Why do I need a construction permit? How does getting a permit benefit me?
The purpose of the permit process is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The Division of Inspections has the solemn responsibility to protect the current occupants of a building as well as all future occupants. The division does this by enforcing regulations and construction codes adopted by the State of New Jersey. The purpose of The New Jersey Uniform Construction Code Act, and the regulations it promulgated, is to provide a minimum standard for construction while, encouraging innovation and economy in construction, allow for the use of modern technical methods, eliminate restrictive and unnecessary regulations that increase construction costs, and insure adequate maintenance of structures.
Additionally, when a property is sold, a home inspector hired by the purchaser will request proof that modifications were legally constructed with all the required approvals. When construction without the proper permits is discovered, sometimes years after the work was done, the owner may need to tear down an addition, or make costly repairs to correct violations. Often sales are lost or selling prices are adjusted lower follow these disclosures.
What if I do not get a permit?
State of New Jersey law, the Uniform Construction Code (UCC), makes it mandatory that when a Construction Official becomes aware that an owner or his/her agent failed to obtain a required permit prior to commencing construction, the construction Official shall issue a notice of violation/order to pay penalty to the owner of the property. The penalty can be up to $2000 and an additional $2000 per week the violation remains outstanding. The violation may lead to a summons to appear in municipal court to enforce the payment of the penalty.
When is a construction permit required? When is a construction permit not required?
Please see our page on when a permit is and is not required for explanation and examples.
Who is responsible to acquire a permit the homeowner or the contractor?
It is a joint responsibility. A property owner is responsible for all activity on his/her property. A contractor, registered and/or licensed by the State of New Jersey, is obligated not to perform work that he knows requires a construction permit until the Division of Inspections has issued a permit. The contract between the owner of a property and the contractor should clearly indicate who is responsible for acquiring the construction permit.
An experienced contractor is familiar with the construction codes, the state mandated forms, and the process for applying for a construction permit. A homeowner should be apprehensive with their choice of contractor if the contractor refuses to be responsible for applying for the permit.
What is the difference between a Construction, Engineering, and a Zoning Permit? What is a prior approval?
The Division of Inspections enforces the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code (UCC). The UCC is the construction codes adopted by the state. The UCC adopted codes include codes for building, plumbing, fire, electric, barrier free access (handicap), energy conservation, fuel gas, elevator construction and mechanical codes.
The Division of Engineering enforces local ordinances adopted to provide design standards for storm drainage improvements, flood plain management, road-opening permits, grading, and other site improvements. The Municipal Engineering staff can be reached at 732-262-1040.
The Division of Land Use and Zoning enforces ordinances adopted by the Township under the authority granted to the municipality under Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL). MLUL allows municipalities to regulate the use of a property. This includes size and height of structures, distance structures are from the property lines, as well as allowed uses in a zone. Questions regarding zoning permits should be directed to the Zoning Officer at 732-262-1041.
Prior approvals for a construction permit may be required base on the nature of the work and the use of the structure. Some examples of Prior Approvals are Zoning Permit, Engineering Permit, Statement of Utilities from the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority (BTMUA), Ocean County Soil Conservation, and the NJDEP (these are examples only your permit may or may not require prior approvals). If you have any further questions about Prior Approvals please contact the Division of Inspections.
Although not all permit applications require prior approvals, in many cases prior approvals are required. Most construction permits will not be reviewed by the Division of Inspectors until prior approvals have been granted.
What information is required to be provided with my construction permit application?
The requirements for an application are based on the nature and scope of the work, use group of the structure, and the classification of the structure. This office only requires enough detail in the application to demonstrate code compliance. For requirements for a specific project see the Checklists for a Required Permit page.
Can an owner or contractor prepare construction plans?
The Uniform Construction Code allows a homeowner to prepare his or her own plans for construction, addition, reconstruction, alteration, renovation, or repair of a single-family residence intended to be used exclusively as his /her primary residence. For all other plans including other residential uses and all nonresidential work, the seal and signature of the registered architect or licensed engineer who prepared the plans shall be affixed to each sheet of each copy of the plans submitted
A contractor, property owner, or tenant cannot prepare plans for a rental property, multiple-family dwelling unit, or any non-residential use, including commercial businesses. Only a New Jersey licensed design professional (architect or engineer) may prepare plans for these uses.
Exception: For a single-family home or other class III structures, a New Jersey Licensed Electrician or New Jersey Licensed Master Plumber may design and submit plans for electrical and plumbing installations.
What type of licenses will my contractor need?
The State of New Jersey regulates the construction trades. If any of the work proposed is from a regulated trade documentation of a license or registration from the appropriate licensing board will be required. Regulated trades in the State of NJ include but are not limited to:
- Master Plumbers
- Electrical Contractor/ Business Permits
- Home Improvement Contractors
- Home Elevation Contractors
- Architects or Engineers
- Burglar Alarm Installer
- Irrigation Contractor
- HVAC-R Contractor
What is an Energy Code Compliance Report, and how do I produce one?
