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Building Permits are required for new construction or alterations and repairs to existing buildings or houses. Building permit records are public information, and as such, can be searched online or through the local government office. People can search the records for general information and interest about development in the area, or to find the details about a new house or addition at a specific neighboring property. Likewise, construction and other trade companies might use these permit records to gather new business leads.
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Gather all of the information for the location. The exact street address including the postal code is best, and will likely yield accurate results on the first search attempt. For the street name, be sure to get the type of street (Avenue, Street, Boulevard), and if applicable include the prefix (N, SW, etc.).
Get the range of addresses nearby, if the street address is not available (as for new construction). For example, if the houses or buildings on either side of the location are 1235 and 1247, the range would be 1235 to1247 Anywhere Street.
Consult the local government office via the Internet or telephone. Most local government websites offer searches for building permit records under headings such as online tools, services or department of planning and development. On the website's building permit search page, enter the address information to obtain the name of the permit holder.
Find the permit or project number, as an alternative. This information may be posted at the site or can be obtained from the construction company handling the project. The permit or project number can then be used to obtain the name of the permit holder from the local government, as in the previous step.
Inquire of local construction associations that also gather information about new building permits that have been issued. The National Association of Home Builders offers a search tool on their website to find the appropriate local association. Once you have identified the appropriate association, check their website for building permit records, or contact their office by telephone. They may charge a fee and/or require a subscription.
Look for any of the various independent construction and legal journals that collect this information and list it online, if the information is not available from the aforementioned venues, or if you require the building permit records for an entire area. They also may charge a fee and/or require a subscription.
Building permits are most often governed by the city, town, borough or municipality, but in some cases they may be handled by the county or township.
- U.S. Census Bureau: 2002 Census of Governments; Volume 1, No. 1, Government Organization
- Seattle Department of Planning and Development: Permit and Complaint Status
- National Association of Home Builders: Housing Data
- United States Postal Service: Zip Code Lookup
- National Association of Home Builders: Find Your Local Association
- The Construction Lead Journal
- The Financial News and Daily Record: Buisness Leads
- Permit Place