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Welcome to the McKenzie County Building Department. The Building Department
provides plan checking, permitting, and inspection services for new construction,
additions, remodels, alterations, and demolitions. Please contact us with any questions
you have regarding a permit application, permit status, inspection requirements, and
status of an inspection, building code questions, or building complaints.
A permit is required for all new construction projects within the jurisdiction of McKenzie
County after July 9, 2012.

What Is A Building Permit?
To insure the health and safety of the public, McKenzie County requires that certain
construction work can be performed only after a permit is obtained. Plans are reviewed
for compliance with the current building codes prior to issuance of the permit. The work
is then inspected during construction to confirm adherence to the approved plans and
codes. A Certificate of Occupancy or approved final inspection is issued when the work
is completed and found to be in substantial compliance with code requirements.

Why Do I Need A Permit?
The primary advantage of obtaining a permit is that it offers you the services of a
building inspector, who inspects each phase of the construction process. Inspectors can
advise you on your options if you have difficulties. Remember that inspection is the
process that is intended to ensure that minimum standards for health and safety have been
met; it does not involve assessing quality or aesthetic standards of work.
There are legal and financial liabilities that you can face when you don’t get a permit.
Work without a permit is illegal and can pose serious complications for you when you try
to sell your house. Your property insurance could be invalidated if you do work without
a permit. For example, if there is a fire in your house, the insurance company could view
the illegal work as a reason to invalidate your claim.

When Do I Need A Permit?
There are multiple types of building permits to meet different needs including:
1. Residential Construction: Standard building permit required.
2. Commercial Construction: Standard building permit required.
3. Modular Construction: Standard building permit required.
4. Manufactured Construction: Setting permit required.
5. Temporary Housing including skid units, industrial modular buildings, park
model trailers (trailer homes), manufactured homes, etc. - Man camps:
Temporary housing is regulated by the State of North Dakota, AND must also be
permitted with the County. Temporary housing permits MUST BE RENEWED
6. Recreational Vehicles: No permits or fees required. (State RV Park approval

Call the building department at 701-444-3616 to discuss your plans with the
code official before beginning construction if you are uncertain whether or not you need a
permit. Even if a permit is not needed, the code official will answer code questions and
may provide valuable advice. All work regardless of permit requirements must be
completed in accordance with all applicable state and local codes.

What Work Requires A Permit?
All structural and some nonstructural work on your home or business requires a permit.
Specifically, North Dakota State Building Code requires a permit before you erect,
construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert, or demolish any
building. For example, you must obtain a permit before you do any of the following:
• Erect a new structure such as garages, storage sheds (over 120 square
feet), carports, patios, etc.
• Set or relocate a modular or manufactured home.
• Build an addition on any existing building.
• Remodel the interior or exterior of any existing building.
• Change out a furnace or air conditioning unit, modify or add any new
• Hard surface an area; installing a driveway; parking area or patio.
• Demolish a building.
• Move a building
• Construct or remodel a sign.
• Change the use or convert a building to another use (i.e., change you
home to an office or add an apartment in the basement, etc.).

How Do I Submit Plans For Review?
Permits are relatively simple to obtain. Fill out the appropriate permit application and
submit it with the necessary drawings to the Building Department. Please be aware that,
depending on the degree of difficulty, 1st time plan reviews can vary from 2 days to 2
weeks (for larger commercial buildings). When in doubt the best way to find out if you
need a permit is to call the McKenzie County Building Department (701) 444-3616 ext.
1045. If you would like to meet directly with an Inspector, call the Building Department
to schedule an appointment.

When you submit plans, they are logged in at the Building Department for review; your
plans will be reviewed by both the Planning and Building department staff. All plans are
signed in and out through the Building Department Permit Technician. As each
department reviews the plans, review comments will be documented. Once the reviews
have all been done, the listed contact person will be notified to pick up plans and
comments, make the appropriate corrections, and resubmit. Once all requirements have
been met, your plan will be stamped approved, issued a permit number, fees assessed,
and the permit will be released for construction. Each department has other duties besides
plan review so our review process could take a day or two or up to ten working days for
the first review. Please plan ahead. Each department reviews plans in the order in which
they are received. If you need to make changes and resubmit your plans, the plans will be
forwarded to the department who asked for the corrections. They in turn will re-review
the plans as they receive them.

