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Residential Permits

This guide provides details about how to proceed with a building, construction, moving, demolition or other residential related project. Just choose from the options below to determine the information you will need, permits required, and other steps to take for your project.  Note: The City of Grand Forks follows the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC).

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Building a Fence

The following steps must be followed to receive a permit for your new fence:

Wood Fence

  1. A fence must be completely installed on the owner's property. If exact property lines are unknown, a professional survey may be necessary.

  2. The Building Inspections Department does not regulate the "good" or "bad" side of a fence and which side is facing in or out.

  3. Fences are not allowed in an easement. If a fence is erected in an easement, it is the property owner's responsibility to remove this fence when requested at the owner's expense. Any damage done to a fence located in an easement is the property owner's responsibility.

  4. Location of a fence in the front yard is strictly regulated. A fence over 30 inches in height is not allowed in the first 15 feet of the front yard. On corner properties, fencing over 30 inches is not permitted in the 30 foot restricted angle. Contact the Building Inspections Department for a diagram of this and to have any questions answered on the issue.

  5. A permit is not required for a fence that is a maximum of six feet tall. A fence can be no taller than seven feet in all required front or side yard setbacks.

  6. The fence must be constructed in such a manner that at least 75% of the above grade fence height is matched into the ground.

  7. Visit the Inspections Department, located in City Hall.

  8. An individual will be available to write your permit when you come in providing there are no code problems with the proposed fence. A reasonable estimate of the value of the work including materials and labor must be attached to the project. If you are doing the work yourself, only the value of the materials is required. The name of the contractor must be provided if you are not building the fence yourself. The permit fee must be paid at this time, and it is based on the value of the work (see the residential fee list here). The Building Inspections Department accepts cash or check. There is an additional minimal fee to process credit card payments.


Building a New Accessory Building (garage, shed, etc.).

The following steps are required to receive a building permit for your new accessory building:

  1. If the accessory building is no more than 10 feet by 12 feet or 120 square feet, a building permit is not required. However the proper setback and impervious surface area requirements must be followed.

  2. Sketch a drawing of the proposed accessory building including the dimensions of the lot, dwelling, and any other accessory buildings and bring it to the Building Inspections Department.

  3. The code requirement differs for various accessory building positions and depending on if the accessory building is detached or attached.

  4. In order to ensure fairness to all new garage builders, the following formula is used to evaluate the value of a new garage:

     

    Detached -- $28.00 per square foot.

    Attached -- $40.00 per square foot.

     

  5. If you are building a shed or other equivalent accessory building, a reasonable value including materials and labor must be attached to the project. If you are building it yourself, only materials must be considered.
  6. Visit the Inspections Department, located in City Hall.

  7. An individual will be available to write the permit when you come in, providing there are no code problems with the accessory building. The name of the general contractor and any mechanical, electrical, and plumbing subcontractors must be provided if you are not building the accessory building yourself. The fee is based on the value of the work (see the residential fee list here). The Building Inspections Department accepts cash or check. There is an additional minimal fee to process credit card payments.

Accessory Buildings/Garage Packet ( PDF)


Building a New Residential Dwelling.

The following steps are required to receive a building permit for your new residential dwelling:

Building plan
  1. Check with the Building Inspections Department to ensure the land is zoned properly for residential use, proper setbacks, impervious surface area, etc.

  2. Also, check with the Building Inspections Department to make sure the site is not located in the 100-year floodplain. Buildings cannot be built in this area without adhering to strict flood proofing regulations. View the most recent Floodplain Management Brochure for the City of Grand Forks.

  3. Have a set of plans drawn up by an architect, lumberyard or draw them up by yourself if you can, and submit them to the building Inspections Department. These plans should include a detailed site plan. When laying out a site plan the owner must consider all setbacks, easements, coverage, location of utilities, and drainage issues.

  4. It usually takes a day or two to receive approval from the Building Inspections Department. In order to maintain fairness to all new-home builders, a set formula is used to determine the value of the new dwelling. It is as follows:

     

    One Story w/No Basement $123.00 per square foot.
    One Story w/Unfinished Basement $123.00 per square foot.
    Plus $17.50 per square foot of basement floor.
    Two Story w/No Basement $89.00 per square floor, each floor.
    Two Story w/Unfinished Basement $89.00 per square floor, each floor.
    Plus $17.50 per square foot of basement floor.
    Two Story w/Finished Basement $89.00 per square floor, each floor.
    Plus $32.00 per square foot of basement floor.
    Split Level $75.00 per square floor, each floor.

     

  5. The permit fee will be determined by the value using the above formula (see the residential fee list here), and the permit must be issued before any work can be done. The name(s) of the general contractor and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing subcontractors must be provided.

  6. Visit the Inspections Department, located in City Hall. The permit fee must be paid at this time, and the Building Inspections Department accepts cash or check. There is an additional minimal fee to process credit card payments.

