Apply for a Commercial Building Permit

Are you a contractor, architect, or developer?  Building or renovating a commercial, multi-family, industrial, institutional, or mixed use building?  Need to re-roof or re-side an existing building? These are just some of the projects that require a Building Permit.

Apply for a permit to ensure the work meets our community’s standards as defined in the Michigan Construction Codes, the Grand Rapids Zoning Ordinance, and other applicable codes and standards.

Online Form

Create a Citizen Access Account

We use a third party application called Citizen Access for our Building Permit applications.  If you've never used Citizen Access, we recommend that you review how to create an account before starting your application.  

Make sure you have time to apply

This application will take about 30 minutes once you've gathered your information. You will be able to save your application and resume later if you need more time.

Review the requirements

Professionally sealed plans are required for most commercial building projects – with a few exceptions.  If you're unsure whether professionally sealed plans are required for your project, call or email the Development Center using the information in the Contact Us section.

Plans for commercial, multi-family, industrial, institutional, and mixed use projects can now be submitted electronically through ePlan Room (more on that in Step 8).

Depending on the scope of your project, these other permits may also be required:

  • Electrical Permit – May only be issued to a licensed contractor
  • Mechanical Permit – May only be issued to a licensed contractor
  • Plumbing Permit – May only be issued to a licensed contractor
  • Land Use (LUDS) Permit – Required to build or add on to most commercial, industrial, institutional, or mixed use buildings.  Also required for new or redeveloped parking lots, significant site improvements, and when specified as a requirement of Planning approval.
  • Demolition Permit – Required to demolish a complete structure, such as for complete tear-down and redevelopment

Make sure you have all the required information

Before you get started, make sure you have the following information ready:

  • Whether the building will be equipped with a fire alarm, fire detection, and/or fire suppression systems
  • Building construction type
  • Existing and proposed uses
  • Number of units or dwellings included in the scope of work
  • Any utility and/or site changes included in the overall project
  • Any required special inspections and the agency that will perform them
  • Any plan types for which submittal will be deferred
  • Intended construction start, completion, and occupancy dates
  • Contact information for property owner, tenant/business occupant, architect or engineer, contractor, and others as applicable

Calculate the value of improvements

Include these costs and fees to determine the value of improvements you'll make for this project:

  • Building, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, excavating, grading and other costs

You won't need to use these in your calculation:

  • Architectural fees, lot cost, landscaping and/or personal property

Have your credit/debit card ready

For some types of Building Permits the fee is required up-front.  For others, the fee is paid after the City has reviewed your application.

You'll need to enter your credit/debit card information to pay the permit fee. We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover.

For most Building Permits, the fee is calculated based on the value of improvements. Use the Building Permit Estimate Fee Calculator to estimate fees.

Apply online

Login to Citizen Access and choose the Building-Commercial Applications category using the link below.

Apply Online in English

Upload plans through ePlan Room

After submitting your permit application, you'll be prompted to upload plans. If you're not ready to upload plans, you can always log into Citizen Access and do this step later. Please note that the plan review process won't begin until plans are submitted!

Learn more about using ePlan Room

We'll review your application

Expect to hear from us within 1-2 business days. We'll email you to confirm receipt of your application. Keep in mind that you might need to revise your application or attachments if we notice any missing or incorrect information. When approved, we'll send you your permit by email.

Paper Form

Review the requirements

Professionally sealed plans are required for most commercial building projects – with a few exceptions.  If you are unsure whether professionally sealed plans are required for your project, please call or email the Development Center using the information in the Contact Us section.

Plans for commercial, multi-family, industrial, institutional, and mixed use projects can now be uploaded through ePlan Room (more on that in Step 7).

Depending on the scope of your project, these other permits may also be required:

  • Electrical Permit – May only be issued to a licensed contractor
  • Mechanical Permit – May only be issued to a licensed contractor
  • Plumbing Permit – May only be issued to a licensed contractor
  • Land Use (LUDS) Permit – Required to build or add on to most commercial, industrial, institutional, or mixed use buildings.  Also required for new or redeveloped parking lots, significant site improvements, and when specified as a requirement of Planning approval.
  • Demolition Permit – Required to demolish a complete structure, such as for complete tear-down and redevelopment

Make sure you have all the required information

Before you get started, make sure you have the following information ready:

  • Whether the building will be equipped with a fire alarm, fire detection, and/or fire suppression systems
  • Building construction type
  • Existing and proposed uses
  • Number of units or dwellings included in the scope of work
  • Any utility and/or site changes included in the overall project
  • Any required special inspections and the agency that will perform them
  • Any plan types for which submittal will be deferred
  • Intended construction start, completion, and occupancy dates
  • Contact information for property owner, tenant/business occupant, architect or engineer, contractor, and others as applicable

Calculate the value of improvements

Include these costs and fees to determine the value of improvements you'll make for this project:

  • Building, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, excavating, grading and other costs

You won't need to use these in your calculation:

  • Architectural fees, cost of lot, landscaping and/or personal property

Have your payment ready

For some types of Building Permits the fee is required up-front.  For others, the fee is paid after the City has reviewed your application.