What Are The Current Codes?
• 2012 International Building Code
• 2012 International Residential Code
• 2012 International Mechanical Code
• 2012 International Fuel Gas Code
• 2012 International Energy Conservation Code
• 2009 ANSI A117.1 and American with Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines
Note: Plumbing and electrical codes are inspected and enforced by the
State of North Dakota plumbing and electrical boards.

What Are the Office Hours of the Building Department?
Owners and Contractors may apply for permits at the McKenzie County Courthouse
Building, second Floor, 201 5th Street NW Watford City, ND 58854 between the hours
of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Permits may be found online at:
How Much Are the Permit fees?
Most fees are calculated individually for each project based on valuation. This valuation
is generally calculated based on square footage, or based on “the total value of all
construction work for which the permit is issued as well as all finish work, painting,
roofing, heating, air conditioning, elevators, fire-extinguishing systems and other
permanent equipment.”(1997 UAC)

What Are the Required Design Criteria?
• Frost Depth – 48”
• Elevation – ±2400’
• Roof Snow load – 21 psf
• Ground Snow Load 30
• Ultimate Desgin Wind Speed – 115 mph, Surface Roughness C.
• Seismic Design Category – A
• Air Freezing Index – 4000
• Mean Annual Temperature – 40 F
• Ice Barrier Underlayment Required – Yes
• Winter Design Temp - Neg. 21 F

What Building Inspections are Required?
The following inspections are required for construction or remodeling of most buildings:

  • Footing inspection: When excavation for the footing is complete and footing forms and reinforcing steel are in place, but before any concrete is poured.
  • Foundation inspection: When forms and reinforcing steel are in place, ready for concrete.
  • Framing inspection: When all roof, walls & floor framing, fire stopping and bracing is complete. All rough electrical, plumbing and mechanical work must be complete. 
  • Reinforced masonry inspection: When vertical reinforcing steel is in place and other reinforcing steel distributed & ready to be placed.
  • Insulation: Before wall or ceiling cavities are concealed and insulation has been installed.
  • Electrical and Plumbing Inspections: The State of North Dakota Electrical and Plumbing Boards
    require their own permits and inspections of all plumbing and electrical systems. Contact the State
    Electrical Board at (701) 328-9522 and State Plumbing Board at 701-328-9977 for
    permitting and inspection.
  • Final Inspection: After Electrical and Plumbing inspections are complete and documented.  Documentation of the Electrical and Plumbing inspections shall be available for final the final inspection.  Also ensure all systems and construction are complete, all fixtures are installed and building is ready for use.  

What Can I Do About Problems With My Builder?
From time to time, property owners run into conflicts with their contractor. McKenzie
County will not interfere with the contractual relationship that exists between you and
your builder. During construction periodic inspections will be made for compliance with
the Code. Once all required inspections have been completed a Certificate of Occupancy
will be issued. This certificate is not a warranty or guarantee that every aspect of your
project is in compliance with the code. The Certificate of Occupancy simply represents
completion of the required inspections to the satisfaction of the County. Following the
issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy all aspects of the project become a civil matter
between the property owner and the contractor. The county will perform visual inspections
upon request, if it is suspected that code violations exist. Non-compliance findings
typically will result in a Correction Notice addressed to the property owner. Remember
that the County can only address code violations and cannot address issues related to
perceived quality or craftsmanship. Generally Correction Notices require that the
violations be corrected within a specified time frame. The overall responsibility to
correct the problem remains with the property owner who can seek recourse with the
responsible contractor.
County inspectors have authority to issue permits, perform inspections, stop construction,
demand corrections, and issue Certificates of Occupancy. Building officials do not have
the authority to force contractors to perform work, force contractors to complete projects,
speed up construction or enforce civil contracts.


McKenzie County Building Dept. FAQ's

McKenzie County Building Permit Fee Schedule

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