  7. A sewer connection fee might be applicable if sewer lines must be connected to the building. These are usually assessed in the newer parts of town. Contact the Building Inspections Department to see if this fee is necessary.

  8. Water, sewer, or other tapping fees might be applicable if installation of a service was not assessed under a special assessment district. These are usually only applicable in newer areas of town. This fee must be paid before any permits can be issued. Check with the Building Inspections Department to see if this fee is necessary.

  9. Mechanical, plumbing, and electrical permits will be necessary. The subcontractors are responsible for taking out these permits but work cannot proceed without them.


Building a Private Swimming Pool. Swimming Pool 1

The following steps are required to receive a permit for your newly built swimming pool:

  1. Pools need to be located in the rear yard and no part of the pool should be less than eight feet from the property line.

  2. No cross-connection shall be allowed between any private swimming pool and the public water supply.

  3. Pools over two feet in height are required to have a fence enclosure that is at least five feet tall constructed with the opening into the pool area accessible only though self-enclosing and self-locking gate.

  4. Lights used to illuminate the pool must be arranged and shaded as to reflect light away from the adjacent properties. 

  5. When the building permit is ready to be issued, a reasonable value including materials, labor, and subcontractor’s work must be attached to the project. The names of the general contractor and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing subcontractors must be provided.

  6. Visit the Inspections Department, located in City Hall. The permit fee must be paid at this time and is based on the value of the work (see the residential fee list here). The Building Inspections Department accepts cash or check. There is an additional minimal fee to process credit card payments.


Demolishing a Building

The following steps are required to receive a permit for your building demolition:Demo Garage

  1. Visit the Inspections Department, located in City Hall.

  2. An individual will be available to write your permit when you come in providing there are no code problems with the proposed fence. A reasonable estimate of the value of the work including materials and labor must be attached to the project. If you are doing the work yourself, only the value of the materials is required. The name of the contractor must be provided if you are not building the fence yourself. The $40.00 permit fee must be paid at this time. The Building Inspections Department accepts cash or check. There is an additional minimal fee to process credit card payments.

  3. A deposit for the abandonment of the water service is required if a professional plumber does not disconnect the service before the demolition is to take place. This deposit can range from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on circumstances and is determined by the Building Inspections Department. Once the water service is properly abandoned, the deposit will be returned.

  4. A deposit of $1,000 is required on all demolitions for clean-up. Once the lot is inspected by the Building Inspections Department and deemed clean, the deposit will be returned.

  5.  

    Permit Fee -- $40.00

    + Deposit Required for Cleanup -- $1,000.00

    + Deposit Required for Abandonment of Water Service -- *

      *$1,000 - $10,000 to be determined by the Inspections
      Office (no deposit required if service is disconnected by
      Licensed Contractor prior to obtaining the demolition permit)


Excavating in the City of Grand Forks' Right-of-Way.

The following steps are required to receive a permit for your excavation project:

Note: The right-of-way includes streets, alleys, avenues, public sidewalks, berms, etc. If you have any questions on whether you are digging in the public right-of-way, please contact the Building Inspections Department.

  1. Visit the Inspections Department, located in City Hall.

  2. An individual will be available to issue the permit when you come in. The name of the excavator must be provided if you are not digging the hole yourself, and the reasons for digging in the right-of-way and the size of the hole(s) are also required.

  3. The permit fee is based on the following formula and must be paid at the time the permit is issued. The building Inspections Department accepts cash or check. There is an additional minimal fee to process credit card payments.  

  4.  

    Permit Base Fee -- $50.00

    Trenches/bores over 200' -- $25.00 for each additional 200'

    Work performed without a permit -- $100.00

  5. All utilities should be given sufficient notice before any digging commences in order for all utility lines to be located.

  6. All water and sewer excavations will require an inspection by the Plumbing Inspector and a representative from the Engineering Department before back filling.


Installing a New Furnace, Water Heater, etc.

The following steps are required to receive residential mechanical permits:

Furnance

  1. If a contractor has been hired to do the instillation, they will take care of the permit. If you are doing the work yourself, you will need to apply for a permit at the Building Inspections Department. The homeowner can only perform mechanical work if it is in their own home.

  2. If converting to gas appliances or installing new gas appliances on existing gas lines, an air test must be performed on the gas line. The inspector must witness this test.

  3. Visit the Inspections Department, located in City Hall.

  4. An individual will be available for mechanical permits and the fee must be paid at this time. The building Inspections Department accepts cash or check. There is an additional minimal fee to process credit card payments.

  5. Click here to view mechanical permit fees.


Pouring a New Driveway / Replacing an Existing Driveway.

The following steps are required to receive a residential sidewalk permit:

Note: A driveway permit must be obtained if the curb is cut or any part of the City’s sidewalk is being replaced to construct the driveway. If you are unsure whether a permit is needed, please contact the Building Inspections Department.

