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
- Swimming pools (in-ground or above-ground) and spas
- Temporary buildings (construction, etc.)
- 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
- 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?
When do I need a construction permit?
When don't I need a permit?
What if I don't get a permit or do work without a permit?
How long does it take to get a permit?
Do I, as a home owner, need a permit if I remodeling or add improvements to my home?
What about a contractor and do I need one?
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?
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?
What if I have a permit but never called for an inspection?
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?
What do I do when I’m ready for an inspection?
Who should I call if I have questions regarding licenses, tests and investigations of contractors' workmamship?
Who should I call if I have a complaing about or dispute with my builder?
Who do I contact with questions about manufactured homes?
Who do I contact to ask questions about manufactured homes that can be moved into Macon County?
Do I have to talk to zoning before I build?
What building types require stamped drawings?
Who draws up the plans?
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?
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
- 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