Macon County Georgia

Board of Commissioners' Office
121 South Sumter Street
Oglethorpe, Georgia 31068

Frequently Asked Questions

When is a permit required?

A permit is required for the following projects:

  • New buildings including living structures, storage buildings, boat houses, docks, greenhouses, pole barns (Agricultural or Residential) and screen enclosures
  • Masonry fence walls
  • Re-roofing
  • Swimming pools (in-ground or above-ground) and spas
  • Temporary buildings (construction, etc.)
  • Demolition
  • Room additions
  • Patios and decks
  • Driveways and parking pads
  • Interior alterations and renovations
  • Structural repairs
  • New electrical, plumbing, gas and air-conditioning systems
  • Fire sprinkler systems
  • Security systems
  • Signs
  • Awnings
  • Fireplaces
  • Fire Suppression Hood System

If you are uncertain whether a building permit is required, please contact the Building Department.


Can I do the work myself or do I have to hire a contractor?

Yes, minus a few things. The home owner has to have this as their primary residence and currently reside in the house. A permit is still required and can be obtain from the Macon County Building Department. Please call 478-472-7023 with any additional questions.

What are permits and why do I need one?

Permits are the way Macon County regulates construction. Construction Codes are enforced through the use of permits. Construction Codes have become an important issue for Georgia's local governments, building professionals and citizens alike. The following is a general overview of Georgia's Construction Code Program, including enforcement, local amendments, current codes, and whom to call if you have questions regarding construction codes and related issues in Georgia. By issuing permit the County is able to ensure that all construction in the County is safe and meets the minimum standards that are set by the State of Georgia. The safety of the occupants of buildings is a primary reason for having construction codes. Macon County enforces all the codes that are required by the State of Georgia and has adopted that are not required by the State but that is recommended, among them the International Building, Mechanical and Plumbing, and National Electrical codes. In addition, there are federal, state and local laws that govern construction, such as those covering energy conservation. There are several different types of permits, based on the type of construction that is being conducted: structural, plumbing, mechanical (HVAC), low voltage, and electrical (used for single-family home construction, commercial, and even outdoor recreational camps). In addition, the complete demolition and relocation of buildings also requires permits. There is a few items dealing with the State that has to be completed before certain types of repair, renovations, and demolition is started. Obtaining the permit is just the first step in the process. In this step, you may need to create plans to submit to the department, make a plot plan for your property showing the improvements, and show the type of construction you'll be using. Once plans are approved, you're required to build the project to those plans. If any changes are made to the plans, they must be made with the County’s approval and work order change request must be submitted.

When do I need a construction permit?

A construction permit is needed for all construction, remodeling and repairs. A plumbing, electrical or mechanical permit maybe needed for any addition or changes to a building's existing system; for example, moving or adding an electrical outlet requires a permit. To find out if your project needs a permit, call 478-472-7023.

When don't I need a permit?

A construction permit is not needed for items such as wallpapering, painting or similar finish work. I usually think of this as surface polishing or making it your own. However, reviews may be required from other agencies; be sure to check before proceeding. The Building Department can even help in directing you to those agencies that you might need. An example of this would be in the line of painting and striping a house. There are State requirements on certain aged homes and processes due to the possibility of lead base paints. If the proper procedures are not followed a large fine can be placed on an individual by the State. For plumbing, mechanical and electrical work, replacement or repair of fixtures (such as changing water faucets or replacing switches) does not normally require a permit. Replacing a water heater or adding a permanently wired light fixture does, however, require a permit. So the best thing to do is contact the Building Department and talk about the proposed changes. To determine if your project needs a permit, call 478-472-7023

What if I don't get a permit or do work without a permit?

