Building Permits


The City of Southfield Building Department administers the building permit process for both residential and commercial construction. This fundamental process helps protect the lives and safety of residents and visitors, preserve the City’s quality of life, and contribute to its long-term economic viability.

Before Starting Construction

Any homeowner or builder that is planning to begin a building project – whether new construction, or modification or repair of an existing structure – needs to be aware that a building permit may be required before work can begin.

Permit Required Activities 

As a general guideline, any of the following activities will require a permit:
· any new construction, this includes additions to existing buildings
· construction involving a structural change to a building
· partial or complete rehabilitation of a property
· re-roofing or installing a new roof

No Permit Required Activities

Typical maintenance and repair projects that will not require a permit include:
· painting and caulking
· laying down vinyl sheet flooring & carpeting
· installation of new cabinets
· tuck-pointing

For further information, please call the Building Department at (248) 796-4100.

It is important to note that the City of Southfield ordinances and State of Michigan laws requires separate permits for electrical, plumbing and heating systems. Property owners should carefully review certificates of insurance and customer references provided by potential contractors to ensure they are qualified and licensed to perform this work.

Department Approval

New construction may require approvals from the following departments prior to a permit being issued.

Planning Department(248) 796-4150

Engineering Department(248) 796-4810

Building Department(248) 796-4100

Water and Sewer Department: (248) 796-4850

Applicants are urged to submit complete plans and associated paperwork to all departments simultaneously to expedite the approval process.

  1. How Many Sets of Plans?
  2. Do I need to acquire an approval from the Zoning Board Appeals?
  3. What do I need to know about moving existing structures?
  4. Do I need to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy?
Q&A Item

How Many Sets of Plans?

The total number of plans required for the approval process are:

  • Two sets of building plans
  • 7-8 sets of engineered site plans
  • Two sets of tree survey plans superimposed onto the engineered plans

Incomplete submissions to a department will not be reviewed until all information has been received.

No site work will be done until initial approvals are obtained from all four departments. A final Certificate of Occupancy will not be given until all requirements are met.

Do I need to acquire an approval from the Zoning Board Appeals?

Any approvals required from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) must be obtained prior to the issuance of a building permit. ZBA approvals are required for moving any structure into or within the City, or for any waiver required by an administrative body at the City. Obtain ZBA applications online or at the counter of the Building Department at Southfield City Hall, 26000 Evergreen Road (at Civic Center Drive).

What do I need to know about moving existing structures?

Existing structures to be moved into or within the City require a special preliminary inspection from the Building Department; a house-moving permit from the Traffic Engineering Department; and additional clearances/permits coordinated through the Traffic Engineering Department, (248) 796-4860.

Placement of the structure on a lot requires a site plan and building plans, and building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits.

For more information, call the Building Department, (248) 796-4100.

Do I need to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy?

Occupants of any building must obtain a Certificate of Occupancy. Building permits are required for alternations being done.

To obtain a Certificate of Occupancy in an existing building:

  1. Obtain Planning Department/zoning approval 248-796-4150.
  2. A Special Inspection must be done. An inspection is performed to ensure that the building/suite is up to current building codes for egress and life safety. If the inspection reveals there are violations for which corrections are required, they must be completed and re-inspected before a Certificate of Occupancy can be issued. 
    If no violations exist, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued. The cost for a special inspection is $40 application fee, $100 per inspector and $150 for a Certificate of Occupancy.

If you have any questions regarding these procedures, please contact the Building Department Specialist at (248) 796-4103