Apply for a Residential Building Permit

Are you a homeowner planning a remodeling project, a deck, or a shed? A contractor hired to build or remodel a single family home or duplex?  Need to re-roof or re-side an existing home?

These are just some of the types of projects that require a Building Permit. You need to apply for a permit to ensure the work meets our community’s standards as defined in the Michigan Residential Code and the Grand Rapids Zoning Ordinance.

Online Form

Create a Citizen Access Account

We use a third party application called Citizen Access for our Building Permits 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 have gathered your information. You will be able to save your application and resume later if you need more time.

Review the requirements

If you are not the owner, you must have a Residential Builders License issued by the State of Michigan, or written authorization from a license holder, to obtain a Building Permit.

An Energy Code Worksheet is required to build or add on to a single family home.

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

  • Electrical Permit – May only be issued to a licensed contractor or a homeowner for their primary residence
  • Mechanical Permit – May only be issued to a licensed contractor or a homeowner for their primary residence
  • Plumbing Permit – May only be issued to a licensed contractor or a homeowner for their primary residence
  • Land Use (LUDS) Permit – Required to build or add on to a single family home or duplex only if located within 500 feet of a lake, river, stream, or open drain
  • Demolition Permit – Required to demolish a complete structure, such as for complete tear-down and rebuild

Plan your project

Plans are not required for re-roofing or re-siding.

Plans are required for most other types of projects.  During the application process you will need to upload plans showing the location, size, and details of the proposed project.  A helpful rule-of-thumb is that plans should have enough detail for another person to do the work without talking to the person who prepared the plans.

A site plan showing the location on the lot is required for a new building, addition, deck, or shed.

We have resources available to help you prepare plans:

  • Project guides for various project types
  • Development Center Plans Examiners are available 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM at our office. We're located on the third floor at the address listed in the Contact Us section.

Calculate the value of improvements

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

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

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

  • Architectural fees, cost of lot, 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 Estimate Building Permit Fee Calculator to estimate fees.

There is a flat fee – not based on the value of improvements – for these project types:

  • $50 flat fee for re-roofing and re-siding projects (2 may be combined for $90)
  • $72 flat fee for deck construction and above-ground pool installation (2 may be combined for $112)

Upload your 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

If you're not the owner, you must have a Residential Builders License issued by the State of Michigan, or written authorization from a license holder, to obtain a Building Permit.

Are you building or adding on to a single family home? You'll need to complete the Energy Code Worksheet

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

  • Electrical Permit – A licensed contractor or a homeowner for their primary residence is eligible to apply
  • Mechanical Permit – A licensed contractor or a homeowner for their primary residence is eligible to apply
  • Plumbing Permit – A licensed contractor or a homeowner for their primary residence is eligible to apply
  • Land Use (LUDS) Permit – If you're going to build or add on to a single family home or duplex only if located within 500 feet of a lake, river, stream, or open drain
  • Demolition Permit – If you need to demolish a complete structure, such as for complete tear-down and rebuild

Plan your project

Plans are not required for re-roofing or re-siding.

Plans are required for most other types of projects.  During the application process you will need to upload plans showing the location, size, and details of the proposed project.  A helpful rule-of-thumb is that plans should have enough detail for another person to do the work without talking to the person who prepared the plans.

A site plan showing the location on the lot is required for a new building, addition, deck, or shed.

We have resources available to help you prepare plans:

  • Project guides for various project types
  • Development Center Plans Examiners are available 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM at our office. We're located on the third floor at the address listed in the Contact Us section.

Calculate the value of improvements

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

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

You won't need to include 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.

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 Building Permit Fee Calculator to estimate fees.

There is a flat fee – not based on the value of improvements – for these project types:

  • $60 flat fee for re-roofing and re-siding projects (2 may be combined for $100)
  • $82 flat fee for deck construction and above-ground pool installation (2 may be combined for $122)

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

Complete the attachments

There are two additional forms to complete.

Complete the application

Download, print, and fill out the application.

Download the Application(PDF, 207KB)

Bring your completed application to our office

We only accept residential building permit applications in person. You can find our address in the Contact Us section of this page. We can't accept mailed, emailed, or faxed applications.

If you can't make it to our office, apply online using Citizen Access.

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.

Phone

Call us for instructions

You can find our number in the Contact Us section of this page. We'll get you all the information you need to apply for your Residential 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

If you're not the owner, you must have a Residential Builders License issued by the State of Michigan, or written authorization from a license holder, to obtain a Building Permit.

Are you building or adding on to a single family home? You'll need to complete the Energy Code Worksheet

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

  • Electrical Permit – A licensed contractor or a homeowner for their primary residence is eligible to apply
  • Mechanical Permit – A licensed contractor or a homeowner for their primary residence is eligible to apply
  • Plumbing Permit – A licensed contractor or a homeowner for their primary residence is eligible to apply
  • Land Use (LUDS) Permit – If you're going to build or add on to a single family home or duplex only if located within 500 feet of a lake, river, stream, or open drain
  • Demolition Permit – If you need to demolish a complete structure, such as for complete tear-down and rebuild

Plan your project

Plans are not required for re-roofing or re-siding.

Plans are required for most other types of projects.  During the application process you will need to upload plans showing the location, size, and details of the proposed project.  A helpful rule-of-thumb is that plans should have enough detail for another person to do the work without talking to the person who prepared the plans.

A site plan showing the location on the lot is required for a new building, addition, deck, or shed.

We have resources available to help you prepare plans:

  • Project guides for various project types
  • Development Center Plans Examiners are available 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM at our office. We're located on the third floor at the address listed in the Contact Us section.

Calculate the value of improvements

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

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

You won't need to include 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.

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 Building Permit Fee Calculator to estimate fees.

There is a flat fee – not based on the value of improvements – for these project types:

  • $60 flat fee for re-roofing and re-siding projects (2 may be combined for $100)
  • $82 flat fee for deck construction and above-ground pool installation (2 may be combined for $122)

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'll find our address in the Contact Us section of this page.

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

Download the Application in English

There are two additional forms to complete.

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

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.