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Ky.gov An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Public Protection Cabinet

Kentucky construction site

Division of Building Codes Enforcement
Building Codes

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When is a building permit required?
A: A building permit is required when you intend to construct, enlarge, remodel or change the occupancy of a building, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system.

Note: Not all work requires a building permit. Work such as painting, wallpapering, cabinets and countertops, replacing shingles, window replacement with windows having the same size window opening are examples of work exempt from permit requirements.  If you are unsure whether your project requires a building permit, it is best to call your local building inspection office for guidance or phone the Division of Building Codes Enforcement at 502-573-0373.

Q: Who will issue the building permit?
A: The building permit will be issued by the building inspection office of the authority having jurisdiction. It is important that you understand the Division of Building Codes Enforcement does not issue an actual placard entitled "Building Permit" on projects falling under their jurisdiction. Once plans have been reviewed and determined to comply with applicable code, the Division of Building Codes Enforcement will issue a letter stating the project is released for construction. This release for construction does not release the owner from complying with local planning/zoning requirements or the requirement to obtain a local building permit.
 
Q: What plans do I need to submit for your review?
A: Each construction project is different and the drawings and details necessary vary depending on the scope of work. On Page 6 of the Plan Submission Application Guide you will find a list of drawings, details and documents that may need to be submitted to the Division of Building Codes Enforcement as part of your permit application. Not all the information identified may be applicable to your project. If you have questions, you are encouraged to call the Division of Building Codes Enforcement at 502-573-0373 to ensure you have the right information.
  • All construction plans and details are to be drawn to scale and fully dimensioned.
     
  • If your construction project falls under local jurisdiction, you are encouraged to contact your local building inspector for the information they require to process a building permit.
Q: How many sets of plans do I need to submit?
A:
 When submitting to the Division of Building Codes Enforcement, you only need to submit one set of construction documents. Specialized systems such as fire alarm, sprinkler or range hood drawings may be submitted at a later date by the specific contractor or owner. If you are submitting for a plumbing permit in addition to a building permit, three sets of plumbing plans each with a plan application form shall be submitted. For more information on plumbing permits, visit the Plumbing Division website.   
 
Q: Are there any forms I need to submit with my plans?
A: There are several forms that are important, but none so much as the plan application form If your project is a modular unit (Kentucky Industrialized Building System), you will need to submit the KIBS Site Application Form instead of the plan application form referenced above. This form is to be submitted with each initial plan submission. The form is to be completed with all information pertinent to your project; however, not all items on the application form may be applicable. The building name and address and the name and address of a contact person are of utmost importance. Asking for the name and address of an architect and engineer is not to imply that an architect and engineer are required. If one or both are part of the construction design, we ask that their name and address be provided.
 
Q: Is there a fee I need to pay, and if so, who do I make the check payable to?
A: Plan review / inspection fees are identified in Section 121 of the Kentucky Building Code. Click the fee schedule worksheet that has been developed to assist with calculating the required fee for your project.
 
Q: Are contractors required to be licensed?
A: There are certain aspects of building construction that are required to be performed by a licensed contractor.  Click here for a list those services that are required to be performed by a licensed contractor.
 
Q: Is an architect or engineer required to prepare my construction drawings?
A: KRS 322 and KRS 323 identify when the services of a design professional is required to prepare a set of construction drawings.  Table 122.1 of the Kentucky Building Code is intended to explain when a design professional is required based on the occupancy classification of a building and the building occupant load and/or building area.

Q: Who do I send my plans to?
A:
 If your construction project falls under the jurisdiction of the Division of Building Codes Enforcement, your plans and plan application form will need to be submitted to Building Codes Enforcement.
         
Q: Can I do anything to speed up my plan review?
A: The Division of Building Codes Enforcement has a program called "Fast Track Program" or "Expedited Footing and Foundation Review" that will reduce the amount of time before a site and foundation review can occur.  To apply for an "expedited footing and foundation review," the following steps are to be followed:

  • Construction plans, plan application form,  seismic design data, fire suppression design criteria form and special inspection report shall be received by the close of business on any given Wednesday, and the footing and foundation review will take place that following Friday afternoon. 
      
  • Mark the "expedited footing and foundation" box on the plan application form.
      
  • The plan review fee and expedited fee shall be paid with your plan submission.  Click here for a fee schedule worksheet that has been developed to assist with calculating the required fee for your project.
     
  • It is important to understand that the "Fast Track Program" or "Expedited Footing and Foundation Review" does not guarantee a permit will be issued or the full building plan review will be processed quicker.  This program simply expedites the review of the footing and foundation system.

Q: Do I have to submit plans to the Fire Marshal's Office?
A: No. The Fire Marshal's Office is not responsible for the review or inspection of new structures, renovations, additions or change of occupancy construction projects.