If a permit, when needed, is not obtained before construction, you have violated the County and the State codes and regulations; you'll be subject to fines and penalties. In addition to any other remedies provided by law, any person, contractor or company commencing any work on a building or structure, mechanical, gas, plumbing, or system electrical system before obtaining the required permit shall be subject to a penalty of 200 percent of the usual permit fee in addition to the required permit fee. You may also be required to remove certain areas of the construction to have certain components inspected or even totally removed. You'll still be required to obtain permits for the work and it must pass inspection, or you'll have to return the structure or site to its original condition. Any person failing to discontinue, correct or abate the violation as ordered by the building official shall be subject to issuance of a court citation to appear in Macon County, Georgia Municipal Court to answer a change of violations and upon conviction shall be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment. Where any offense continues from day to day, each day’s continuance thereof shall be deemed a separate offense. Remember... construction codes were created for safety reasons. Work built without a permit can be unsafe, no matter how good it looks. For more information, call 478-472-7023

How long does it take to get a permit?

Permit issuance periods vary. Some projects can be fully permitted over-the-counter, meaning a return trip won't be needed. Some projects, however, require that plans be left for additional review.

Do I, as a home owner, need a permit if I remodeling or add improvements to my home?

There are many situations requiring permits of some type. So really the best thing is to call with the specific situation to see if one is needed. Home owners thinking about remodeling their home or adding other improvements, such as decks, spas or retaining walls, many times have a number of questions about building permits. This information is designed to give home owners basic knowledge of when construction permits and other approvals are required by Macon County. It also answers some of the most frequently asked questions and offers tips from the County. Since each construction project is unique, we invite you to call 478-472-7023 for answers to your specific questions. You can also e-mail us at .

What about a contractor and do I need one?

There are some jobs that a State Licensed Contractor is not need. This mainly deals with items of repair and no structural elements of a system (This includes electrical, plumbing HVAC and building). “Repair” shall be deemed and construed to mean fixing, mending, maintenance, replacement or restoring of a part or portions of real property to good condition. The repair exception recognized by O.C.G.A. § 43-41-17(g) and this Rule shall in no way impact or diminish the licensing requirements of contractors (Electrical Contracting, Plumbing, Conditioned Air Contracting, Low-Voltage Contracting and Utility Contracting).

What needs to be done if I use a Non-Licensed individual?

A person performing the repair work needs to disclose, in writing, to the owner that such person/entity is not licensed as a residential or general contractor under the Macon County Building and Building Regulations. Make sure the work does not entail the delegation or assignment to or engagement of any person or entity, other than employees, to supervise, manage or oversee the performance of any portion of the work undertaken; The work also does not affect the life safety requirements or structural integrity of the real property. Such repairs shall not include the removal or addition of any load bearing wall or the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load bearing support. The person performing repair still must obtain permits and inspections as required by Macon County.

The Contractors' Licensing Board's telephone number is 478-207-2440. All licensed contractors are required to contact Macon County Building Department to obtain a permit on work that they are doing. If a permit is not required to be purchased then a statement will be issued from the Building Department stating that.

What about inspections and when do they happen?

There are many types of inspections and depends on the job being conducted. To understand what inspections are required for a certain job you can call the Macon County Building Department. In the end inspections are the responsibility of the property owner. You need to make sure that your contractor makes the call, but it is still your responsibility, as the property owner, to make sure the inspections are made. Once the inspection is done an inspection report will be issued and a Letter of Completion or Certificate of Occupancy The will be issued once all the work is completed by the contractor and the account will be closed. Until this letter is complete the property owner still has an open account on the property. Inspections are made during certain points in the project, depending on the work that's being performed. For example, decks require inspections of the footing, framing/attachment to house and when all work is finished. Remember... the project is not complete for legal purposes until it has passed the final inspection.

Who should obtain the permit?

Contractors licensed by the State of Georgia or your agent can obtain permits. The home owner can also obtain the permits for the contractor as long as a letter stating the Contractor’s State License number and the plans for this project. A form for this can be obtained by calling 478-472-7023 and can even be emailed to home owner. It will have to have an original signature of the State Licensed holder and the license number. This is because this licensed holder will be held responsible for the work at the site. It is the responsibility of the property owner to be sure all necessary permits are obtained prior to the start of the project.

