COVID-19 Dev Center Service Update
Beginning Monday, July 13, the Development Center will be open to walk-in customers during normal business hours. While in-person services are available, please note that our lobby is limited to six customers at a time. To ensure availability, we encourage you to schedule appointments for in-person services. You can schedule an appointment by calling our office at 616-456-4100. Please note that face coverings are required for entry. Dev Center services remain available online through Citizen Access, our online permit portal.
Temporary Service Changes
While in-person services are available, please note that our lobby is limited to six customers at a time. To ensure availability, we still encourage you to schedule appointments for in-person services. Please call 616.456.4100 to schedule an appointment.
When scheduling an appointment, please be prepared to provide the following information:
- The number of participants for your meeting
- A contact name and phone number
- The names of all attendees (if available)
Permit applications can be submitted through the following methods:
- Online through Citizen Access
- A secure drop box located outside the front entry door
- In-person during normal business hours
Plan review will continue to be completed online. Staff will be available in the office to assist you with questions about proposed projects, however, some reviewers will continue to work remotely or on a rotational basis. If you have questions for a specific reviewer, we recommend you contact them directly by phone or email.
- In-person inspections of commercial and industrial facilities will continue.
- Video-enabled inspections may be possible for smartphone users at the discretion of the inspector. If you are able to participate 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).
In-person inspections of residential interior spaces will continue. If an occupant has COVID-19 symptoms, the inspection will be rescheduled, unless it is deemed immediately necessary for public health or safety by departmental management.
Video-enabled inspections may be possible for smartphone users at the discretion of the inspector. If you are able to participate 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!