<h2>Division of Safety & Buildings</h2>
Before Issuing that Permit…
Failure to comply with the following requirements may cause hazardous conditions, additional correction costs, legal action against the owner, delays, increased plan review fees, insurance or mortgage difficulties, etc.:
- State statutes require any building that uses a private sewage system to have a sanitary permit for such a system before any local permit is issued.
- Wisconsin law generally requires that commercial or multi-family buildings being built, added to or altered receive state plan review approval under the State Commercial Building Code (Chs. Comm 61-66) prior to construction or any local permit issuance.
A commercial building is one that the public or employees use or that has three or more residential units. For such buildings, look for a state plan review approval letter, permission to start letter or project registration letter from the State Division of Safety & Buildings before issuing a local permit. (Alternatively, the state has delegated limited plan approval authority to certain municipalities.)
The following are exempt from the State Commercial Building Code and would not require state plan approval (see ss. Comm 61.02 & 61.03):
- One & two family dwellings – if your municipality does not inspect them, then refer owners to the county or state – see our website under “Uniform Dwelling Code Program” for referral information
- Home-based occupation located in 1 & 2 family dwellings – this is limited to 25% of the habitable floor area, one non-family employee and no vehicle repair or fireworks.
- The following uses serving 8 or fewer clients in a one or two family dwelling: community-based residential facilities (CBRF), daycares, foster homes, group homes.
- Temporary buildings used only for construction purposes and not used as living quarters.
- Farming operations, including sales of farm products raised there (public horse boarding stables & riding arenas are not exempt)
- Federally-owned buildings
- Buildings on Indian reservations
- Bed & breakfast inns – If built prior to 1990, is the owner’s residence and has 8 or less rental rooms
The following are exceptions to this plan approval requirement, but still require the owner to comply with the State Commercial Building Code (see ss. Comm 61.03 & 61.30):
- Except for residential, educational and hazardous occupancies, those commercial buildings of less than 25,000 total cubic feet volume (volume includes basements, crawl spaces and attics).
- Freestanding antennas, tents, outdoor theater screens, exterior bleachers of 5 rows or less, water tanks/towers, display signs, observation towers, docks, piers, wharves and other similar structures.
- Temporary uses that have been approved by the local fire or building code official.
- Repairs or replacements
- A municipality may not issue a commercial building permit to a contractor, unless the contractor possesses a Wisconsin Building Contractor registration, or some other business credential, issued by the Department of Commerce.
For further information, visit our website, www.commerce.wi.gov/sb. Click on “Commercial Buildings”. Included there is a map of state inspectors that can assist you. Alternatively, you may e-mail questions to email@example.com. Thank you for your cooperation in keeping Wisconsin’s built environment safe.