Homeowners must also get permits to do work on their primary home. This is because the home owner will be held responsible for the work at the site and will be held responsible for the work even when/if the home is sold.

Where do I get a permit?

Construction permits are issued for the unincorporated areas of Macon County and the City of Oglethorpe at the County Courthouse in Oglethorpe, Georgia on Sumter Street Call 478-472-7023 for information and appointments. The Building Department walk-in hours are 7:00 am to 10:00 am and again 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

What if I have a permit but never called for an inspection?

All permits expire by limitation if work has not begun within six months from the date of permit issuance, or when the work has been discontinued for six months. However, if the owner requests a renewal prior to the expiration of the permit, the permit can be extended for an additional six month period for a fee. A permit may be renewed for only two extension periods. A demolition permit is valid for thirty (30) days. If a permit expires before final inspection, the project is in violation of County Codes and a fine will be enforced. So in the end it is the responsibility of the individual who pulled the permit to call and request an inspection and if this is not done there is no way to tell if all safety and construction issues have been addressed and there might even been issues that were hidden and could create safety issues. Inspections are important for safe and long lasting construction projects.

How many inspections are there?

An inspection is required at various stages of the construction process. The first inspection would probably be a footing inspection before any concrete is poured. If a slab is involved, any plumbing and/or electric installed under that slab would also need inspecting before concrete is poured. The next inspection would be the rough-in inspection, which includes the framing, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and gas systems before any drywall is installed. This also includes an insulation inspection and a fireplace inspection. Sometime between this inspection and the final, a Temp to Perm inspection is required to get permanent power on the structure. Lastly, the final inspection is required when framing, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, driveway and culvert pipe, house number, landscaping and soil erosion measures are to be completed. We will issue a Certificate of Occupancy when approvals from all departments have been received. Then the account/permit can be closed.

What about other approvals or permits?

Other government agencies may need to review and approve your project. The Macon County Building Department will inform you of these reviews at the time plans are submitted. This can also deal with placement of improvements in situations dealing with restrictions that might be placed due to Zoning Ordinances and flood plains areas that are present in Macon County.

What do I do when I’m ready for an inspection?

Call the Macon County Building Inspections Department at (478) 472-7023. The information you need when you call in includes the permit number. Due to the area that is covered this inspection can take up to 72hrs to complete.

Who should I call if I have questions regarding licenses, tests and investigations of contractors' workmamship?

Call the Residential and General Contractors Licensing Board at 478-207-2440 or go to . You can call the Macon County Building Department and this information can be used in the complaint or dispute to the State Authority.

Who should I call if I have a complaing about or dispute with my builder?

Call the Residential and General Contractors Licensing Board at 478-207-2440 or go to . You can call the Macon County Building Department and this information can be used in the complaint or dispute to the State Authority.

Who do I contact with questions about manufactured homes?

Contact the Office of the Georgia Safety Fire Commissioner, Manufactured Housing Division at :( 404) 656-9498 or (404)-656-2070 Toll Free: 800-656-2298 or go to . You can call the Macon County Building Department that can help you with some of this information.

Who do I contact to ask questions about manufactured homes that can be moved into Macon County?

Macon County does have a Minimum Health and Safety Standards for Pre-Owned Manufactured Homes Ordinance that is enforced in the noncommercial areas of the County. This ordinance that was adopted deals with the safety condition and the minimum requirement that a manufactured home must meet once it is brought into the County. You can also contact the Office of the Georgia Safety Fire Commissioner, Manufactured Housing Division at: (404) 656-9498 or (404)-656-2070 Toll Free: 800-656-2298 or go to .

Do I have to talk to zoning before I build?

