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How to Submit Plans for a Building Permit

In the spring, summer and fall, building activity is greatly increased causing backups and delays, but delays in issuing your building permit can be minimized by having the following required information and documents completed.

Before the Building Department can issue any building permit, we must have the following:

1. Zoning Compliance Permit

This permit, including your property I.D. number from your tax statement, tells us at 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.

Plans for residential construction 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 an architect/engineer licensed pursuant to Act No. 299 of the Public Acts of 1980, as amended, being 339.101 et seq. of the Michigan Compiled Laws, and known as the occupational code.

The construction documents shall include the name and address of the design professional and shall 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).

  • All plans must be drawn to scale.

All plans must show footings, elevations, cross-sectional views, and enough plan views to show what is being constructed; this includes 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.

Please contact the Zoning Office for your jurisdiction regarding procedures for applying for zoning compliance and numbers of plans to be submitted to Zoning. The Building Department requires two full sets.

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

Applications can be filled out at the Building Inspection counter. 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

The following is a list of items that will be required only in certain circumstances, 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.

Plan Review Fees:

  • Plan Review Type

    Plan Review Fee

    Residential construction with construction costs under $20,000 


    Residential construction with construction costs of $20,000 or over


    Commercial construction (including apartments)

    $60.00 plus $50/hour over first hour actual time.

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