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Building Department Permit Process: From Application to Certificate of Occupancy

Mckenzie County Building Department

Permit Process Description
(see the process flow diagram in the link at the bottom of this page)

1. Obtain a Zoning Application. You will find the Submittal Requirements for this application on top of the page. Carefully fill it out. ALL BUILDING PERMIT APPLICATIONS MUST TURN IN A ZONING APPLICATION. This is just so the Planning Department can determine where you are and approve what you are going to build. You may turn the Zoning Application in at the same time as the Building Permit Application. 

2. Obtain a Building Permit Application and a Submittal Checklist.  Carefully fill them out.  If you have questions or are not sure of information you can call 701-444-6494 or e-mail  Both of these forms are available online at or in person at the office.

3. Once you have completed the applications, check for completeness and sign submittal checklist, indicating that it is complete.

4. After you have signed the submittal checklist someone from the Building Department will go over the form with you if you drop off the form in the office.  If you e-mail the form in someone from the Building Department will check your documents for completeness.  If your application is not complete your submittal will be returned to you so that a complete package can be turned in when all needed information is gathered.  If your package has all the needed information, the Building Department will sign the Submittal Checklist.  

5. Once the Submittal Checklist is signed by the Building Department, it is considered a complete application submittal. You will be provided a reference number in association with your permit.  Keep this number, it will be needed to look up permit information for you on any inquiries you may have.

6. The permit is reviewed by the County for compliance with either McKenzie County zoning requirements, or to see if written approval has been provided by the Township having zoning jurisdiction.  Once zoning approval is verified the application is signed by the Zoning Department.

7. Plan review begins after the zoning sign-off.  The plan review checks permit documents for code compliance.  McKenzie County has adopted the North Dakota State Building Code, which by reference adopts the 2012 International Building Code.  

The time frame for plan reviews may vary depending on the time of year and how many permits have been applied for.  Plan reviews are performed on a “first come first served” basis.  In most cases, properly submitted applications can be reviewed in approximately a two week time frame.  This is generally a safe time frame to plan on, but if your project schedule is very time sensitive, you may want to allow for additional time.  The Building Department strives to meet two week wait time or less but this is not in any way guaranteed.

Any comments or questions that arise during the plan review will be directed toward the applicant by phone or by the e-mail address provided on the application

Once the plan review is completed and any question or requests for added information are resolved, notification of approval will be sent to the e-mail address on the application.  Also the remaining permit fee amount will be indicated in the e-mail.

8. The permit may be picked at the Building Department once the final fee has been paid.  Again the final payment receipt will be included in the permit records.  At the time you pick up your permit, a sheet providing guidance on what inspections will be required is included with the permit packet.  It will also provide guidance on when to schedule your inspections and what will be checked during inspections.  This guidance list is also available online at:
 Once your permit has been picked up, you may call for the first inspection.  The earliest the first inspection can be scheduled for is one business day after the day the inspection request is made.

9. Before the inspector arrives for the first inspection, please have a sign posted on site with the building permit number and the address that is on the building permit.  The lettering on the sign should be large enough that the sign can be clearly read from the street.  With this sign posted Building Department enforcement personnel will readily be able to tell the project is permitted.

Also please ensure that the permit is on site for all inspections.  The permit and approved drawings are needed to ensure that construction is in compliance with the approved documents.

10. Once the site is ready, inspections may be scheduled by calling the Building Department at 701-444-6494 between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.  Inspections may be scheduled for morning or afternoon.  The inspectors are not available on weekends or holidays, so advanced planning and scheduling are important to coordinate inspection with your project schedule.  This is especially true for inspections involving concrete pours.  Scheduling a couple of days in advance is recommended.

On the morning of the inspection, the inspector will call to arrange the specific time, and to verify that the permit is on site.  The call will also verify that site conditions are ready for the scheduled inspection.

11. Prior to each inspection you should verify that any conditions of approval pertinent to the scheduled inspection have been taken care off.  For example, if one of the conditions of approval is that the truss package will be stamped by a North Dakota Professional Engineer prior to the framing inspection, you should verify that the stamped truss package is available and that a copy is provided for the inspector to take back and file with the permit records.

Also you should verify that all previous inspections have passed and that you have your record copy of the previous inspections on site with the permit package.

12. After each inspection, you will be given a copy of the inspection report.  If corrections are noted, you will need to reschedule the inspection after corrections have been made.  As re-inspection fee will be charged if the inspection is not ready.  No inspections can be scheduled for permits with outstanding re-inspection fees.  If the inspection passes, it will be noted on the report.  It is important that you retain your record copy of all inspection reports.  Your record copy gives you back-up documentation that you have passed needed inspections.  This may be useful at the end of the project when the Certificate of Occupancy is issued.  If there is any confusion about what inspections have been done, your back-up copies will expedite the final approval process.

13. The final inspection serves as a check that all previous inspections are completed and that all outstanding permit issues have been adequately addressed.

14. Once the final inspections is complete, you will want to gather all your inspection reports in order, and have them with your building permit.  The inspector performing the final inspection will gather all the Building Department records after the final inspection.  The Building Official will ensure that all records are accounted for prior to preparing the Certificate of Occupancy.  The building is not to be occupied prior to the Certificate of Occupancy being issued.  Building occupancy prior to this constitutes violation of the building code and is against the law.

15. After completed records are gathered and verified, the Certificate of Occupancy will be signed and issued and you will be contacted and informed that it is available for you to pick up.



Permit Flow Diagram

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