Some permits are very simple to obtain; others involve some difficult processes that the first timer may feel uncomfortable with. You will find in this page a summary of the various types of permits, and the processes involved in securing a permit. But first, we'll discuss the most basic requirement, and one, which is common to all the permits.
Preparing A Set of Plans: Nearly every building permit requires three identical sets of plans to be submitted. They must show what work you intend to do, and the details of how to do it. While these plans don't always need to be professionally prepared, they should be "drawn to scale, on a substantial paper size sheet…and shall be of sufficient clarity to indicate the location, nature and extent of the work proposed and show in detail that it will conform to the provisions of (the) code and all relevant laws, ordinances, rules and regulations" (IRC 106.1). That means they should be clear enough that you could give them to a responsible builder and he could build what you desired without further information from you. When your plans are reviewed, the plans examiner will be looking for compliance with the code, including smoke detectors,window schedule including egress windows, location on property, stair detail, structural adequacy both for vertical loads (including snow) and lateral loads (such as wind), and much more. In cases 1, 2 and 3 below, a site plan is required. This should show your property lines, and all existing structures accurately located on the property, as well as the proposed work. Again, the plans should be drawn to scale, and if there is very much slope to the property, it may be necessary to provide topographic information
Case 1: Adding A Room, Attached Garage, or Second Story. These projects will require a review of a site plan for compliance with land use requirements. Building height, front, side, and rear yards are all regulated, based on the zone that they are in. Check with your municipal zoning office for required permits and approvals. After receiving the necessary approvals your plans and completed building permit application can be submitted to the building codes officer. The building codes officer can usually review and approve your plans, unless they are more complex and would require review by the plans examiner. The plans examiner will be particularly interested in verifying that the existing building can handle the additional loads that may be imposed on it from the new addition, in addition to the other code items mentioned above that are ordinarily checked.
Case 2: Building A Detached Garage or Storage Building: These buildings are usually built in the backyard. Most property layouts don't have space to put them elsewhere and still meet land use requirements. These projects will require a review of a site plan for compliance with land use and zoning requirements. Even in the rear yard there are some limitations on how large the structure can be, and how close to the front & side property lines. Structures under 1,000 square feet of roof area don't require a permit, but they must still comply with zoning and fire protection codes. Larger structures are required to have footings and foundations to protect them from frost heave and similar ground movement, and to carry the loads imposed on them. Fences 6' or less in height don't need permits, but again must meet any zoning requirements.
Case 3: Obtaining a Permit for a New Home