Building permits are documents issued by the City of Ann Arbor's Planning and Development Department to oversee and approve any changes to structures. You must get a building permit if you plan on making home improvements yourself or with the help of a contractor, architect, or construction worker. Building permits ensure that you are in compliance with building codes that regulate the processes of demolition, renovation, installation, construction, augmentation, or other changes in the use of a building.
It's necessary to register for building permits when you are involved with property construction to help regulate the safety and purpose of buildings. For example, someone may want to convert a home into a small veterinary office. Even if they weren't doing any major renovation, they'd need a building permit. It would change the designation from residential to commercial use, provided that the property is zoned for a business.
Building permits are not just pieces of paper, but rather several stages in the process of getting your construction "permitted." At first, you will submit plans, like blueprints, of what you intend to do. A city planner will approve the idea, and then you will be allowed to begin construction. After demolition and part-way through building, the city sends a contractor to sanction what you have done so far. When construction is complete, someone else will sign off to make the building legal, official, and open for use.
Online permits and projects
Access online permits/projects to find up-to-date property record information including:
Building and trade permits (electrical, mechanical & plumbing)
Inspection results and scheduling
Rental property information
Site plan, annexations, zoning and other planning project information
Civil engineering plans
The Planning and Development Department maintains records on permitted activity in the City, including licenses, permits, blueprints, plans, and other construction documents. Archival information is retained digitally and on microfilm and is available for review during regular business hours. Copies are available for $0.25 per page. Zoning and floodplain maps are also available for review (but not for purchase). Contact the county website for GIS and Map Information through their website at: www.ewashtenaw.org
Although available information varies widely, records are not generally as complete prior to 1963. If you're looking for original blueprints for your business or home, call us at 734.794.6263, then press "O" to reach assistance. For historic district information, consult the Historic Preservation Coordinator, Jill Thacher, 734.794.6000 x42608.