Development Services FAQ's


Does the City have information about the process of opening a business?

Please see the Business Start-Up Guide: A roadmap to opening a business in the City of Norman using the below link:

Business Start-Up Guide

When is a Building Permit Required?

A building permit is required before beginning new construction of, addition to or alteration of a structure other than basic repairs; basic repairs are nonstructural repairs such as carpet, paint, siding, shingles replacement or other work that does not enlarge or alter the basic structure. All accessory (storage) buildings greater than 108 square feet and those accessory buildings less than 108 square feet that include a permanent foundation require a building permit. Storm shelters of any type AND in-ground or above ground swimming pools with water depth of 24 inches or greater also require a building permit. Trade permits for electrical, plumbing, fuel gas, and mechanical work are permits separate from the building permit. A contractor license issued by the City of Norman is required to obtain trade permit (except a homeowner occupying their home may obtain a plumbing permit for work at their occupied home). If you need help determining if your project requires a building permit, please contact City Plan Review Staff at (405) 366-5492, or (405) 366-5313.

Where do I go to obtain a building permit?

Building permits are issued by the Development Services Division of the Department of Planning and Community Development located in Building "A" of Norman's Municipal Complex. The physical address is 201-A West Gray Street; the phone number is (405)366-5339.  

What is the cost of a building permit?

The building permit fee is assessed as $.14 (14 cents) per square foot of project area or $50.00 minimum, whichever is the greater amount. The minimum of $50.00 or 20% of the total building permit fee is designed for plan review and application processing. The plan review/processing fee must be paid at the time an application for building permit is submitted to the City. The State of Oklahoma also requires the collection of a minimal $4.00 fee for support of the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission. Building permits for new construction may also be obligated to pay certain development fees to support or expand city infrastructure' for more information about these fees please access and review the One and Two Family Permit Fee Schedule or the Commercial Permit Fee Schedule or contact the Plan Review Staff at 366-5492, or 366-5313.  All applicable fees are due at the time of building permit issuance.

How long is a building permit valid?

A building permit is valid for six months; if any inspections are made within the initial six month period, the permit will automatically be extended for an additional six months from the date of inspection. If building activity or inspections do not occur within any six month period, the permit will expire unless extended by written request from the permittee.

Can a homeowner obtain permits and perform work on their own property?

Yes, a homeowner may act as general contractor, obtain permits and perform work on their own property. Additionally, a homeowner who is currently occupying their property may perform plumbing work on their own property.  A homeowner however cannot perform electrical, heating and air conditioning, or fuel gas work (unless properly licensed) due to life safety concerns. Qualified electrical, heating and air conditioning, and fuel gas (plumbers and/or heating and air conditioning) contractors and journeymen must be licensed with the City of Norman. Qualified contractors are required to obtain separate trade permits for their work (journeymen must work for a licensed contractor and are not eligible to obtain permits or offer their services independently of an employing contractor). A  homeowner-occupant is responsible for any work they perform and must also obtain the necessary building or plumbing permits and schedule required inspections. Work must comply with all applicable adopted building codes by the City of Norman.

What construction documents and/or drawings (plans) are required for submittal of a residential permit application?

Applying for residential new construction requires a variety of information due at the time of application submittal.  Please visit the Development Services Division page, and specifically the One and Two Family application checklist for detailed information. 

Is an architect of design professional required to prepare my residential drawings (plans)?

An architect or design professional can offer valuable assistance in creative design, preparation of construction drawings, and navigating the permit and construction process. However, residential work under three stories does not require an architect. If an architect is used, their drawings are required to be sealed and signed by an architect licensed in the State of Oklahoma.

What are the requirements for constructing a storage building?

In general, all storage buildings (accessory buildings) over 108 square feet require a building permit. If the accessory building has a permanent foundation, however, a permit is required regardless of size. A foundation is not required for an accessory building less than 400 square feet that is not heated or habitable space. If a permit is not required, the property owner is still responsible for locating the accessory building within the minimum zoning setbacks and that its height does not exceed the height of the main dwelling unit.

Is a building permit required to enclose an existing covered patio?

Yes, a building permit is required for this type of building alteration. A patio slab is not typically constructed with a foundation and will require some additional support to carry the loads of the new walls and windows. Also, many enclosed patios include extensive use of windows and glass doors, therefore code issues involving safety glass and lateral bracing requirements should be discussed with a Plans Examiner. The use of metal structural components will require engineered drawings, which are signed and sealed by an engineer licensed in the State of Oklahoma.

Are there any specific requirements for residential handrails and guardrails?

