Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
The Building Code
The purpose of the building code is to insure public safety, health and welfare insofar as they are affected by building construction, through structural strength, adequate egress facilities, sanitary equipment, light and ventilation, and fire safety; and, in general, to secure safety to life and property from all hazards incident to the design, erection, repair, removal, demolition or use and occupancy of buildings, structures or premises.
What is a building code?
The Michigan Building Code controls all matters concerning the construction, alteration, addition, repair, removal, demolition, use, location, occupancy, and maintenance of all buildings and structures and their service equipment. Presently, provisions for one- and two-family dwellings are included in the Michigan Residential Code.
Are building permits necessary?
Before construction of a building or structure, an owner, or the owner's builder, architect, engineer, or agent, shall submit an application in writing to the appropriate enforcing agency for a building permit. A permit is also required when the use or occupancy of a structure or portion thereof is changed.
A permit is not required for ordinary repairs. Ordinary repairs to structures may be made without permit, but such repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the exit requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs including addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.
When is a license necessary to secure a building permit?
A person engaged in the construction of a residential structure or a combination residential and commercial structure must be licensed as a Residential Builder with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. There are certain exceptions in the licensing law (1980 PA 299, as amended) to this requirement.
Plans and Specifications (Construction Documents)
A set of construction documents is required with each application for a permit. The submission of construction documents may be waived by the building official when code compliance can be determined based on the description in the application. Construction documents must be sealed and signed by an architect or professional engineer in accordance with 1980 PA 299, as amended. The seal and signature are not required for one- and two- family dwellings less than 3500 square feet of calculated floor area and public works less than $15,000 in total construction cost. For other exceptions, refer to 1980 PA 299, as amended.
Prior to applying for a building permit, it is suggested the applicant review the Statewide Jurisdiction List. This information is updated regularly due to changes in the building code enforcement that may be conducted by either the state, county or local unit of government. A building permit application must be submitted to the appropriate enforcing agency.
Questions regarding building permits should be directed to the Permits Division at 517-241-9313.