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Yes. Alterations and repairs require building permits. Certain work is exempt from permits, for example: painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops and similar finish work. If you have questions about whether a building permit is required, please call 319-892-5130 or click here to apply online.
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2018 IBC-IRC Building Ordinance Building Regulations
2020 NEC Electrical Ordinance Electrical Regulations
2018 IMC-IFGC Mechanical Ordinance Mechanical Regulations
2018 Plumbing Ordinance Plumbing Regulations
2015 IFC Fire Regulations Fire Regulations
Code books may be obtained from the International Code Council.
View current building and construction codes.
Permit fees are established to offset the cost of administering the building codes including plan review, inspection, inspector vehicles, staff support and record keeping. Building permit fees are calculated based on the valuation of the building or the work (material and labor) involved. In most cases, the building department determines the valuation based on square footage of various components. Please see our Building Permit Fee Table or contact the Building Division at 319-892-5130 for an estimate on the permit fee.
Inspections are required at various stages of work in progress before that work is covered up. Footings require inspection before pouring concrete. Underground electrical, mechanical and plumbing work is inspected before covering. Rough in electrical, mechanical, plumbing and framing must be inspected & approved before covering with insulation or finish material (gypsum board). Inspections are also required on gas piping systems and electrical services. An approved final inspection is required before the building may be occupied. Note that Linn County inspectors are trained and certified as combination inspectors, which means each inspector is responsible for inspecting all trades. Please view these handouts for further information. Click Schedule an inspection online or call our office at 319-892-5130 to schedule an inspection by phone. Allow at least twenty- four hours if you need a specific time for an inspection. Inspection requests made on the same day will be worked in the schedule if possible.
Inspectors hours are Monday -Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Typically, inspectors are in the field performing inspections from 9:30 A.M. until 3:30 P.M. The best time to reach an inspector in the office is 8:00 – 9:00 in the morning and 4:00 – 5:00 in the afternoon. We can, on a case by case basis, do inspections between 8:00 - 9:30 when needed. Unlike some city jurisdictions, Linn County inspectors do not return to the office over the lunch hour due to the driving distances involved in the county. Our office phone number is 319-892-5130.
Separate building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits are required. Application for a building permit includes the submittal of electronic .pdf construction drawings. In order to determine a valuation and permit fee, please include the area in square feet for: each floor, finished basement, unfinished basement, garage, decks and porches. Plans are thoroughly reviewed by an inspector for code compliance before issuance of the building permit. Electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits must be obtained and work performed by contractors licensed (Master A) in the respective trade. Further information can be found on our webpage or this handout. Before the above permits can be issued, the Planning & Zoning Division must verify that all zoning requirements are met and must also approve a site plan. Planning and Development staff can assist in creating your site plan, but you will need to be able to provide the location of the proposed structure, distances from lot lines and well and septic drainage field locations. You can apply online or contact the Linn County Planning and Development at 319-892-5130 for alternate means of application. For information on well and septic system permits, contact the Public Health Department , 319-892-6000. For information on a driveway/entrance permit and addressing permit, contact the Linn County Engineer , 319-892-6400.
The State of Iowa has given counties the authority to adopt building codes for their unincorporated areas. However, the State has declared that farms should be able to operate relatively free from local restrictions. This "right to farm" is contained in the following section from the Code of Iowa:
331.304.3.b Farms exempt. A county building code shall not apply to farm houses or other farm buildings which are primarily adapted for use for agricultural purposes, while so used or under construction for that use.
Even though the State exempts farms from building regulations, it has provided few guidelines as to what should be considered a farm. In order to qualify under the agricultural exemption, it must be clearly demonstrated that the principal use of the land and the proposed building(s) is farm-related. This includes proposed dwellings, and that the occupants of the dwelling are primarily engaged in agriculture.
We strongly encourage anyone wishing to claim the exemption - especially for a new house - to contact us prior to the start of construction to determine if the exemption is appropriate. The farm exemption applies only to Linn County zoning and building regulations. Other permits (such as floodplain development, well, septic, E911 address or driveway access) may be required. Please contact the appropriate county department for information.
To submit a request or if you have further questions, please email or call 319-892-5130.
Inspectors will require 6 foot of social distancing to be maintained at all times. Inspectors may ask individuals to temporarily exit the job site in order to maintain proper social distancing. Linn County inspectors are provided with masks and are required to wear them when social distancing is not possible. Remote Video Inspections may be scheduled for occupied structures.