Yes, This can be done at the Building Department and needs to be done in the planning stage of building due to zoning issues can set boundaries in what and where building can occur. Zoning sets up, within a defined area, the types of buildings and what they will be used for. For example, Rural Residential and Agriculture zones in the county have different required lot sizes. This means that the lots need to be determined before any construction or improvements are made on the property. Zoning is regulated based on maps approved by the County Board of Commissioners. A variance or even a rezoning may be obtained in some cases if a property owner wants to build something not allowed in the property's zone. This will have to go in front of the Macon County Zoning Board and does certain processes that must be followed and take any where from 30 to 90 days or more depending on the issues. Some questions and approvals for zoning can be issued over-the-counter by the same staff that reviews your building plans by the Macon County Building Department. Others need reviews Zoning Board Itself.

What building types require stamped drawings?

Georgia law requires architect or engineer stamped drawings on all group A (Assembly), group E (Education) and group I (Institution) occupancies; on buildings 3 or more stories in height, and on all commercial buildings 5,000 square feet or more in area.

Who draws up the plans?

Plans for projects such as room additions can usually be drawn up by qualified individuals such as architects or engineers licensed by the State of Georgia.

What information do I need to bring to the Building Inspections office to obtain a permit for an accessory building or to remodel or repair?

A: Estimated cost of construction, plans of the project is a good start.

What are the advantages of building codes?

Each one of us relies on the safety of structures that surround us in our everyday living. Building codes provide safeguards and even though no code can eliminate all risks, reducing them to an acceptable level provides for a better living environment. Other advantages would include helping to prevent instant slums, establishing a means of updating property assessments, lower insurance rates, helping in getting state and federal grants and satisfying the requirements of the water conservation act.

  • The permitting/inspections system provides a means of systematically updating property assessments. This is important so that each person within the county community is contributing fairly to the tax base.
  • Building inspections oftentimes result in lower insurance rates. It is getting more difficult to purchase homeowner's insurance on a home that has not been inspected. Rates on homeowner's insurance are based on what is known as an ISO rating. Each locality is graded on a scale of 1 to 10; where 10 is the worst rating, causing insurance premiums to be higher. Much of what the locality is graded on involves permitting, plan review, and a code inspection program. Without these, a higher rating (which is bad) can be expected. The lower the rating is, the better it is.
  • Codes protect the life, health, and property of residents and thus help provide a better living environment. With everyone building on the same level of guidelines, it causes the building market to be strong and fair. It helps to protect the property values of every person in the community by requiring everyone to live up to the same standard as far as construction is concerned.

Wat do I need to bring with me when I come for a residential permit?

Before a permit can be issued you need to provide us a recorded copy of the plat of the property showing lot lines and size of the lot. A copy of the septic tank and well permit (if applicable) issued by Health Department and if the area was a water system, a receipt for a water meter application must also be submitted. General contractors and licensed subcontractors on the job MUST be the permit holders and sign the permit application. HOWEVER, a homeowner can be their own contractor so long as they do not hire licensed sub-contractors. All contractors, either homeowners or licensed, must bring in the necessary self-work and contractor affidavits at time of permitting. These affidavits must have original signatures. Faxed copies will be accepted.


What is the procedue for obtaining a commercial permit?

The first step is to obtain a soil erosion permit if needed due to the amount of area that is being disturbed. The second step is to contact the Planning and Zoning Department and go through their PR (Plan Review) process. After the PRC process is complete, you are ready to apply for the Plan Review and Building Permit. Application needs to be filled out and fees paid along with 1) three complete sets of Architectural, Structural, Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC plans stamped and signed by the appropriate engineers (if needed). These all have to be turned in to the Building Inspections Department in order to be reviewed by the appropriate personnel. The plans are then reviewed for code compliance and when all conditions have been met, the building permit can be issued. Soil Erosion plans are required for sites disturbing more than one acre, within 200 feet of a stream, or unless exempted.

What codes are currently being enforced in Macon County?

