Any building contractor in the state of Michigan is required to obtain a building permit when undertaking a major structural alteration of a building, or starting a new construction. The building permit states the contractor or builder will follow the Michigan building code. In most instances normal maintenance does not require a building permit. Work that is not considered normal maintenance includes the removal of a wall, or any portion, the cutting or removal of a support beam, or the removal or change of any required means of exit.

The purpose of the Michigan building code is to insure the safety of the public concerning the construction of, or alteration of any building. Separately building permits for plumbing, mechanical and electrical work are also required when appropriate. These usually include the addition or replacement of plumbing, electrical or mechanical fixtures such as a new sewer pipe, electrical service, or heating/air conditioning unit. It is a violation of Michigan building code to undertake any major structural modification without a building permit.

The applicant of a building permit must submit in writing, detailed plans outlaying the specifications of the work to be done. This includes location of property lines, exact proportions of the project, and the kinds of materials to be used.  In most instances the local government issues the permits, and is also responsible for the inspection of the work upon completion.  The building inspector makes sure that the contractor followed the Michigan building code regarding the building materials, quality of work, deviation from plans, or any other circumstance that may result in a hazardous condition.

In essence the purpose of a building permit insures that a building inspector inspects any major work to a building. The building inspector insures that the work is up to the Michigan building code insuring the safety of the public.

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