Construction FAQ

Buildings Permit Requirement General Information

The Structural Division reviews construction documents and bases compliance on the following State of Michigan Construction Codes:

  • The 2012 Michigan Building Code, which includes Michigan Barrier-Free Design Rules
  • The 2012 Michigan Rehabilitation Code for Existing Buildings
  • The 2009 Michigan Uniform Energy Code


Refer to the State Web site at :
Copies of these codes can be purchased from the Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED). Please check the availability by contacting the cashier at (313) 224-3169.

Review of construction documents

The review of construction documents for compliance with the respective codes listed above  takes about one to three business days from the time the structural plan reviewer receives  the drawings and specifications for average jobs. The length of time for plan review may be  longer for larger and complex projects. Please ensure that the construction documents  contain all the required data. This will help avoid delays and/or corrections.

Submittal Requirements
  1. The design of the building and/or facility and preparation of construction documents shall be done by a licensed architect or professional engineer registered with the State of Michigan. Furnish seal and signature of the responsible architect/professional engineer on all pages of the construction documents, as well as the front page or top cover of specifications and calculations. Provide 3 complete sets of construction drawings; 1 set of calculations and 1 complete set of specifications. (MBC 2012 Sec. 107)
  2. Provide a complete site plan showing all existing and proposed structures. Indicate distances and locations of lot/property lines, widths of streets, rights-of-way, etc. (MBC 2012 Sec. 107)
  3. Obtain a soil erosion and sedimentation control permit (if required) from Wayne County Department of Public Environment, Land Resource Management Division, 3600 Commerce Court, Building “E” Wayne, Michigan, 48184. The telephone number is (734) 326-3936, and the fax number is (734) 326-4421 (Part 91 of Act 451, Public Acts of 1994).
  4. Submit a copy of the geotechnical investigation and analysis report by a licensed professional engineer. This should show the recommended foundation design. Show the presumptive soil bearing capacity. (MBC 2012 Sec. 1803)
  5. Indicate type of construction of the proposed building, fire resistance rating of all structural elements and the U.L./Approved Agency Label rating number to substantiate the fire resistance rating. (MBC 2012 Sec. 602, 703, 705 and 1703)
  6. Identify the Use Group classification of the proposed building, occupancy of all parts of the building, and include the number of occupants on every floor (including basements) and all rooms and spaces. (MBC 2012 Sec. 302 and 1004)
  7. Show how the proposed building meets the height and area limitations. (MBC 2012 Chapt. 5)
  8. Show the arrangement of egress on all floors. (MBC 2012 Chapt. 10)
  9. Indicate full compliance with the State of Michigan Barrier Free Design Rules. Provide adequate details on the construction documents. (MBC 2012 Chapt. 11)
  10. Show the required minimum construction details for all penetrations and roof construction (MBC 2012 Sec. 714 and Chapt. 15)
  11. Furnish the information pertinent to the structural design. (MBC 2012 Sec. 1603)
    1. Floor live loads
    2. Roof live loads
    3. Roof snow loads (flat roof snow load, snow exposure factor and snow load importance
    4. Wind load (basic wind speed, wind load importance factor, wind exposure and wind design pressure)
    5. Earthquake design data (Peak velocity-related acceleration, peak acceleration, seismic hazard exposure group, seismic performance category, soil profile type, the basic structural system and seismic resisting system, response modification factor, deflection amplification factor and the analysis procedure utilized)
    6. Other loads e.g. concentrated loads, impact loads and special loads. (MBC 2012 Chapt. 16)
  12. Provide pertinent design and construction details related to concrete, masonry, steel
    and wood construction. (MBC 2012 Chapt. 35)
Building Codes, Ordinances and Acts

Building Codes and Ordinances are as follows, but are not limited to:

  • 2012 Michigan Building Code
  • 2015 Michigan Residential Code
  • 2012 Michigan Rehabilitation Code for Existing Buildings
  • 2009 Michigan Uniform Energy Code
  • Zoning Ordinance (City of Detroit)
  • Ordinance 290-H (Wrecking)

For information about trade codes, please contact the appropriate division:

  • Electrical 313-224-3228
  • Mechanical 313-224-0113
  • Plumbing 313-224-3118
  • Elevators 313-224-9401

Due to the large number of Building Codes and Ordinances, copies may obtained at:

City Clerk's Office
Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
2 Woodward Ave. - Suite 200
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 224-3260 (office)
(313) 224-1466 (fax)

Certificate of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy(C of O) is issued as required by the Michigan Building Code where a building permit has been issued and work has been completed in compliance with current codes. A C of O is issued by the Construction Inspection Division for New Construction, Major Renovations, Change of Use and to Establish a New Use (as in a tenant build out).

10 Facts for Obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy:

  1. Building permits obtained for new construction, to establish or change use, or major renovations require a certificate of occupancy.
  2. In most cases, a certificate of occupancy requires inspections by ALL disciplines which includes buildings, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and elevators (if applicable). If no changes or permits were obtained in these areas, special (survey) inspections may be required.
  3. Before requesting a certificate of occupancy, please be certain that inspections in ALL disciplines have been approved.
  4. Inspections are valid up to one year, otherwise a re-inspection may be required.
  5. Request for Certificate of Occupancy should be submitted via email, fax or in person in Room 408. 
  6. Applicant information (contractor, company/owner or authorized person) must be on the request form as it appears on the building permit.
  7. Please provide ALL permit numbers pertaining to a projects on the certificate of occupancy request form.
  8. Addresses on ALL permits must correspond.
  9. Please indicate specific building location, floor, suite # or area if applicable.
  10. Please fill out application COMPLETELY. Information requested on the form must be provided. Incomplete request forms may result in delayed processing.