A handrail must be provided on at least one side of each continuous run of treads or flight of stairs with four or more risers. The handrail height, measured vertically from the sloped plane adjoining the tread nosing, or finish surface of ramp slope, must be not less 34 inches and not more than 38 inches. All required handrails must be continuous the full length of the stairs with the ends returned to a wall or terminate in newel posts or safety terminals. Handrails adjacent to a wall require a space of not less than 1 ½” between the wall and the handrail. The use of a volute, turnout or starting easing is allowed over the lowest tread. Porches, balconies, or raised floor surfaces located more than 30” above the floor or grade require guardrails not less than 36” in height. Open sides of stairs with a total rise of more than 30 inches above the floor or grade below must have guards not less than 34 inches in height measured vertically from the leading edge of the treads. Openings in guards must not allow the passage of a 4” diameter sphere.

What is an emergency escape window and when it it required?

An emergency escape window is a window used for emergency exiting or rescue. Every residential sleeping room and habitable attic is required to have at least one operable window or exterior door approved for emergency egress. A sleeping room is defined as any room with a privacy door and a closet or bathroom. The emergency escape window must be operable from the inside to a full clear opening without the use of a key, tool, or special knowledge. An emergency escape window must have a net clear opening of 5 square feet for ground floor sleeping rooms and 5.7 square feet for basements and secondary floors above ground level. The minimum net clear opening height must be 24 inches and the minimum net clear opening width must be 20 inches. An emergency escape window must also have a sill height no more than 44” above the finished interior floor. 

Are there time of day restrictions that affect construction work?

The act of “doing” construction work itself has no time restrictions and it can occur during the daytime or nighttime as long as no noise disturbance is produced by the construction work. Construction work producing noise due to but not limited to the use of domestic or commercial power equipment is prohibited during the hours of 9:00 PM and 7:00 AM the following day. Please see Ordinance below.

Ordinance-Noise Prohibited


How do I finalize the permit inspection process on my project?

One and Two Family Dwellings and Related Residential Construction: All applicable final inspections for each permit issued to your project must be inspected and approved. This can include building final, electrical final, mechanical final, plumbing final and an engineering final. Inspection requests should be made via the City’s On-Line Inspection System or Automated Phone Line System  All outstanding re-inspection fees accrued during the project must be paid before a permit can be closed. After the related final inspections receive approved status and the re-inspection fees paid, if any, a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or Certificate of Completion (CC) will be issued.

Commercial, Industrial and Multi-Family Construction: All applicable final inspections for each permit issued to your project must be inspected and approved. This can include building final, electrical final, mechanical final, and a plumbing final. Inspection requests should be made through the On-Line Inspection System or the Automated Phone Line System. In addition to closing out the above noted inspections, inspection and approval from the Fire Marshal’s Office, Planning and Public Works Departments must be completed. The applicant or applicant representative must request and coordinate these on-site inspections, the on-site inspection results will be forwarded to the City offices. Please see Certificate of Occupancy Checklist for scheduling information. All outstanding re-inspection fees accrued during the project must be paid before a permit can be closed. After the related final inspections receive approved status and the re-inspection fees are paid, if any, a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or Certificate of Completion (CC) will be issued.

What construction documents and/or plans may be required in support of a commercial, industrial, or multi-family permit application?

The following plans (2 sets in addition to an electronic version) may be required for new construction applications.

  • Title sheet including:
    • Code analysis
      • Applicable codes
      • Building construction type
      • Fire protection systems
      • Occupancy group(s)
      • Height and area
      • Occupant load
      • Minimum plumbing facilities
    • Index for drawings
  • Civil
    • Survey
    • Site plan (including location of dumpster and fire protection water vault if required)
    • Utilities plan
    • Erosion control plan
    • Site grading plan
    • Landscape plan (including proposed irrigation)
    • General notes (including City of Norman standard details for dumpster enclosure and fire protection water vault if required)
  • Architectural
    • Site plan
    • Life safety plan
    • Floor plan
    • Reflected ceiling plan
    • Roof plan
    • Accessibility details
    • Wall/partition types
    • Door/window schedule
    • Exterior elevations
    • Fire resistant construction details including assembly listing or number
    • Energy Compliance
    • General notes
  • Structure
    • General notes
    • Foundation
    • Building frame
    • Building roof
    • Details
  • Mechanical, electrical, plumbing site plan
  • Site lighting photometric plan including statement of total exterior site lumens
  • Plumbing
    • Waste and vent plan
    • Grease waste/kitchen plan
    • Water piping plan
    • Fuel gas piping plan
    • Isometric plans
    • Plumbing equipment schedule(s)
    • Plumbing details
    • General notes
  • Mechanical
    • Mechanical floor plan
    • Enlarged food service kitchen plan
    • Mechanical equipment schedule(s)
    • Mechanical details
    • General notes
  • Electrical
    • Lighting
    • Power
    • Electrical service and grounding riser diagram
    • Electrical panel schedules
    • Electrical equipment schedules
    • Electrical details
    • General Notes
  • International Energy Conservation Code report of compliance
  • Cleveland County Health Department plan review approval
  • City of Norman Environmental Services plan review approval
  • State of Oklahoma Health Department plan review approval
  • Fire Alarm (may be submitted separately to the Fire Protection Engineer)
  • Fire Protection sprinkler plans (may be submitted separately to the Fire Protection Engineer)

