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Building Frequently Asked Questions


Answers to these question are general in nature and may not apply to your specific situation. For specific answers to your questions feel free to contact the Building Department at (614) 525-3166.

How do I know if I need a Building Permit?

You must obtain a building permit for any of the following activities:
  • Interior alteration (residential)
  • Replacement of doors, windows, roofing and/or siding (residential)
  • Building New House
  • Building Modular House
  • Building Detached Garage/Pole Barn
  • Building Deck
  • Building Swimming Pool
  • Building Sun Room/Porch
  • Building any accessory structure greater than 200 sq.ft
  • Moving a Structure
  • Demolition of a Structure

Who can apply for a Building permit?

A homeowner, contractor, or individual acting as the owner's agent may apply for a building permit. Heating and Electrical permits are required to be obtained by a contractor licensed with the Franklin County Development Department or by the homeowner.

Do I need to have a contractors license to work in Franklin County?

You do not need a Contractor's License to obtain a structural building permit to work in unincorporated Franklin County, however to perform electrical, heating, or plumbing work you must possess a valid license.

Do I need an architect or engineer to draw my plans?

It is not necessary to have an architect or an engineer prepare the drawings for most building projects, occasionally stamped drawings are required if the project involves non-standard construction methods or excessive or unusual design considerations.

How many sets of drawing do I need for a building permit?

You will be required to supply two sets of structural drawings and two plot plans drawn to scale when you apply for your permit. You may contact County Auditor at 525-3200 for plot plan.

Do I need separate Heating or Electrical permits?

Yes, electrical, heating, plumbing, well, and septic all require separate permits. Generally the contractor performing the work applies for the permit as the owners agent. In this way we a able to verify the validity of the contractors license. An owner may obtain a homeowner's permit if performing the work themselves after signing an affidavit to that effect.

What Code do you use?

For Franklin County Building Code, refer to the 2013 Residential Code of Ohio (RCO). You can also obtain the 2013 RCO from any of the Public Libraries or online

How deep do my footings need to be to be below the frostline?

Footings must be at least 32" below finish grade.

How big do my footings need to be?

For a typical 8" block or poured wall foundation the footings must be at least 8" thick and 16" wide. A typical pad supporting a basement or crawlspace column must be 12" thick and 36" square.

What is Foundation Waterproofing and when is it required?

Foundation Waterproofing is any of a number of code approved methods for treating the exterior of the foundation wall to prevent the passage of water through the foundation wall. This is different from the code approved dampproofing method of parging the block and applying a bituminous coating.

A waterproofing system is required on all basement foundations with below grade habitable space, this means any room that is designated for anything other than storage. As a rule of thumb, if you will be installing drywall or any other interior wall coverings, then waterproofing is required. The Waterproofing system must be ICC approved.


What is an "Egress Window"?

Most window manufacturers have windows that are designated "Egress Windows" that meet the following code requirements:

An Egress window is a window that is required to be installed in all sleeping rooms approved for emergency egress or rescue. The window must be operable from the inside to a full clear opening without the use of a key or tool. Where windows are provided as a means of egress or rescue they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches above the floor. All egress windows from sleeping rooms must have a net clear opening of 5.7 square feet. The minimum net clear opening height shall be 22 inches. The minimum net clear opening width shall be 20 inches.


What is a Bonding Inspection?

An Electrical Bonding inspection is required on all hot tub, spa, and swimming pool installations. It insures that all of the metal components including ladders, lights, motors, and reinforcing steel is properly tied together to form an equipotential bond to eliminate voltage gradient. The inspection must be made prior to obtaining a footing inspection for an inground pool installation.

Do I need a permit for an above ground swimming pool?

You do not need to obtain a building permit for an above ground pool, but a Zoning Compliance is required for any pool.

How long is a permit valid?

A permit is valid for a period of up to one year at which time it may be renewed.

Where do I get a plumbing permit?

Plumbing, Well and Septic Permits can be obtained at the Franklin County Public Health at: 280 East Broad Street, Columbus 43215 Tel: 614) 525-3160.

How do I know if my property is in a township or a municipality?

The easiest way to find out the jurisdiction in which your property is located is to contact our office with the correct property address. Alternatively, you can visit the Franklin County Auditor's web site and search the property data base yourself. Searches can be performed by owner name, address, or Parcel ID number.