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is the mandating department for setting Georgia State Minimum Standard Codes

Georgia Amendments to the Mandatory State Minimum Standard Codes:

  • International Building Code (IBC), 2012 Edition
  • International Residential Code (IRC), 2012 Edition 
  • International Fire Code (IFC), 2012 Edition 
  • International Plumbing Code (IPC), 2012 Edition
  • International Mechanical Code (IMC), 2012 Edition 
  • International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) 
  • National Electrical Code (NEC), 2011 Edition
  • International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), 2009 Edition

Permissive Codes

  • International Property Maintenance Code
  • International Private Sewage Disposal Code,

The Georgia State Fire Marshal's Office (GSFMO) is currently enforcing codes and standards found, and modified, in 120-3-3. In that document, effective January 30 2014, we adopted the 2012 edition of NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, the 2013 edition of NFPA 13, and the 2012 edition of the International Fire Code.




What information do I need to bring to the Building Inspections office to obtain a permit to place a manufactured home on private property?

  • Septic tank permit and well permit (unless on county /city water) from the Environmental Health Department
  • Square Footage of the home
  • A copy of the contract for the home
  • Provide copy of Manufacture Home Installer State License

Where applicable, a copy of the Manufacture Housing Permit issued by the Office of Insurance & Safety Fire Commissioner shall be placed in the electrical panel before issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy

What information do I need to bring to the Building Inspections office to obtain a permit for an addition to an existing home?

  • Square Footage of the addition
  • If adding a bedroom, a certification from Environmental Health that the septic system can handle the addition

Are there any restrictions on the placement of accessory structures?

All accessory structures are required to be placed in either the side or rear yard. They are not allowed in front yard except in AR-1 and AR-2 zones that have 5 acres or more

When do I call for an inspection?

There are three main inspections:

  • Footing (which includes inspection for temporary power pole, if separate additional fee required)
  • Framing (which includes rough plumbing, rough electrical, and rough heating/air)
  • Final (inspection to receive certificate of occupancy)
  • In addition, houses built on slabs will receive an additional plumbing inspection

What building codes are currently adopted by Macon County?

  • International Building Code, 2012 Edition, with Georgia Amendments
  • International Residential Code, 2012 Edition, with Georgia Amendments
  • International Fire Code, 2012 Edition, with Georgia Amendments
  • International Plumbing Code, 2012 Edition, with Georgia Amendments
  • International Mechanical Code, 2012 Edition, with Georgia Amendments
  • International Fuel Gas Code, 2012 Edition, with Georgia Amendments
  • National Electrical Code, 2011 Edition, with Georgia Amendments

How soon can I start my job?

You may begin construction once your project has received full plan approval and the permit has been paid for and issued.  

How do I get my Certificate of Occupancy?

You must schedule a Final Inspection.  Once the project has been completed and ALL inspections have been passed, you will receive a Certificate of Occupancy / Certificate of Completion.

Can I get a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy for my project?

Yes.  Life safety issues need to be addressed prior to requesting a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO).  Additional fees are required for the issuance of a TCO.  If you wish to inquire about the suitability of a TCO for your project, please contact your inspector.

Do I need a permit for roofing or siding replacement?

If structural work is involved, such as replacing sheathing, rafters, trusses, or studs, a  permit is required and might have to be done by a State Licensed Contractor. If no structural work is to be performed, roofing and siding work a permit is still required.

Do I need a permit to build or replace my deck or finish my basement?

Yes. There are numerous code issues involving deck construction and basement finishes.

Do I need a permit to build a retaining wall?

Yes, Retaining walls over four feet high must be engineered and permitted. Walls greater than 6-feet require Certification from Engineer that the wall was constructed in accordance with the approved construction plans

Do I need a permit for an above-ground/on-ground pool?

A permit is not required for pre-manufactured above-ground/on-ground pools which do not require excavation for installation (beyond leveling the ground surface). However, you need to be aware of the following for placement of such structure at your residence.

Must maintain minimum 10-foot offset from side and rear property lines behind house; Cannot place the pool or grade area in close proximity to the location of septic system tank and field lines (State Environmental Health Office: 770-443-7877); Must follow applicable code sections with respect to pool (barrier, ladder, power)

Are separate permits required? If so, why?