  1. Make sure you are familiar with the code requirements if you are pouring the driveway yourself. The Building Inspections Department is available to answer any questions you may have and recommends reading the following packet.

    Sidewalk & Driveway Specifications ( PDF)

  2. Visit the Inspections Department, located in City Hall.

  3. An individual will be available to issue the permit when you come in. The name of the contractor must be provided if you are not doing the work yourself along with the dimensions of the driveway. The fee is based on the following information and must be paid at the time the permit is issued. The Building Inspections Department accepts cash or check. There is an additional minimal fee to process credit card payments.     

     

    Residential Driveways, New and Repairs -- $30.00

  4.  

  5. Contact the Engineering Department to set line and grade stakes in the proper location for a new driveway.


Pouring a New Sidewalk / Replacing an Existing Sidewalk.

The following steps are required to receive a residential sidewalk permit:

Note: Any time a public sidewalk is pured or replaced, a permit is needed.

  1. Visit the Inspections Department, located in City Hall.

  2. An individual will be available to issue the permit when you arrive. The name of the contractor must be provided if you are not pouring the sidewalk yourself. If doing so, the proper code requirements must be followed. The Building Inspections Department is available to answer any questions you may have and recommends reading the following packet.

    Sidewalk & Driveway Specifications ( PDF)

  3. New sidewalks and sidewalk replacement must be approved through the Engineering Department. They will set line and grade stakes at the proper location.

  4. The length of the sidewalk must be provided. The fee must be paid at the time the permit is issued and is based on the following schedule. The Building Inspections Department accepts cash or check. There is an additional minimal fee to process credit card payments.

Residential Permit -- $35.00


Remodeling Your Residential Dwelling or Accessory Building.

The following steps are required to receive residential/accessory building remodel permits:

  1. Visit the Inspections Department, located in City Hall.

  2. An individual will be available to write your permit when you come in providing there are no code problems with the proposed fence. A reasonable estimate of the value of the work including materials and labor must be attached to the project. If you are doing the work yourself, only the value of the materials is required. The name of the contractor must be provided if you are not building the fence yourself. The permit fee must be paid at this time, and it is based on the value of the work (see the residential fee list here). The Building Inspections Department accepts cash or check. There is an additional minimal fee to process credit card payments.

  3. Mechanical, plumbing, and electrical permits will be necessary. The subcontractors are responsible for taking out these permits if you are not doing the remodeling work yourself, but work cannot proceed without them.

Repairing Your Residential Dwelling or Accessory Building, i.e. re-shingling, residing, etc.

The following steps are required to receive residential/accessory building repair permits:

  1. Visit the Inspections Department, located in City Hall.

  2. An individual will be available to write your permit when you come in providing there are no code problems with the proposed fence. A reasonable estimate of the value of the work including materials and labor must be attached to the project. If you are doing the work yourself, only the value of the materials is required. The name of the contractor must be provided if you are not building the fence yourself. The permit fee must be paid at this time, and it is based on the value of the work (see the residential fee list here). The Building Inspections Department accepts cash or check. There is an additional minimal fee to process credit card payments.

  3. Mechanical, plumbing, and electrical permits will be necessary. The subcontractors are responsible for taking out these permits if you are not doing the remodeling work yourself, but work cannot proceed without them.


Re-wiring Your Dwelling

The following steps are required to receive a self-wiring permit:

  1. Visit the Inspections Department, located in City Hall.

  2. An individual will be able to issue the permit when you come in. Have with you a description of the electrical work being done. A homeowner may only perform electrical wiring in his own home. A $50.00 fee will be due at this time. Cash or a check made out to the State Electrical Board will be accepted. There is an additional minimal fee to process credit card payments.

  3. The homeowner is responsible for contacting the Building Inspections Department when inspections need to be performed. North Dakota State Electrical Board regulations require completion in 90 days from issuance date.

Permit Fee -- $50.00


Tapping Into the Water or Sewer Main and Plumbing a Building

The following steps are required to receive permits for a water or sewer main tap:

  1. Only licensed master plumbers are allowed to perform taps. The plumber can call the permits into the Building Inspections Department in advance and pick them up at a later date but no taps will be made without a permit being issued and paid for.

  2. No water permits shall be issued for the installation of any fire protection systems without the plans and specification review and approval by the Fire Department.

  3. The plumber must notify the Water Distribution Department at least four hours in advance as to the date and time that the water or sewer tap is to be made.

  4. A list of fixtures to be installed must be provided when new installations are occurring.


Miscellaneous Fees

Board of Adjustments Fee $85.00
Variance Application Form ( PDF)
Board of Appeals Fee $55.00
Parabolic Antenna Permit $55.00
Copying Fees Per Page - $0.25
Building Permit Reports -varies by report
Technical Data, per page - $2.00
Storm Water Pollution Permit (One & Two Family) $55.00
Zoning Letter $35.00

  

For more information, contact the Building Inspections department at (701) 746- 2631.

 

 

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