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A construction permit grants permission to do most kinds of work on a dwelling or other type of building. The purpose of the permit is to allow our officials to observe the progress of the work to be sure it meets code. The permit consists of five different subcode sections as needed. They are building, electric, plumbing, fire, and elevator.
In general, if it is more than a repair of a building, electrical, plumbing or fire element, a permit is probably required. The New Jersey Uniform Construction Code states, "A building or structure shall not be constructed, extended, repaired, removed or altered…" without construction permits except for ordinary repairs. If in doubt, a call to the office is recommended.
Some permits, specifically those which involve changes to the exterior of your property, will require a zoning review. In these cases, you will be asked to submit a copy of your plot plan (property survey) so that Randolph's zoning official can review your project for compliance with the zoning ordinance.
If you cannot comply with the zoning ordinance for any reason, you must obtain a variance from the board of adjustment before your project can proceed. The zoning official is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the zoning ordinance but she may not waive its requirements. That power is granted by law to the board of adjustment. If your project requires a variance, she will explain the application process to you.
Remember…construction permit applications for projects which change the footprint of the building, lot coverage, use of the space, etc. may also require a zoning approval.
If a construction permit is required, the homeowner or contractor applies for the permit. The permit application requires information about the construction project including who will perform the work and what, when, and how the work will be done. Sketches, drawings, plans, or other documentation of the work will have to be submitted for review, as will payment of the appropriate permit fees upon approval.
Using a home improvement contractor? The Contractors' Registration Act requires that all home improvement contractors be registered with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. The Office of Construction Codes is barred from issuing construction permits to an unregistered home improvement contractor who is required to register.
After the permit application is completed, it is reviewed by the subcode official who will determine if the project is in compliance with the construction codes, zoning ordinance, and other municipal or state ordinances and statutes. Applications may be approved, disapproved, or additional information and clarification may be requested.
If the permit application is rejected, the applicant is notified of the reason and may opt to correct and resubmit or appeal the decision. If it is approved, it is processed by the office, the applicant pays the calculated permit fees and a permit is issued.
The construction permit is the document that grants legal permission for construction to start. Inspections required for the project will be indicated on the permit. Each major phase of construction must be inspected by the Office of Construction Codes to make certain the work conforms to the appropriate code, the permit, and the approved plans. As construction proceeds, the applicant refers to the inspection schedule and calls the Office of Construction Codes to schedule the various progress inspections.
Upon completion and final inspection of all work, the construction official issues a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or a Certificate of Approval (CA), the formal document which marks the completion of the construction project. Note that the work is not considered complete until the Office of Construction Codes completes all the inspections and issues the CO or CA.