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Construction Permit Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Remodeling or adding improvements to your home?
A: Home owners thinking about remodeling their home or adding other improvements, such as decks, spas or retaining walls, many times have a number of questions about building permits.

This information is designed to give homeowners basic knowledge of when construction permits and other approvals are required by the city of North Royalton. It also answers some of the most frequently asked questions and offers tips from the city.

Since each construction project is unique, we invite you to call the city's Building Department, (440) 582-3000, for answers to your specific questions.

Q: What are permits and why do I need one?
A: Permits are the way the city of North Royalton regulates construction. This is designed to ensure that all construction in the city is safe. The safety of the occupants of buildings is the primary reason for having construction codes. The city of North Royalton has adopted several codes, among them the Ohio Build Code (OBC), International Mechanical Code, International Plumbing Code, and the National Electric Code. In addition, there are federal, state and local laws that govern construction, such as those covering energy conservation.

Obtaining a permit is just the first step in the process. In this step, you may need to create plans to submit to the department, make a plot plan for your property showing the improvements, and show the type of construction you'll be using.

The city has handouts to help you through this process.

Once plans are approved, you're required to build the project to those plans. If any changes are made to the plans, they must be made with the city's approval.

The second half of the process is the inspection of the work. More about that later.

Q: When do I need a construction permit?
A: A construction permit is needed for all new construction. In many cases, a permit is needed for repair or replacement of existing fixtures, such as replacing windows. A plumbing, electrical or mechanical permit maybe needed for any addition or changes to a building's existing system; for example, moving or adding an electrical outlet requires a permit.

To find out if your project needs a permit, call (440) 582-3000.

Q: When don't I need a permit?
A: A construction permit is not needed for items such as wallpapering, painting or similar finish work. For plumbing, mechanical and electrical work, replacement or repair of fixtures (such as changing water faucets or replacing switches) does not normally require a permit. Replacing a water heater or adding a permanently wired light fixture does, however, require a permit.

Q: Where do I get a permit?
A: Construction permits are issued at the city's Building Department, 11545 Royalton Rd.

Q: How long does it take to get a permit?
A: Permit issuance periods vary. Some projects can be fully permitted over-the-counter, meaning a return trip won't be needed. Some projects, however, require that plans be left for additional review.

Q: What about other approvals or permits?
A: Other government agencies may need to review and approve your project. The city will inform you of these reviews at the time plans are submitted.

Q: What if I don't get a permit?
A: If a permit, when needed, is not obtained before construction, you have violated city codes and regulations; you'll be subject to fines and penalties. You'll be required to obtain permits for the work and it must pass inspection, or you'll have to return the structure or site to its original condition.

Remember... construction codes were created for safety reasons. Work built without a permit can be unsafe, no matter how good it looks.

Q: Who should obtain the permit?
A: Owners should have their contractors obtain permits in they’re behalf for liability reasons. Contractors must be registered by North Royalton. The homeowner can also obtain the permits.

Q: Can I do the work myself or do I have to hire a contractor?
A: You can do the work yourself, but you must follow certain regulations.

Q: Build to the plans:
A: Be sure to follow your approved plans, whether they are drawn by an architect or designer or are standard construction requirements given to you by the city. If you change the plans while building the structure, this will cause problems when the project is inspected. If you do decide to make changes, check with the city's plan review staff or your field inspector.

Q: Who draws up the plans?
A: Qualified individuals such as a draftsman can usually draw up plans for projects such as room additions. Other projects may require plans prepared and signed by an architect or engineer licensed by the State of Ohio.

For projects such as routine sheds, decks or pools, the city has standard specifications that can be followed within certain limitations. The department accepts those specifications, together with a plot plan showing your project, as plans.

In addition, some kit-type projects come with construction plans. Before you buy, call (440) 582-3000 to make sure your kit is accepted; then just bring the instruction sheet or other documentation along when you apply for your permit it serves as plans.

Q: What about a contractor?
A: The city requires that you deal only with a contractor registered by the city of North Royalton. For liability reasons you should require the contractor to secure permits for your project. Homeowners holding permits in their name are assuming responsibility for the project.

Q: What about inspections?
A: It is your responsibility to call us for inspections at specific times during construction. You may have your contractor make the call, but it is still your responsibility, as the property owner, to make sure the inspections are made. Inspections are made during certain points in the project, depending on the work that's being performed. For example, sheds require inspections of the footing, concrete slab, and when all work is finished.

Remember... the project is not complete for legal purposes until it has passed the final inspection.

Q: What if I have a permit but never called for an inspection?
A: Generally, permits expire after 180 days if no inspections have been made. In order for the project to be complete, it must pass final inspection. If a permit expires before final inspection, the project is in violation of city codes. If this is your case, call (440) 582-3000. We'll help you to reactivate the permit or apply for another with as little inconvenience as possible. Our interest is in seeing your project complete... including the final inspection.

Should you have any other questions, please call us at (440) 582-3000.