You'll need to pay the permit fee. By mail, we accept check or money order. For in person payments, we accept cash, check or money order. We also accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

For most Building Permits, the fee is calculated based on the value of improvements. Use the Estimate Fee Calculator to estimate fees.

If you apply online instead of submitting a paper form, the application fee will be automatically discounted by $10.

Complete application attachments

There are two additional forms to complete for this application. Make sure to download, print and complete these:

Complete the application

Download, print, and fill out the printed application

Download the Application(PDF, 207KB)

Attach electronic copies of your plans

We need copies of your plans in an electronic format for Commercial Building Permit applications. You can either submit plans to us on a USB flash drive or upload them through ePlan Room after your permit application has been processed. 

Learn more about using ePlan Room

Submit your completed application

Mail us your Commercial Building Permit application or come to our office to drop it off. We're located at the address listed in the Contact Us section. We don't accept emailed or faxed applications. 

We'll review your application

Expect to hear from us within 1-2 business days. We'll email you to confirm receipt of your application. Keep in mind that you might need to revise your application or attachments if we notice any missing or incorrect information. When approved, we'll send you your permit by email.

Phone

Call us for instructions

Give us a call at the number listed in the Contact Us section of this page. We'll get you all the information you need to apply for your Commercial Building Permit. We don't take applications over the phone, but we'll make sure you have everything you need to get your application approved.

In Person

Review the requirements

Professionally sealed plans are required for most commercial building projects – with a few exceptions.  If you are unsure whether professionally sealed plans are required for your project, please call or email the Development Center using the information in the Contact Us section.

Plans for commercial, multi-family, industrial, institutional, and mixed use projects can now be uploaded through ePlan Room (more on that in Step 6). 

Depending on the scope of your project, these other permits may also be required:

  • Electrical Permit – May only be issued to a licensed contractor
  • Mechanical Permit – May only be issued to a licensed contractor
  • Plumbing Permit – May only be issued to a licensed contractor
  • Land Use (LUDS) Permit – Required to build or add on to most commercial, industrial, institutional, or mixed use buildings.  Also required for new or redeveloped parking lots, significant site improvements, and when specified as a requirement of Planning approval.
  • Demolition Permit – Required to demolish a complete structure, such as for complete tear-down and redevelopment

Make sure you have all the required information

Before you get started, make sure you have the following information ready:

  • Whether the building will be equipped with a fire alarm, fire detection, and/or fire suppression systems
  • Building construction type
  • Existing and proposed uses
  • Number of units or dwellings included in the scope of work
  • Any utility and/or site changes included in the overall project
  • Any required special inspections and the agency that will perform them
  • Any plan types for which submittal will be deferred
  • Intended construction start, completion, and occupancy dates
  • Contact information for property owner, tenant/business occupant, architect or engineer, contractor, and others as applicable

Calculate the value of improvements

Include these costs and fees to determine the value of improvements you'll make for this project:

  • Building, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, excavating, grading and other costs

You won't need to use these in your calculation:

  • Architectural fees, cost of lot, landscaping and/or personal property

Have your payment ready

For some types of Building Permits the fee is required up-front.  For others, the fee is paid after the City has reviewed your application.

You'll need to pay the permit fee. By mail, we accept check or money order. For in person payments, we accept cash, check or money order. We also accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

For most Building Permits, the fee is calculated based on the value of improvements. Use the Building Permit Estimate Fee Calculator to estimate fees.

If you apply online instead of in person, the application fee will be automatically discounted by $10.

Come to our office and fill out an application

You can download and print the application beforehand. Otherwise, we'll get you a copy when you come in.

Download the Application in English

There are two additional forms to complete for this application. You can download and print these before coming to the office if you'd like:

Submit electronic copies of your plans

We need copies of your plans in an electronic format for Commercial Building Permit applications. You can either submit plans to us on a USB flash drive or upload them through ePlan Room after your permit application has been processed. 

Learn more about using ePlan Room

We'll review your application

Expect to hear from us within 1-2 business days. We'll email you to confirm receipt of your application. Keep in mind that you might need to revise your application or attachments if we notice any missing or incorrect information. When approved, we'll send you your permit by email.