Construction Inspection FAQs

Building Codes, Ordinances, and Acts


Detroit Code of Ordinances - Chapter 8 - Buildings and Building Ordinances

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

  • 2015 Michigan Building Code
  • 2015 Michigan Residential Code
  • 2015 Michigan Rehabilitation Code for Existing Buildings
  • 2019 City Detroit City Code

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 a large number of Building Codes and Ordinances, copies may be 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 include 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 for 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 project 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 the 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 three wrecking licenses available. A “Class B” and a “Class C” wrecking license limits wrecking to buildings of three (3) stories in height or 35 feet. A “Class C” wrecking license is limited to residential only. The third license type is a “Class A” license that allows wrecking of all buildings.

Applicants for licensing must be approved by the Board of Examiners for Wrecking Contractors. A minimum of three years of 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 Wrecking Contractor Examiners usually meets on the third Wednesday of every other 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, assembled, and completed by the applicant before submitting them to the Wrecking Board for approval. The application package must be completed and submitted at least 14 days before any scheduled board meeting, to be considered for that meeting.

The Wrecking Board's initial hearing fee is $329.00, the exam fee is $86.00, and the license fee is $302.00. All Wrecking licenses expire on 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.


CLASS C* Contractor can wreck residential buildings up to 35 feet in height. Must have minimum experience of wrecking (5) five houses as part of qualifying. The (3) three-year requirement has been removed, providing a shorter window for getting into the wrecking business in the City of Detroit.


Wrecking Class Insurance and Bond Requirements

Class A, B, & C  
Security Bond $50,000.00
Workmen's Compensation  
Class B & C  
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 firefighters 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 approval of, any violation of any of the provisions of the code or 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 wherein violation of the code or 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 to be 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 Inspection

Boiler Inspections Types

  • Permit
  • Annual
  • Special inspections
  • Complaint inspection
  • Investigation Inspection


 Buildings Inspection Types

  • Rough
  • Final
  • Fire Alarm/Generator
  • Complaints also State complaint
  • Demolition Permits
  • Special Events
  • Special inspections


Electrical Inspection Types

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


Elevator Inspection Types

  • Permit
  • Annual
  • Biennial
  • Special
  • Accident Investigations


Mechanical Inspection Types & Basic Requirements

  • Biennial
  • Rough
  • Final
  • Fire Alarm
  • Fire Suppression
  • Investigation
  • Re-inspection
  • 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)
  • Rough Plumbing Inspection
  • Water Distribution Inspection
  • Final Inspection
  • Information Inspection
  • Complaint Inspection
  • Cross Connection Control Inspection
Certificate of Acceptance

A Certificate of Acceptance, or C of A, is issued on work performed under a permit. When a contractor or homeowner completes work on a building, the work is then inspected as required by a Buildings and Safety Inspector. When the inspection has been approved, a Certificate of Acceptance can be sent to the customer through U.S. mail, email, or picked up in person at Suite 408, CAYMC. The C of A is issued for approved permitted work under all six (6) disciplines: Buildings, Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, Elevators, and Boilers.

Homeowners' Trade Permits

Homeowners can pull trade permits themselves with the proper documentation.


The homeowner needs to provide the:

  • location
  • homeowner's information (name, address, city, state, zip code, phone number, and email address (if possible)), and
  • proof of ownership, such as a driver's license with the current location that you are pulling the permit, a copy of the deed, or a copy of rental registration if the homeowner plans to rent the property and not live in it themselves.


Homeowner permits have to be signed off by the trade supervisor.


Homeowners' permits can only be pulled for Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing. A contractor is needed when pulling permits for commercial property or multi-family dwellings (2-family dwellings & up)