How To Get a Permit To Build a House

how to get a permit to build a house

Permits are required in most states in order to begin the home building process. All states except Texas require home builders to obtain a permit prior to construction. It is especially important for individuals to first research their county’s zoning website to heed their unique permit requirements.

Each state and county has its own permit requirements. Individual states adopt portions of The International Residential Code (IRC) and apply it to their specific county or region. It is imperative that the home builder familiarizes themselves with the intricacy of their build site's permit requirements, as opposed to just general requirements. Below are several key components homeowners must have prepared prior to applying for their permit. 

Professional Blueprint

Prior to applying for a permit, individuals will need to come with a professionally-drawn blueprint in hand. Each county has insulation requirements.  You can access each R-value requirement by state and region here

Site Plan

Some states require a site plan in order to apply for a permit. A site plan is essentially a map of the building site and how the structure will be oriented on the lot. The designer will display a map of the plot of land detailed with elements such as property lines, structural elements, and fencing.

Soil Inspection and Land Survey 

Similar to site plan requirements, some states may also require a soil inspection and a land survey inspection as a permit prerequisite. A soil inspection determines the composition of the soil at the building site. A soil inspection can help determine the type of foundation your structure will need. Whether it be wider or deeper foundation-based, a soil inspection may prevent costly foundation repairs in the future. A land survey essentially confirms the property lines and specifies the exact boundaries of where the property is.

Architect License 

When planning the construction of a large home, most counties require an architect license to get a permit for a building design greater than 3,500 square feet or above two stories. Acquiring an architect license may be costly and has certain limitations. For example, the architect hired must be from the state of the intended build site. A home planning to be built in Michigan cannot acquire an architect from Florida to obtain an architect license. 

Oftentimes, people will acquire a professional architectural design through a home design company, like FRANK, to bring their vision of a home to life. This option is significantly cheaper as it does not require an architecture license. 

Engineering Licence Stamp

For certain areas that have weather concerns, an engineering license stamp may be necessary on the home design. States like California that experience earthquakes or Florida or Alabama that are affected by hurricanes may require this stamp to ensure structural soundness. However, states like Michigan or New York may not be as concerned with an engineering license stamp given the fewer frequency of weather-related issues. 

Title 24 Energy Report

Lastly, California requires a new build plan to present Title 24 energy report. These reports are used to minimize harmful and unnecessary energy consumption in new constructions. 

Overall, there are several different requirements that are needed in order to obtain a building permit. Certain plans and components are required by some states, while others are not. That is why it is of the utmost importance to check with your local zoning office prior to pursuing a permit. 

A Personalized Design Process With FRANK

Oftentimes, individuals will purchase a general home plan without consideration if it fits the corresponding local county’s requirements. As a result, home builders may need to hire local craftsmen to redesign the plan. This is often a hassle and costly undertaking. When designing your home with FRANK, our team will contact your local county and revise your design to adapt to its requirements. 

Additionally, our team at FRANK can help assist with engineering and energy reports by helping find an engineer and providing CAD files.  

Contact FRANK today to discuss the necessary steps for obtaining a permit for your new construction. You can purchase a FRANK study set and contact your local county to determine requirements. A FRANK team member will be happy to tweak the design to make sure everything is squared away for your permit application. 

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