Building Services

Inspections

When can I see or talk to an inspector?
Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. and again 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m.
How is my work inspected?

Inspectors will check to make sure the work is done according to code.  Permit holders must call to arrange for each inspection, prior to covering or concealing the work. In most cases, inspections may be performed within one (1) workday of the request. 

Please call (319) 286-5831 to arrange for an inspection or if you have any questions.

Do I need final inspections for my project?
Final inspections on permits are required.  Failure to request a final inspection will result in an additional charge and will hold up issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy.

Permits

Where do I apply for a building permit?
We are located at 500 15th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

Permits are issued from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
When is a permit required?

Generally, building permits are required to erect, alter, enlarge or demolish a structure. Permits are required for work including, but not limited to, new construction, remodeling, repair (other than minor, normal maintenance repairs), re-roofing, and vinyl siding and fence installation. When applicable, separate permits for electrical, plumbing and mechanical work are also required. In addition, any project must also comply with the Zoning Ordinance.

How long does it take to get a permit?

It varies depending upon the type of construction, complexity of the project, and completeness of documents submitted with the application. For simple residential work, such as construction of decks, porches or detached garages, re-roofing and installation of vinyl siding, permits usually are issued over-the-counter. Commercial projects may take up to several weeks to review.

What is the cost of a permit?

Building permit fees are generally based on the total cost of construction and are shown in the Building Permit Fee Table. Exceptions to this are permits for construction of fences, swimming pools, and retaining walls ($25.00 each) and handicap ramps ($10.00 each).

What kind of information is needed to obtain a building permit?
  1. A description of the work to be covered by the permit and the use of the structure.
  2. A site plan identifying existing structures, the location of the proposed work, and their dimensions to property lines, streets, alleys, and easements (if known). NOTE: a site plan is not required for siding, re-roofing, window replacement or interior remodeling permits unless there is a change of use involved.
  3. Plans, diagrams and specifications as required depending upon the scope and complexity of the project. If plans are required, two (2) copies of plans are needed. NOTE: An Iowa architect's or engineer's seal is required on plans for certain commercial projects.
  4. The valuation of the construction work to be covered by the permit.
Is a separate permit required for electrical, mechanical, and plumbing work?

Each construction trade is permitted separately. All work to be performed must be identified including the contractor doing the work. All electrical, mechanical, and plumbing contractors must hold and employ persons licensed with the State of Iowa or qualify for the owner-occupant exemption and will secure its own permit.

Each permit fee will be based on the scope of work for that trade.

Please call 319-286-5831 with any questions.

Can I do my own electrical, mechanical or plumbing work?

Contractors are required to be licensed in order to obtain a permit and perform work in Cedar Rapids.

Home owners may perform work on their principal place of residence if such residence is an existing dwelling (not new construction) and is not larger than a single-family dwelling. The homeowner must qualify for the homestead tax exemption through the City Assessor's Office and pass a standard electrical examination administered by the Building Services Dept. This will allow homeowners to perform electrical work on their primary residence. No testing is required for plumbing and mechanical work.

In addition, the homeowner must also obtain proper permits for the work performed. All work must comply with all applicable codes.

Please call our office at 319-286-5831 with any questions.

Is a permit required to re-roof my house?  How many layers of roofing can I have?

A permit is required for roofing. A maximum of two (2) layers of shingles may be on a roof. If two (2) layers already exist on the roof, they must be torn off before a new layer can be installed.

What is the penalty for failing to obtain the proper permit(s)?

The fee for work performed without a permit shall be doubled but not less than $250. This fee will be assessed if a permit is not issued and work has begun; an investigation fee of $100 per hour may be included. Note this fee can be assessed if work has been performed when the permit is still in the review process but not issued. Please allow enough time for our department to review and issue your permit application.

Please call our office at 319-286-5831 if you have any questions.

May permits be obtained without landlord signature?
An Iowa licensed contractor can pull a permit as the owner's agent
Must a signed lease accompany my permit application?
No
How long is a permit good for?

Permits expire 12 months after issue date.  However, permits may be renewed upon payment of the renewal fee provided that no changes have been made to the original scope of work.

How many days from permit issue must construction begin?

Within 180 days days

How do I know if I'm dealing with a reputable contractor?

Cedar Rapids requires all contractors be licensed in order to obtain a permit and perform work within the city.

Please call our office at 319-286-5831 if you have any questions.

Are contractors required to carry insurance?

In most cases, State law requires contractors carry workers compensation insurance.  A few suggestions:

1.  Ask to see their certificate of insurance.
2.  Ask for at least two (2) references of previous work done; check them out.
3.  Make sure all agreements are in writing.
4.  Do not pay an excessive front-end deposit.
5.  Make sure they have obtained the required permits and have called for/passed the required code inspections.
6.  The contractor should purchase the permit; do not offer to purchase the permit for the contractor.

Please call our office at 319-286-5831 if you have any questions.

Plan Review

What types of submittals are accepted?  How many sets?

Two (2) sets of paper copies are accepted on any size larger than 11x17.

One (1) set of paper copies is accepted on 11x17 or smaller.

Residential plans can be emailed to residential@cedar-rapids.org.  Only PDF format is accepted.

How long is the plan check review?
Minimum 10-14 business days
Do you have an expedited review process?
No.  Commercial plan review involves a number of other City departments such as Development Services, Traffic Engineering and Fire.  Plans are reviewed in the order in which they are received.
© 2016  Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 101 First Street SE

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