COVID-19 Dev Center Service Update
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of community members and City employees, City offices are closed to walk-in visitors through April 5, 2020. You can still access Dev Center services online through Citizen Access, our online permit portal.
Temporary Service Changes
Permit applications can still be submitted online. We will also be installing a secure dropbox on the first floor of 1120 Monroe for you to submit completed paper applications - we expect to have this completed by Monday, March 23. Please submit payment with your application otherwise processing may be delayed.
Plan review will continue to be completed online. If you have questions about your review, please contact the reviewer directly by phone or email.
- In-person inspections of commercial and industrial facilities will continue unaffected.
- Inspections may be scheduled online or by contacting the 311 Customer Service Center (311 or 616-456-3000).
In-person inspections of owner-occupied or tenant-occupied residential interior spaces are suspended through April 5, 2020, unless deemed immediately necessary for public health or safety by departmental management.
In-person inspections of non-occupied residential interior spaces and exterior inspections will continue, subject to inspector availability, through April 5, 2020.
Video-enabled inspections may be possible for smartphone users at the discretion of the inspector. If you are interested in a video-enabled inspection, please communicate that to the scheduling agent.
Inspections may be scheduled online or by contacting the 311 Customer Service Center (311 or 616-456-3000).
Our staff remain available to assist you remotely by email and phone. You may also contact the Development Center at 616-456-4100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The Customer Ombudsperson is a cross-departmental liaison who provides customer support and assistance in identifying the permits needed for a proposed project, assisting small business owners with licensing requirements and other required approvals, connecting customers with available economic development incentives, and ensuring projects are moving through the appropriate channels in a timely manner.
Learn more about how the Customer Ombudsperson can help you!
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. Click here to see the current Building Inspections Fee Schedule. 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!