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City of Bryan, Texas

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Building/Planning FAQ

Answers

Q: Why does the City of Bryan require building permits?
A: The City of Bryan and all other cities across the country use the building permit process to verify that construction or development will comply with building codes and zoning ordinances. The building codes and zoning ordinances are adopted by the city council and become the law of the city. The development projects are also inspected to insure that they are in compliance. Building codes and ordinances help protect the health, safety, and welfare of a structure’s occupants.
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Q: When is a building permit needed and where can I get one?
A: Generally, a building permit is needed for work involving structural elements of a building. Permits are not required for certain construction work. Historic or conservation districts have special requirements for work on the exterior of properties. Always contact the City prior to starting any construction project.
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Q: Does a contractor need to be licensed to do work on my home?
A: Any Plumbing or Mechanical contractor doing work on a persons home is required by the Texas Plumbing Licensing Law or the Texas Mechanical License Law to have a license to work on that home. This license is required even if the scope of the work doesn’t require a permit and inspection. Electrical work must be performed by a licensed electrician. A license is not required for general building work on ones own property. Homebuilders and remodelers are required to be registered with the state, and register the homes they worked on when adding square footage or when interior improvements exceed $20,000.
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Q: What if the contractor does not get a permit?
A: When a contractor is discovered working without a permit, a building inspector will issue a stop work order. In these cases, some work may have to be uncovered for inspection and redone. The property owner is ultimately responsible for the work performed on his property.
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Q: What kind of work can I do on my own home?
A: The work performed by a homeowner requires a “Homestead” permit and inspection. A homeowner may perform general building work on one’s own property after obtaining all of the proper permits. Compliance with the City of Bryan codes and amendments is required on all types of work as well as obtaining the appropriate permits and inspections. Homeowners may do their own repair work to existing homes for mechanical (HVAC – non-refrigerant work only), plumbing (non-gas only), and for existing electrical systems.

There are nine conditions the homeowner must meet in the city “Homestead Permit” amendments for the International Residential Code. For a copy please call 979-209-5010, email building@bryantx.gov , or view city amendments for the 2015 International Residential Code.

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Q: What are some of the more common permits that homeowners should be concerned with?
A: Typically projects like fences, portable buildings, water heater replacement, garage conversions and carports are the most common projects that will affect homeowners. Permits and inspections are required for these types of projects.
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Q: How does one go about getting a permit?
A: One must submit plans describing the work with an application. Applications are available at City Hall located at 300 S. Texas Ave. on the first floor. Applications are also available on line and can be downloaded. Staff is available for help when applying.
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Q: If I have an existing electric or gas water heater in or accessible from the garage, must I raise it 18 inches above the floor level when it is replaced?
A: YES…The water heater thermostat energizes the heating element when the water temperature within the tank falls below a certain selected level. At the instant the thermostat activates, a spark results. This spark is a source of ignition for flammable or combustible vapors, (i.e., gasoline) that may have accumulated along the garage floor. The 18-inch elevation is intended to keep ignition sources above these vapors that are heavier than air and settle to the garage floor.
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Q: Do I need a permit for a storage building?
A: Accessory buildings under 120 square feet, that are not: constructed on a permanent foundation, are located in the back yard, are not located in easements or setbacks, and are not on property with flood plain or flood way limits, do not require a permit. Accessory buildings larger than 120 square feet are required submit a site plan to the Planning Department and to be permitted through the Building Inspection Department.

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Q: What is a Certificate of Occupancy and where can I get one?
A: A Certificate of Occupancy “CO” is issued by the Building Permits and Inspections Department located at 300 South Texas Avenue on the first floor. A “CO” is issued for all new, remodeled or renovated construction and changes of ownership. This “CO” allows the property to be legally occupied for the approved use . The Chief Building Official must sign the “CO” before it is valid.
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