Development Center

Residential construction Coit and Hastings

Overview 

Building something new? Making changes to an existing building or property? We’re here to help make sure that work gets done right. We handle planning, permits, and inspections so you can rest assured that buildings in Grand Rapids are safe for people to use and meet our community's design standards.

The Development Center brings together people from Planning, Engineering, Code Compliance, Fire Department, and others to make it easier for you to build or renovate buildings in Grand Rapids.

Building Codes and Planning

Structures need to meet certain standards so they aren't dangerous to the people using them. We call these standards “building codes.” We also verify that improvements to structures and properties meet our community's standards. This includes where different types of activities are allowed, what building materials are used, how stormwater is managed and how utilities are designed. If you hear talk about “code compliance” we’re talking about making sure buildings and properties meet these standards.

The State of Michigan adopts construction codes that govern most aspects of building construction in the state. Michigan bases its construction codes on standards published by the International Code Council (ICC) and updates them every 3 years.

We at the City of Grand Rapids enforce the Michigan construction codes. We also adopt and enforce many local ordinances and policies related to land use, building design, site design, utilities, and other aspects of development.

Codes are why most construction requires a permit, even renovation projects in your own home. They're also why we need to review plans for what you intend to build before we can issue a permit. We review plans to make sure proposed construction meets safety standards and doesn’t break any laws. We also keep those plans on record.

Permits and Inspections

A permit is an official document that verifies the work you’re doing is legal. You’ll need a permit for all new construction and any modifications made to an existing structure. If you’re changing electrical, mechanical, or plumbing systems you’ll probably need permits for that work as well.

You can begin work as soon as you receive your permits. Then, when the work's completed, call to request an inspection. Your inspector’s name and phone number are typically printed on your permit.

The inspector checks to make sure everything is okay. Once the work passes inspections, we can issue a Certificate of Occupancy. A Certificate of Occupancy is official proof the building is safe for people to use. Congrats, and well done!

Are you looking to build a home? How about adding a deck to your backyard? Do you want to install drywall? You’ll need a permit for most home renovations that involve changing the structure of your house. And if you’re changing electrical wiring or HVAC systems you’ll need to work with a licensed contractor—especially if you’re making changes to a rental property.

Use our guide for Planning and Permits for Home Renovation Projects to learn what permits you’ll need and how to apply for them.

Bonus: permits give you a public record that additions and updates to your house meet code requirements. (Plus, if you go to sell, you won’t have to worry so much about expensive surprises during the home inspections process.)

Whether you’re starting a new development project, renovating (or demolishing) an existing structure, or remodeling the interior of a commercial space, you’ll need permits. You may also need to work with the City’s Design Team, Planning Department, or engineers. These guides will get you started in the right direction:

 

Are you excited to start your own business? You have a lot to think about, so we want to help you get started in the right direction. This guide is here to help you do just that. Whether you're just starting out or looking to grow your business, we've got you covered with tips and local resources to successfully complete the process. 

Use our guide for Starting and Running a Business in Grand Rapids to learn the requirements and paperwork you'll need to complete. 

Big things are happening in our city! Are you looking for detailed information about future building projects and those currently underway in Grand Rapids? You've come to the right place.

Check out our guide on Development Plans and Current Building Projects in Grand Rapids. You can take a look at the commercial building permit applications we're reviewing now. You can also check out the approved permits we issued in the last 30 days or use our interactive maps to see many more!