the approved plans, the inspection shall be deemed failed and the person responsible shall have the nonconformities corrected to conform with the approved plans.  If the violation is serious, a stop work order may be posted until the problem is resolved.  Another inspection may be necessary before work can be resumed.


Step 8. Receive Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of  Approval












When code compliance is determined, the office will issue a Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Approval.  This certificate is the formal document which marks the completion of your construction project and gives you permission to occupy your new or renovated building with the knowledge that it meets the safety standards of the Township.




















What can happen if I do work without a permit?


1) You may subject yourself to penalties and/or fines of up to $2,000 a day until permits are issued.


2) If you proceed with your construction project without having a required permit and you get “caught,” before a permit can be issued you will need zoning approval and you may need a variance or Planning Board approval. If these approvals/variances are denied, you may be required to remove the constructed improvement.


3) You might unknowingly receive substandard materials and/or workmanship from a contractor.


4) If you have an insurance claim related to any work done without permits, your carrier may not pay the claim. They often check with the township for permits and the required inspections.





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