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Plan Review

Plans must be submitted and approved before construction or renovation projects can begin. This plan review process looks for potential code violations. If problems are found, drawings or construction plans can be revised before construction begins, saving time and money.

Are there any projects that do not require plan review?

Yes. The following projects do not require plan review:


  • When repair work is determined by the Building Official to be of a minor nature.
  • When utility structures are 100 square feet or less relative to one and two family dwellings.
  • When work is completed by a governmental subdivision or state agency costing less than $15,000.


  • When the electrical system rating does not exceed 400 amps and the building is not over 3500 square feet in area.
  • When work is completed by a governmental subdivision or state agency costing less than $15,000.


  • One and two family dwellings when the total building heating/cooling system input rating is 375,000 btu's or less.
  • Alterations and repair work determined by mechanical official to be of a minor nature.
  • Business, mercantile, and storage buildings having HVAC equipment only, with one fire area and not more than 3500 square feet.
  • When work is completed by a governmental subdivision or state agency costing less than $15,000.


  • One and two family dwellings containing not more than 3,500 square feet of building area.
  • Alterations and repair work determined by plumbing official to be of a minor nature.
  • Assembly, business, mercantile, and storage buildings with a required plumbing fixture count of less than 12.
  • When work is completed by a governmental subdivision or state agency costing less than $15,000.

Who may submit plans for plan review?

Homeowners, contractors, architects, engineers, or the owner's agent may submit plans.

When are plans required to be sealed by an Architect or Engineer ?

Plans for residential single-family homes under 3,500 square feet in calculated floor area can be drawn by the owner, builder or architect, etc.

Plans for residential construction over 3,500 square feet of calculated floor area must be prepared by or under the direct supervision of a licensed architect/engineer. The construction documents must include the name and address of the design professional and bear that individual's original signature, seal, and date.

All commercial plans shall also bear the design professional's original signature, seal and date (exception: work deemed of minor nature by the Building Official). Residential-Single Family Homes over 3500 square feet in area and commercial projects are required to be sealed by an architect or engineer.

What do I need to submit for plan review?

Submit the following to the Building Department:

  1. Zoning Compliance Permit
    This permit, including your property I.D. number from your tax statement, tells the Building Department that the location and use of your construction project has been approved by your township or village. It is not a permit to build. It is not an approval of your plans.

  2. Two (2) sets of plans signed and/or stamped by the Zoning Official.
    All plans must be drawn to scale, and must show footings, elevations, cross-sectional views, location of doors and wondows, structural elements, and enough plan views to show what is being constructed (including floor plans). Before and after floor plans are also required for fire repairs, remodels or alterations to existing residential or commercial buildings. Plans must show dimensions and lumber sizes, spans and intervals. Lists of building materials and specifications will not be accepted in lieu of plans. Drawings that do not show lumber sizes and dimensions will not be accepted as plans.

  3. Environmental Health Approval.
    Washtenaw County Planning & Environment - Development Services Division requires a Water Supply and/or Sewage Disposal Permit. Approval is either a permit or a memo to approve the type of sewage disposal and/or water supply you plan to use. It is not a plumbing permit or sewer permit. It may be required for non-habitable construction, such as a garage or a deck. It is always required for habitable construction. For complete information, call Planning & Environment at 734-222-3800.

  4. Two complete site plans.
    Two site plans clearly indicating all structures, any setback, any new structures and any additions, location of well(s), drainfield(s), and drainfield expansion area(s), if applicable. Site Plans must show elevation markings, and where the water runoff will go. Site plans must be scaled at 1 inch equals 40 feet or larger.

  5. Application for Building Permit.
    You must include the address where the construction will take place. A lot number is not sufficient. Specific directions to the site must be included. Note: The person who is applying for the permit must appear in person, or have a letter of authorization or power of attorney from the owner.

  6. Revision Fees.
    If plan revisions are necessary, the same fees will be charged a second time, as applicable.

  7. Other requirements, as applicable:

  • Contractor's License - Licensed contractors must bring their licenses and register them with Building Inspection.
  • Soil Erosion Permit - If you are building within 500 feet of surface water (lakes, ponds, streams, drains, wetlands) or if you are disturbing more than one acre of land, you must have this permit. The application, which includes all requirements for this permit, is available at the Building Inspection counter.
  • Structural Design Loads and Calculations - For all commercial plans.
  • Occupant Load - For commercial plans where applicable.
  • Construction Classification and Use Group- Required to be shown on commercial plans.
  • Architect Seal and Signature - Required for residential construction with building area in excess of 3,500 square feet.

What are the fees for plan review?

Plan Review Type Fee
Residential construction with construction costs under $20,000


Residential construction with construction costs $20,000 or over

$75 per hour

Commercial Plan Review

                           $75 per hour

For more information, contact the 
Building Department for your jurisdiction.

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