For questions regarding Certificate of Occupancy, contact the Construction Division at Sanders Lee (313) 628-2711   [email protected] or Derek Rollins (313) 628-2712   [email protected]

Wrecking License Procedures

Wrecking License Procedures

The City of Detroit has two wrecking licenses available. A “Class B” wrecking license limits wrecking to buildings of three (3) stories in height or 35 feet. A “Class A” wrecking license allows wrecking of all buildings. Click here to review Wrecking Class Definitions and Requirements.

Applicants for license must be approved by the Board of Examiners for Wrecking Contractors and have a minimum of three years wrecking supervisory experience (Foreman-Superintendent-Supervisor) is mandatory to qualify for a wrecking license in Detroit. Experience up to two (2) years may be extended to anyone who possesses a degree or registration as an architect or civil engineer. All employers listed on your application are required to provide the department with an Employment Affidavit.

If you were self employed and operating your company in some other area, you can provide evidence of experience by submitting the following supporting documentation:
  • Copies of wrecking permits, weather cards or other copies and permit applications signed by you and listing your company as the prime contractor.
  • Affidavits from clients or customers whose buildings you have demolished. We will not accept testimonial letters of character. This information shall be noted in the same format as the Employment Affidavit.
  • Copies of Workman's Compensation audits submitted by your firm.
  • Prior tax records.

The Board of examiners usually meets the second Wednesday of each month. However, a special meeting can be called when necessary. Only properly completed applications will be accepted for processing. All required application forms and support documentation must be secured and assembled by the applicant prior to submitting for the Wrecking Board for approval. Application package must be submitted 14 days prior to any scheduled board meeting, to be considered for that meeting.

Exam fee is $86.00 and license fee is $302.00. All Wrecking licenses expire December 31st of each year.

Wrecking Class Definitions 

CLASS A RESTRICTED Contractor permitted to wreck all non-residential structures
CLASS A UNRESTRICTED* Contractor can wreck all buildings
CLASS B RESTRICTED Contractor can wreck non-residential structures and buildings not to exceed 3 stories or 35 feet in height and buildings of wood frame and solid masonry, (no reinforced concrete or steel frame)
CLASS B UNRESTRICTED* Contractor can wreck wood, frame and solid masonry buildings and structures not to exceed 3 stories or 35 feet in height. Residential and non-residential buildings and structures are included.

Wrecking Class Insurance and Bond Requirements
Class A & B  
Security Bond $50,000.00
Workmen's Compensation  
Class B  
Death one person $100,000.00
Death over one $300,000.00
Property $100,000.00
Class A  
Death one person $250,000.00
Death over one $500,000.00
Property $250,000.00
Code enforcement information

The purpose of the Michigan Building Code is to establish the minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety and general welfare through structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, adequate light and ventilation, energy conservation, and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment and to provide safety to fire fighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.

The legal occupancy of any structure existing on the date of adoption of the code shall be permitted to continue without change, except as is specifically covered in the code, or by the building official for the general safety and welfare of the occupants and the public

Where it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of the code, or where the building official has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a structure or upon a premises a condition which is contrary to or in violation of the code which makes the structure or premises unsafe, dangerous or hazardous, the building official is authorized to enter the structure or premises at reasonable times to inspect or to perform the duties imposed by the code, provided that if such structure or premises be occupied that credentials be presented to the occupant and entry requested. If such structure or premises is unoccupied, the building official shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other persons having charge or control of the structure or premises and request entry. If entry is refused, the building official shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry.

The issuance or granting of a permit shall not be construed to be a permit for, or an approval of, any violation of any of the provisions of the code or of any other ordinance of the City of Detroit, nor does permits issued based on construction documents and other data found to be in error shall not prevent the building official from requiring the correction of errors in the documents. The building official is authorized to prevent occupancy or use of a structure where in violation of the code or of any other ordinances of the City of Detroit.

It is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to violate a provision of the code or fail to conform with any of the requirements thereof, or erect, construct, alter, extend, repair, move, remove, demolish, or occupy any building, structure, or equipment regulated by the code, or cause work t b e performed or done, in conflict with or in violation of the approved construction documents or directive of the code. A violator of the code shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00), or imprisonment of not more than 90 days, or both.

What are the Inspection Types?

Construction Permit Inspections
Dangerous Buildings Inspection Types

  • Demolition Permits
  • Dangerous Building Complaints
  • Demolition Clearance

Electrical Inspection Types

  • Annual
  • Fire Alarm
  • Business License
  • Rough Overtime
  • Special Events
  • Investigation
  • Re-inspection
  • Final
  • Electrical Service Reconnect

Elevator Inspection Types

  • Permit
  • Annual
  • Biennial
  • Special

Mechanical Inspection Types & Basic Requirements

  • Biennial
  • Business License
  • Final
  • Fire Alarm
  • Fire Suppression
  • Information
  • Investigation
  • Overtime (after hours)
  • Re-inspection
  • Rough
  • Special or Shop
  • Permit
  • Major on-going project
  • Complaint against contractor

Plumbing Inspection Types & Basic Information

  • Sewer Inspection (Outside Storm/Sanitary Piping)
  • Storm Drains Inspection (Inside Storm Drain and Building Drain Inspections)
  • Plumbing Division Rough Plumbing Inspection
  • Plumbing Division Water Distribution Inspection
  • Plumbing Division Final Inspection
  • Plumbing Division Information Inspection
  • Plumbing Division Complaint Inspection
  • Plumbing Division Cross Connection Control Inspection

Property Maintenance Inspection Types

  • Property Maintenance Residential Inspection
  • Property Maintenance Commercial Inspection
  • Property Maintenance Zoning Compliance Inspection