Frequently Asked Questions

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Department of Building, Engineering and Transportation

Who is the residential building inspector?

Jacob Strange is the residential building inspector and can answer your residential building code/inspection questions.

Who is the commercial/industrial building inspector?

Ed Rudolphi or Jacob Strange can answer building code/inspection questions about non-residential structures.

Does the building department distribute permits for signs?

The building department does not issue permits for signs.  Contact Terry Jones in the Planning & Zoning Department for sign permits.

What types of work do I need a residential building permit for?


  1. Any new construction or relocation of an existing structure.
  2. Remodeling that involves changes in the structural integrity of the home.
    1. Examples of this are adding walls to an existing home or making structural changes to exterior load-bearing walls.
  3. Room additions.
    1. Covered patios and screened porches are included in this category.
  4. Storage buildings, mini-barns, and detached garages over 200 square feet in area.
  5. Decks and gazebos.
  6. In-ground and above-ground swimming pools.
  7. Spas and hot tubs located on the exterior of the home.
  8. Electrical upgrades and new electrical installations.
  9. New wood burning stove and fireplace installations in existing homes or buildings.
  10. Converting fuel or energy sources for furnaces and water heaters.
    1. An example of this is replacing an electric furnace in favor of a gas furnace.
  11. Construction trailers.
  12. Any demolition work performed on either a primary or an accessory structure.
    1. Depending on the status of the structure, an environmental report may be required to be submitted with the permit application package.

Always keep in mind that other considerations including zoning restrictions, covenants, flood zone issues, drainage and utility easements, and septic and well issues may require some type of permit.

What is the process for developing a commercial/industrial project in Plainfield?

Public Hearings

This process typically starts with a public hearing(s) before the Plainfield Plan Commission and/or Board of Zoning Appeals. For this step, contact Joe James or Jill Sprague to determine if your property and/or project will require any hearings. They will continue to be your contacts throughout the public hearing process.

Construction Plan approval will be required before any actual permits are issued. This can sometimes begin taking place at the same time as or at least during the process of getting public hearing approval. Patty Seymour can help you begin the process of Construction Plan Review.


Once approved by the Plan Commission or Board of Zoning Appeals, you move on to the permitting process. As mentioned above, the first portion of this process involves a review of your Construction Plans and may have already taken place. If not, submit your Construction Plans first.

You may submit the paperwork necessary for an Improvement Location Permit (ILP) and/or Building Permit at the same time. Typically this is not done until after approval at any required public hearings. Submit any ILP applications/paperwork to Jill Sprague. Ed Rudolphi will collect the Building Permit application and plans.

You should note that the permitting process has a definite order to it. ILP approval will not be granted until the Construction Plans have been approved, however, the process of getting the ILP approved may occur before Construction Plan approval.

The Building Permit is reviewed by the Building Commissioner and the Fire Marshal. These reviews are not typically performed until the ILP is approved. The review can sometimes be partially expedited if you request a foundation permit. Additionally, a building permit will not be issued until an address has been assigned to a property. Contact Jill Sprague for addressing requests/questions.


Inspections will take place during construction with the Fire Marshal and a Building Inspector present. They will inspect a structure for Building and Fire Code Compliance. Contact Ed Rudolphi to set up these inspections.

Once the structure and site work are completed, Jill Sprague will conduct an inspection of the property to ensure that all zoning requirements (e.g. landscaping, exterior lighting, parking, etc.) are in compliance. Contact her when the site is ready for this inspection.

Once all inspections show that a project is in compliance you will be issued a Certificate of Zoning Compliance and the project will be complete!

Click on the pdf icon above for contact information for various parties that you may need to contact for questions, reviews, and/or inspections.

When are permits required?

You are required to obtain a permit or permits for the construction; placement, relocation, addition, alteration, structural modification or remodel of new or existing structure and for the demolition, wrecking or removal of a structure.     

However, there are projects that you may perform without a permit. Examples of work you may perform without a permit are:

  1. Replacement of doors and windows, if you are not changing the size of the opening structurally.
  2. Installation and replacement of siding, soffit, trim, storm doors, storm windows and thermal insulation.
  3. Installation and replacement of cupboards, cabinets, shelves, painting, papering, wall and floor coverings.
  4. Replacement of an attic fan, bathroom exhaust fan, range hood exhaust fan or whole house fan.
  5. Replacement of appliances, fixtures, traps and valves in an existing plumbing system.
  6. Replacement of a water heater with one that is identical as to venting arrangement and type of fuel or energy input.
Do I need a permit to build a storage building

When a building is over (200) square feet it requires a building permit and must comply with the building code and zoning ordinances. No permit is required for a portable storage building under (200) square feet (12x16), this applies only when they are not placed on or attached to a permanent foundation and the structure does not contain electrical, heating or cooling connections or equipment, but regardless of the structures size and the lack of a permit, the placement of the building still must conform to the zoning setback requirements along with any drainage and utility easement requirements for the location of the proposed structure. (Restrictive Covenants may be applicable, check with your Homeowners Association)

Do I need a permit to build a fence?

No building permit is required for the construction of a fence. But the placement needs to comply with the Plainfield Zoning ordinance, please contact the Zoning Department for those requirements. Basically a fence should not interfere or negatively affect the intended purpose or use of an easement.  (Restrictive Covenants may be applicable, check with your Homeowners Association.)

Do I need a permit to re-roof my house?

You do not need a permit, if you are simply tearing off the existing or adding a layer of shingles.  (The 1 & 2 Family Building Code states, you may add up to three (3) layers of shingles before you have to remove the shingles on any pitch or slope of roofing.)  If you reconfigure or reconstruct the pitch or slope of the existing roof with new or additional structural materials you will need a permit.

Do I need a permit to build a pool in my yard?

 You will need a pool permit; if none inflatable pool is over 18 inches in depth. The following requirements also apply: The pool or tub area shall be enclosed by either: a fence or other structural barrier equipped with a self-closing, self-latching gate; or a safety pool cover. If a structural barrier is utilized, such structural barrier shall be a chain-link, ornamental or solid fence or wall, and: if erected on grade, the fence shall be not less than four (4) feet in height: or, if erected on the deck of an above ground pool or hot tub, the fence or structural barrier on the deck shall be not less than thirty-six (36) inches in height.

Who should purchase and Apply for the Permit

If you are the one who is going to do the work, you should be the one to purchase and apply for the permit. If a contractor is hired to do the work, the contractor should be the one to purchase and apply for the permit. Whoever purchases the permit is responsible for the work and its compliance with Town's Building Codes and Ordinances. Therefore, permits should be pulled only by the parties doing the work. Written authorization must be given to allow any other agent to act in behalf of the contractor or homeowner doing the work.