Tutorial: Building Inspection and Permit Records
Property owners who do certain kinds of construction on a property, such as electrical, plumbing or other work regulated by city codes, have to obtain and file permits with a city department.
Cities also inspect properties for compliance with a city's building codes, often in response to complaints filed by neighbors or other citizens about substandard conditions on a property.
These files are kept at a city building permits office or a city building inspections office (often the two offices are part of the same department).
The files are indexed by the addresses of the properties.
Thus the permits index will list all the permits taken out to do electrical, plumbing and other construction work on a property.
The inspections index will list instances where complaints were filed alleging violations of city codes at a property, along with a summary of any investigation the building inspection office conducted into the complaints.
What's Available Online
Some city building permits or inspections departments put their indexes or records online. Check the websites for the city building or inspection departments to see what's available online.
See also the links to city and county building permit sites in the Bay Area provided by Scott Littlehale in the comments section below.
About this Tutorial
This tutorial was originally written by Paul Grabowicz for students in his Computer Assisted Reporting class, and later modified for public use.
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