When Do I Need a Permit?

I thought I’d post this because I do get the question asked frequently, so, here goes. Everyone asked how much and how long it will take. Each city is different, and sometimes they can just surprise you at how fast the process can be. We remodel lots of dental practices, so I put the information on obtaining a certificate of occupancy at the end. Keep in mind, we pull permits so you don’t have to!

When Do I Need a Permit?
Generally, permits are required for all electrical, plumbing, mechanical, or structural projects you may want to perform. Building permit fees are collected to pay for the services of plan checks and inspections to make sure the project meets compliance with building codes and local ordinances.

How Do I Get a Permit?
The first step is to prepare a drawing or create a blueprint of what you propose to do. Your drawing or blueprint will be reviewed by any and all city departments affected by your project. In most cases, simple exterior improvements need only be reviewed by building and planning divisions, and these can often be plan checked over the counter.

What Forms Will I Need?
Several forms must be completed depending on the extent of the project. They include: permit application, homeowner’s verification form, and owner-builder verification form (not applicable if a contractor obtains the permit). Building division staff will help you to understand the requirements of the applicable forms.

How Much Will it Cost?
Permit fees vary based upon what work is being done.

How Long Will it Take to Process My Permit?
The length of time for processing a permit depends mostly on the scope of work being done. Simple walls, underground gas or electric lines, re-roofs, window replacement, and such can be reviewed over the counter. If the project is approved, a permit can be issued immediately. Other projects involving large remodeling and additions may take a few weeks to review and approve, depending upon the size of the improvement and/or the number of corrections that may be needed on the blueprints. New construction of a commercial building requires extensive reviews by different divisions (planning, engineering, water/sewer, O. C. Fire Agency, public health, etc.) and may require a longer period of time for review. Any required grading work must be done and approved by the engineering division prior to a building permit being issued.

Certificate of Occupancy
Before opening your dental practice, you will need to get a certificate of occupancy. A town issues a certificate of occupancy and declares how many people can safely occupy your building at any one time. This is an important document, and the law requires it. The site must meet all fire and safety codes and regulations as well as electrical, plumbing, and building codes before a certificate of occupancy is issued.