The Uniform Construction Code, more specifically the Energy Subcode requires that when an area that is going to include conditioned air (heating or cooling) the area must be energy efficient. There are multiple methods of demonstrating Energy Subcode compliance. The most common utilized method to demonstrate compliance for a single-family dwelling is to utilize a software program available free from the US Department of Energy called REScheck. REScheck will generate an energy code compliance report that will document your compliance to the Energy Subcode. This software can be found at: https://www.energycodes.gov/rescheck.
Additional methods of achieving Energy Subcode compliance can be found on the State of NJ Website page.
Does the Township have a copy of my survey?
No. A copy of a survey may have been included with your closing paperwork when your home or property was last sold, or may be with your insurance or mortgage documents. Unfortunately, surveys that were produced only for the transfer of ownership do not always include all of the required details needed for a permit. At a minimum, a survey will need to indicate:
All existing and proposed structures
All dimensions of the lot and structures
All adjacent streets and waterways
If the nature of the work requires a plot plan, the Division of Engineering has developed a checklist to be used by your Licensed Land Surveyor or Civil Engineer. Click the following link for a copy of the Engineering Plot Plan Checklist
Does a permit expire? How much time do I have to perform the work?
Construction must begin within one year of the permit issue date. Once the work begins, the permit expires if the work is abandoned for a period of more than six months.
What do I need for a Certificate of Occupancy?
A certificate of occupancy (CO) is required for all new structures or additions, structures or portion of structures that have undergone a change of use, or structures that the work was so extensive it was determined to be a reconstruction under the Rehabilitation Subcode. Below is a list of CO Checklists to be used as a guide to receive a Certificate of Occupancy
Can the Township inspectors recommend a contractor? How do I find a good contractor?
No. It is inappropriate for an inspector with the authority to enforce the code to recommend contractors. There is a potential for a conflict of interest when an inspector is inspecting work performed by a contractor he/she recommended. We cannot recommend a contractor but we can provide you with some insight in choosing a contractor. See our page on Choosing a Contractor for useful tips.
Can an inspector tell me if the work is quality work?
It is the duty of an inspector to determine if construction work is compliant to the adopted codes. Inspectors should not comment on subjective questions.
As inspectors, we are only there to make sure the work does or does not conform to the minimum code requirements.
What do I do if I am having a problem with a contractor?
The State of New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs regulates contractors. Their website is http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/
Is my property in a flood zone?
You may check your flood zone on a FEMA website:
However, the website is only an estimate of the flood zone, the actual flood zone determination must be confirmed by a licensed land surveyor.
What codes do I use in preparing my plans?
The codes used in New Jersey can be found on the state website: http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/codreg/
What are the design criteria I should be aware of in preparing my plans?
The design criteria for this area includes:
Snow load 20 PSF
Wind load 115mph
Wind Exposure category C
Radon Potential Tier 3
Frost Depth 30”
The One and Two Family Residential Subcode exempts detached one and two-family dwellings and attached single-family townhouses from seismic requirements. All other construction should refer to DCA bulletin 05-2. Click here:
I submitted my construction permit application to Division of Inspections and now they tell me it is in another department. Where does my permit go after it is submitted?
Depending on the type of permit that you are applying for there may be a multi-step process (including prior approvals), and the review time may vary depending on your project. For an example of Prior Approvals see FAQ number 6.
To find out the status of your permit application you may call (732) 262-4604 or email PermitStatus@twp.brick.nj.us.
Do I need a Certificate of Occupancy to sell my home?
The Township of Brick does not require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) for resale of a property. You are however required to contact the Bureau of Fire Safety at (732) 458-4100 for the Certificate of Smoke Detector, Carbon Monoxide Detector, and Fire Extinguisher Compliance. The Bureau of Fire Safety website can be found here:
I’m selling my house, is the Township going to make me remove my underground oil storage tank?
No. As long as the tank is still being used and it is not leaking it may remain in place. A prospective buyer may want you to remove or properly abandon it in place, but that is a contractual negotiation between you and the buyer.
I’m selling my house, the buyer’s inspector said some items are not “up to code”, do I have to bring it up to current code?
No. Codes are updated every three years, there is no requirement that existing buildings conform to new codes unless work is being done. This is a contractual negotiation between you and the buyer.
Can I request a specific time for inspections?
No. Unfortunately due to the volume of inspections we cannot guarantee a specific time.
My hot water heater broke on a Friday night, do I need to wait till Monday and get a permit before I have it replaced?
No. You are allowed to make emergency repairs and get a permit as soon as possible, but not more than 72 hours later. If an emergency such as this does occur please contact the Building Department and we will put you on our Emergency Work List.
How are the fees for permits calculated?
Building permits for new structures and additions are based on a fee per cubic foot of volume. Building permits for alterations are based on a fee per dollar amount of the estimated cost of the work. Electric, Plumbing and Fire permits are based on the number of fixtures or appliances being installed. See the Township of Brick Construction Fee Ordinance for specific fees.
Can I use forms from another town?
Yes. As long as they are the standard New Jersey State forms. The links for the forms can be found on our Main Page under Forms and Applications.