Yes. Georgia law, O.C.G.A. 43-14, requires all persons contracting or performing for hire any plumbing, electrical, low voltage, heating-air conditioning or utility work in Georgia to be duly and currently licensed by the Georgia State Construction Industry Licensing Board for that work. The purpose of this is to regulate building and construction in the Macon County, to provide for the administration and enforcement of the Georgia State Minimum Standard Codes and to establish procedures for the permitting and inspection of buildings within the Macon County. This requirement is also required of homeowners attempting the work themselves.

Why do I have to get my electrical service inspected if my service was discontinued for any reason?

In the unincorporated areas of Macon County and the City of Oglethorpe an electrical inspection and permit is required on all new electrical services, electrical upgrade and when electrical service is off for more than 30 days (for any reason). This makes it so possible for the Macon County Building Department to advise, inspect and insure that service are brought up to code. In this way we are able to remove hazards and unsafe services that can be present due to in property installation, damage, or ware that might have occurred over time. There is a large number of unsafe and improperly installed and maintained electrical services in our area that could create fire and safety issues and this provides a time that these issues can be corrected.

For additional information or specific questions: Please call 478-472-7023 or contact us by e-mail.

When is a permit not required?

Work exempt from a permit is the following. Exemption from the requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.

  • One-story detached accessory structures provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet (18.58 square meters).
  • Fences not over 6 feet (1829mm) high.
  • Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet (1219mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge.
  • Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18927 L) and the ration of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.
  • Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches (762mm) above adjacent grade and not over any basement or story below.
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work unless this is part of a cutting and total remodel of a structure.
  • Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches (610mm) deep.
  • Swings and other playground equipment accessory to a one-, two-, or three-family dwelling.
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which does not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and does not require additional support.

If you are uncertain whether a building permit is required, please contact the Building Department.


What inspections are required for utilities?

Macon County requires inspections to turn on services that have been disconnected for 30 days or more.  A permit IS required for us to do the inspection.


What electrical modifications or improvements require an inspection?

We provide inspections for:

  • Service Releases
  • Temporary Services
  • Service Upgrades
  • Reconnection of Service
  • Pivot Installations
  • Well Installations

Do I need a permit to build a pool?

Yes, you do need a permit to construct a pool.

Do I need to become a registered contractor when I am working in Macon County?

This question is being updated.

What forms will I need to complete to become a registered contractor in Macon County?

The answer to this question is being updated.

Who answers my flood plain question?

Contact the Building Official at the Building Department. 478-478-7023

Do I need a permit to build a barn or any other building used directly for agricultural purposes?

An agricultural building is not exempted from Building Permit

Am I required to show proof of Workers' Compenstation when I am requesting to be a contractor in Macon County?

YES, but it depends on the number of individual that are working with the company Under the state law, any employer with more than three employees is required to provide compensation to employees in case of accident or injury. Coverage must be extended to an individual as soon as they are employed.

When a contractor registers in Macon County is he or she required to have general liability insurance or be bonded?


  • General contractors and residential contractor must also show proof of having a minimum of $500,000 in general liability insurance for each occurrence. Applicants with employees must also have workers' compensation insurance General contractor applicants must submit a notarized letter from a licensed CPA (Certified Public Accountant) verifying the applicant has a minimum net worth of $150,000, or have a $150,000 bonded letter.
  • Residential-light commercial license applicants must also have $300,000 in liability insurance. Residential contractors must show the bank accounts under which they have operated their business for the 24 months prior to applying for licensure, or a $25,000 line of credit, or a $25,000 bonded letter.
  • Limited-tier general contractors and qualifying agent general contractors must show proof of having $500,000 in general liability insurance. Limited-tier general contractors and qualifying agent general contractors must show proof of having a net worth of $25,000, or a $25,000 bonded letter