Do I Need a Permit

Residential Projects That Need a Permit:

The primary reason for the permit and inspection process is to verify code compliance, in an effort to safeguard public safety. The City of Bay City adheres to the 2015 MI Residential Code R101.2.  “The provisions of the MI Residential Code for one and two family dwellings shall apply to the construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, removal and demolition of detached one and two family dwellings and townhouses not more than 3 stories above grade plane in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory buildings.”

The most common mistake happens when the appropriate permit is not applied for. Many times, it becomes difficult to get through the inspection process if the work has been started prior to issuance of the required permits. It may become necessary to expose work that may have been covered prior to a required inspection. 

Building, electrical, mechanical or plumbing permits are not needed for the repairs listed below.  

Building Permits shall not be required for any of the following

A Zoning permit may be required, please verify with the Zoning Department

Planning and Zoning can be reached at (989) 894-8180

  1. One story detached structure’s if the floor area does not exceed 200 square foot.
  2. A fence not more than 7 feet in height. (Zoning required)
  3. A retaining wall measuring not more than 4’ in height from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless it supports a surcharge. (Zoning required)
  4. A water tank on grade, less than 5,000 gallons capacity, not greater than 2 to 1 height to width ratio. (Zoning required)
  5. A sidewalk or driveway not more than 30” above adjacent grade.
  6. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
  7. A pre-fabricated swimming pool that is less than 24’ deep, is not more than 5,000 gallons and is installed entirely above ground. (Zoning required)
  8. Swings and other playground equipment that are accessory to one and two family dwellings.
  9. Window awnings in groups R3 and U occupancies that do not project more than 54” from the exterior wall and does not require any additional support. (Zoning)
  10. Decks not exceeding 200 square feet in area that are not more than 30” above grade, are not attached to the dwelling or any accessory structure, are not within 36” of the dwelling or accessory structure and do not serve any ingress or egress to the dwelling or accessory structure.  (Zoning required)

   Electrical Permits shall not be required for any of the following

  1. Repairs and maintenance: Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electric equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles. 
  2. Radio and television transmitting stations:
  3. Temporary testing systems for testing or servicing of electrical equipment or apparatus.

Mechanical Permits shall not be required for any of the following

  1. A portable heating or gas appliance that has inputs of less than 30,000 BTU’s per hour.
  2. Portable ventilation appliances and equipment.
  3. A portable cooling unit.
  4. Steam hot water or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment or appliances regulated by this code.
  5. Replacement of any minor part that does not alter the approval of equipment or an appliance or make such equipment or appliance unsafe.
  6. A portable evaporative cooler.
  7. A self-contained refrigeration system that contains 10 pounds or less of refrigerant, or that are actuated by motors of 1 horsepower or less. 
  8. Portable fuel cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to the power grid.
  9. An oil burner that does not require connection to a flue, such as an oil stove and a heater equipped with a wick.
  10. A portable gas burner that has inputs of less than 30,000 BTU’s per hour.

 Plumbing Permits shall not be required for either of the following

  1. The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipes. If any concealed trap, drainpipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, then the work is considered as new work and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made.
  2. The cleaning or stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures, and the removal and reinstallation of water closets, if the repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures. 

The best way to determine whether your project requires a permit is to consult your City Building Department or Planning and Zoning Department. Please do not hesitate to reach out and find the answers you need. The main line for the Building Department is (989) 894-8162 and the main line for the Planning and Zoning Department is (989) 894-8180.

 Thank you and we all look forward to assisting you with your next residential project.

**Please note: Additional permits may be required from the Engineering and/or Clerk's Office