How to Submit Building Plans

Any residential or commercial construction that alters an existing building or creates a new one must have approval by your local building department. While you as the homeowner may request all necessary building permits, a licensed general contractor should know everything you need. Having him guide you can make submitting building plans and obtaining your permit that much easier. The plans you submit will vary by state, so be sure to contact your local building department for details.

  1. Obtain the necessary forms from your building department.
  2. Obtain permission and a stamp of approval from your local township. This may be called a zoning compliance permit.
  3. Draw up two sets of structural plans that are drawn to scale and include footings, elevations, cross-sectional views, floor plans and parking plans. Include lumber sizes and dimensions. If you are altering an existing building, draw up before and after plans. Depending on the square footage involved and the state you reside in, those plans may need to have a stamp of approval by an architect or engineer.
  4. Obtain permission from your local Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) office for water and air pollution.
  5. Take all of your documents to your local building department to submit your building plans and apply for your building permit. This must be done in person.

Things You Will Need

  • All necessary forms


  • Draw up a mechanical plan if you if you intend to install or change any part of the heating or cooling, or if you intend to install vents or exhausts. Draw up an electrical plan if you intend to install or alter wiring or low-voltage systems. Draw up a plumbing plan if you will replace water heaters or alter or install certain plumbing. You will need permits before you can begin the work. Have your licensed contractor obtain these permits.


  • Be sure to begin work ASAP. Your permit may expire if plans don't begin in 90 or 180 days. In addition, your permit may expire if you stop work for more than 180 days.

About the Author

Shanika Chapman has been writing business-related articles since 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Science in social science from the University of Maryland University College. Chapman also served for four years in the Air Force and has run a successful business since 2008.