Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Building Permit Process for Hamilton County, Ohio

The building permit process varies from one jurisdiction to another. In Hamilton County, Ohio, changes have been made in the last few years to centralize some of the process. Nevertheless, we still find ourselves running around from one office to another with applications, site plans, and building plans (not to mention the required checks) for each application. For the particular job we're working on now, we first needed to get zoning approval from Springfield Township. That required site plans, building plans, and a payment. Fortunately, we were able to get the Zoning Certificate in one stop with the help of the friendly people at the Township Administration Building.
Next, it was on to the Hamilton County Building Department that's located in downtown Cincinnati and so requires some extra effort with traffic and parking. Hamilton County requires the actual building permit application, an Earthworks Permit since excavation is involved, and a Water Availability Permit. Again, we submitted applications, copies of the plans and site plans, and payment for each. In addition, this job will have a private water system so we needed to complete the Department of Health Permit for Private Water System and the Application/Permit for Private Water System Site Plan. The Site Plan Permit required an extra visit to the plumber's office so that he could complete the drawing required on the application before we could actually submit the materials to the Health Department.
At the Health Department, we ran into a new snafu. The receptionist warned us that the permits could take a while because everyone from the office was out in the field administering and monitoring the H1N1 vaccinations. Time will tell what "a while" means to the Health Department.
There are a few other permits that will be required before we can actually start moving dirt. Luckily, we already have the temporary electric meter set at the site so that is taken care of.
We look forward to the day when building permit applications are accepted electronically. Think of all the time and paper that could be saved by just clicking your computer mouse and sending everything through cyberspace. Now THAT would be a good example of "green building."

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