What is project area?

Project area is defined as the total square footage of the bricked or sided and under roof area within a structure, including second floor, garage, patio, and porch where applicable.

What is living area?

Living area is the total heated and cooled square footage of bricked or sided area within a structure.

What is paving area?

Paving area is the total “non-building” impervious area of a property, including swimming pool, uncovered patio/porch, sidewalks, and driveways on private property, where applicable.

Are there copyright restrictions I should consider?

The Development Services Division of the City of Norman conducts document reviews for all applications submitted for a building permit. During the course of that review, it is sometimes found that notes or notices on the plans and/or specifications indicate that those documents are copyrighted. When a method of determining the status of that copyright is provided, City staff will take the steps needed to confirm that the plans and/or specifications are being used in a manner consistent with the claimed copyrights.

If the owner of the copyrighted materials indicates that the proposed use for the plans and/or specifications is not authorized, then the applicant will be required to secure written documentation from the copyright holder approving the use of the documents at the requested address before the application for permit will be processed.

What should I do if the serving utility company (OEC, OG&E, or ONG)

Under certain service conditions, determined by the responsible utility service provider(OEC, OG&E, or ONG), the utility service provider requires notice of approval of a utility meter rehang inspection from the City of Norman before they will reconnect utility service at an existing service location where service is not currently active.
In accordance with the City of Norman code of ordinances, in order to obtain this inspection service a responsible contractor licensed to perform work in the category associated with the utility service must be hired to obtain a meter rehang permit. After obtaining a permit, the responsible contractor (or their licensed employee) is required to observe and otherwise evaluate the safety of the appropriate existing building service system, install any required test apparatus, and then request a meter re-hang inspection by a City Building Inspector.

In the case of a fuel gas (ONG) meter rehang inspection, as minimum the plumbing or mechanical contractor must install an air test with test gauge to be observed by the Building Inspector during the meter rehang inspection to demonstrate the fuel gas piping system is free of leaks under pressure.

In the case of an electrical (OEC or OG&E) meter rehang inspection, as minimum the electrical contractor must observe and evaluate electrical system components to determine all system components observed have no apparent electrical safety faults and the electrical service grounding system is complete.

Is a building permit required to build a fence on my property?

Generally, a building permit is not required to construct a fence but certain qualifying criteria must be considered.Fences up to eight feet tall are allowed in residential areas in side and rear yards without a permit, unless the fence has a permanent concrete footing. If a permanent foundation (footing) is to be part of a fence, a building permit is required. If any concrete footings are located in an easement a “Consent to Encroach” must first be obtained (a process involving City Council and all franchised utility easement stakeholders).

In residential zoned areas, fences taller than eight feet require written permission of the adjoining property owner(s). If written permission cannot be obtained from the adjoining property owner(s), then a variance can be requested through the Board of Adjustment.

A fence is not allowed in the front yard of your property unless it is less than four feet in height AND does not encroach into the sight triangle (if located on a corner lot) or public right-of-way. In many newer subdivisions, additional restrictions regarding height, type and location are placed on the construction of fences by the restrictive covenants for that subdivision.

Homeowners should check with their neighbors to verify if a Property Owners Association has adopted architectural controls for their subdivision. Those covenants and restrictions may be included in your property abstract, or are filed at the County Clerk’s office with the subdivision plat.

Is a building permit required to install a storm shelter or tornado shelter?

Yes, a building permit is required to install a storm or tornado shelter. The homeowner or the contractor installing the shelter may apply for the building permit. The shelter provider usually has plans of the shelter that they can provide and if a site plan is required and city plan review staff can usually help to provide a basic site plan of the property. In most cases the review time takes about an hour and the cost of the permit is usually $54.00. Storm shelter can be registered through the City of Norman Fire Department by calling (405) 292-9780 or the shelter can be registered on-line at Storm Shelter Registration.