Instigating safety measures for building construction has been a priority for civilization through recorded history. In the United Sates, developing regulations for building was underway even during the presidencies of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
Two centuries later at the start of a new millennium, buildings are erected with much regard to standards of public health and safety. Codes assist in safeguarding against fire, structural defects and deterioration of the building stock. They also help to insure that construction is energy-efficient.
An important element behind the success of these codes is the establishment of a workable relationship between the code enforcement officials and community groups that they serve.
Such groups include homeowners, developers, urban planners and designers plus construction industry representatives.
This relationship serves as a means of not merely enforcing the building code, but also enables local government to remain responsive to the community’s needs for both public and private construction.
This webpage has been prepared to provide better understanding of how the building permit process operates.
On a practical level, a building code is the government's official statement on building safety. For technical purposes, it is a compendium of laws and ordinances setting minimum safety standards and arranged in a systematic manner (codified) for future reference.
The code takes into account plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems along with essential fire and structural aspects.
A building permit serves as formal and legal permission to start any construction project. The issuance of a building permit indicates that plans for a new structure, addition, renovation, foundation, plumbing, air conditioning or heating system, fireplace, prefabricated structure, temporary building or mobile home have been approved by local government officials and that the plans comply with mandated building codes and zoning laws.
An application for a building permit is available through the local building department or municipal building official. You may also complete and download permit application forms through the State of NJ websit athe following link: Permits. In addition to the completed application, sketches, building drawings, plans or other documents must be submitted for review.
A fee or charges for services including water connection and surveys may be required of the applicant. In select cases, an architect or engineer will be needed to design the building and prepare necessary drawings and detailed plans.
Homeowners may be led to believe that submitting an application for a building permit could cause unnecessary and costly alterations to their plans. They also could feel that going through bureaucratic channels will create undue delays in construction.
However, the majority of building permit applications are processed with little delay. If plan modifications are needed, the deficiencies are based on a careful review of the proposed work to insure safe and sound construction.
A positive aspect of applying for the permit is that homeowners have access to the code official’s knowledge and experience when and if they have any inquiries about their projects or the permit itself.
Before Applying – Before submitting an application, consult with municipal building official.
- The Application – Submit application with supporting documentation to local building official, along with fee.
- Consideration – Application is reviewed for completeness and against local zoning laws, Building Code and other legislation.
- Optional Consultation – Comments on proposals obtained from other municipal officials. Other approval may be required.
- Decision – Application may be approved or refused. Inspections specified.
- Appeal – Formal appeal to the Board of Appeals.
- Inspections During Construction – Building inspector checks major phases of construction to completion.
Municipal staff members review submitted applications to make sure they are in accordance with the building code, local zoning and other applicable laws.
If problems occur with the proposal, building officials meet with the applicant to discuss the needed changes or alterations prior to issuing a permit.
When property to be developed is regulated by a local site plan or zoning law, a building permit will not be issued until all site plan requirements issued by the municipality are met.
If an applicant is refused issuance of a building permit, he can appeal that decision of the code official to the Board of Appeals.
A condition of a building permit is that the applicant completes the work as approved by the municipality in accordance with the building code and the plans as approved by the code official Applicants are also required to give advance notice to the code official at key points in the construction.
Inspections required under the building code are listed on the building permit. Such inspections are performed by a building inspector, who checks each major phase of construction and makes certain that the work conforms to the building code, the building permit and the approved building plans.
The inspector must be able to see the part of construction required to be inspected, and normally 24 to 48 hours of advance notice is required. Should an inspection find that some work does not conform to approved plans, the inspector will advise and possible send a notice asking that the situation be remedied.
Another inspection may be necessary before work is resumed. If the work continues without resolving the problem, applicants can be subject to legal action.
Applicants are also required to post their building permit in a window or other prominent place on the site, keep a copy of the building plan at the site and bring any proposed changes to the attention of the code official as soon as possible. These changes will require review and approval in the same manner as the original building plans.
Before any building is demolished, either in part or in whole, the applicant is required by the building code to apply for a demolition permit from the municipality's code official.
The process for obtaining one is similar to that for a building permit. Some cases may require the hiring of a professional engineer to oversee the demolition.
Further information concerning building permits and the building code is available by contacting your Construction Dept. Construction Official, Howard N. Wilkins
City Hall Municipal Offices
525 High Street
Burlington NJ 08016
TEL: 609-386-0200 ext. 171
Flood Insurance Information
Most of the City of Burlington is in a 100- or 500-year flood zone. To learn more about flood insurance, please click on the following link: Flood Insurance.
Or visit the following links on flood risk, protection, and insurance:
Flooding can happen anywhere, but certain areas are especially prone to serious flooding. To help communities understand their risk, flood maps (Flood Insurance Rate Maps, FIRMs) have been created to show the locations of high-risk, moderate-to-low risk and undetermined-risk areas. Link to the One-Step Flood Risk Assessment Tool, which is a simple way for homeowners to learn their flood risk level by just inputting their address at:
What are your chances of experiencing a flood? These animated scenarios demonstrate how various factors impact different neighborhoods. Learn about the various factors that can cause flooding at:
Changes are coming to the National Flood Insurance Program. Visit the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 webpage to learn how the changes might affect you.
Think about what your home means to you. Have you done everything you
can to protect it? Learn your flood risk at www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/
There's good news for property owners who have been newly mapped into a high-risk flood area since October 1, 2008. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers a cost-saving insurance option that may benefit them. If a structure has been newly mapped into a high-risk flood area on or after October 1, 2008, the property owner may be eligible for significant savings with the NFIP's Preferred Risk Policy Extension. Find out more about the Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension at www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/prp_extension_information.jsp
Learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program from FEMA at: