How Do You Obtain a Permit in Columbus, Ohio?


So, you’ve planned your dream house. You’re ready to break ground. You’ve even hired a suite of contractors local to Columbus, Ohio. That’s when it hits you: You have yet to obtain the proper permit from the city. You’re not even entirely sure where to start. It’s not unique to Columbus, either. Obtaining a permit in any city can be tricky, but it also varies depending on where you live. This is what you need to know about Columbus permits. 

Types of permits offered in Columbus

Naturally, it’s not as simple as going to a city clerk and asking for a permit application. In fact, you need to know what kind of permit you’ll be requesting before you proceed. Columbus permits are broken into three primary types: 1-, 2-, and 3-family residential permits, multifamily building permits, and commercial and mixed use building permits. For the most part, these are pretty self-explanatory, given their names. 1-, 2-, and 3-family permits are for buildings that house fewer than three families. Multifamily permits are for spaces that can house four or more units. Commercial and mixed-use permits can vary greatly in their application. However, they all have one thing in common: In some instances, simply acquiring the proper permit might not be the only requirement you have to fulfill. 

This is why City of Columbus permits, in particular, can be a tricky. Depending on the scale and scope of the permit you’re requesting, you may need additional permits and provisions to break ground. Working on new construction? That might be an extra permit. What about commencing work on an existing business? You guessed it: another permit. Say you’re designing the ideal residence and think that a large deck would be a great space for entertaining. You’re going to need a permit. The number of requirements you’ll need to fulfill can vary greatly from project to project, and it’s important to make sure that you’re well-versed in Columbus building codes and regulations to make sure you’re project stacks up. 

Permit fees and costs

While the types of permits and their added requirements are a little more clear-cut, their fees tend to be anything but. If you’re looking for a flat fee structure and are trying to budget down to the last cent, you might be in for a rude awakening. This is why it’s always a good idea to pad in a bit of financial flexibility during the permit process. There are always extra costs and hidden fees to account for, and these can quickly add up if you’re not careful. 

On top of that, you have building inspections and their fees to think about. Your first inspection is scheduled with Columbus officials and will be completed as ordained. However, if the building isn’t completed or aspects of the project don’t pass muster, you’ll likely be subjected to a reinspection and the fee that accompanies it. The reinspection process isn’t always the most timely, either, so you need to be prepared to shift your contractors as needed to ensure your project isn’t stuck in an endless loop of inspections. Plus, there’s a whole other subset of fees for code violations and issues, which, if you’re in the reinspection process, you might be subject to. 

Of course, when navigating the entire permit process, a good idea is always to consult with an attorney or other legal counsel. They can help you ensure that the entirety of your project is up to code. Even better, several housing companies can act as a proxy for these types of projects and might have a fair deal more experience than you when it comes to handling pricing, finding contractors, and securing permits.