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Office of Building & Safety

The City of Salem Office of Building & Safety is responsible for issuing City of Salem Building Permits as well as building inspections. Please review the information provided below and if you have questions please contact our office.

When do I need a Building Permit?

  • New Residential Structures (single or multi family)
  • Residential Additions and Remodels
  • Porches, Sunrooms, Patios and Decks
  • Garages and Carports
  • Storage/Utility Buildings (any size or portability)
  • Roofing (if any structural changes are made)
  • Electric Service Changes
  • Window or Door Replacement (if door or window size is changed)
  • Mobile Home, Modular Home or Manufactured Home Placement
  • Swimming Pools
  • Tents and Awnings (commercial)
  • New Commercial and/or Industrial Structures
  • Commercial and/or Industrial Structure Remodels
  • Demolition of Structures
  • Commercial Parking Garages
  • Commercial Communication Towers
  • Temporary Permit for Construction Site Trailer, Produce Stands, Tropical Ice Stands, etc
  • Educational, Medical, Institutional and Church Structures
  • Civic Organization Structures
  • Signs (other than, name/identification of two square feet or less, temporary business sign not maintained more than 10 days, real estate for sale signs not to exceed six square feet in area, signs directing or guiding traffic and parking on private property but bearing no advertising matter, directional or information signs of a public or quasi-public nature erected and maintained by an official or civic body.
  • Hotels and Motels

The above list is not inclusive as other permits may be required. This can only be determined by contacting the Building, Planning & Zoning Department.

Why do I need a building permit?

The purpose of a building permit is to allow the Building Inspector to oversee construction to make sure that the minimum construction standards are provided. These standards safeguard life and property. The City’s building and zoning codes have been carefully enacted to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of you and your property. The City of Salem, Indiana has adopted and enforces the following building codes and ordinances:

        City of Salem Land Usage Code
        Indiana Building Codes
        International Building Codes
        International Residential Codes
        International Mechanical Codes
        International Plumbing Codes (as amended by the State of Indiana)
        International Property Maintenance Code
        National Electric Code
        National Fire Protection Code
        Indiana Administrative Code 675

These codes may be reviewed in the City of Salem Building, Planning & Zoning Department during normal working hours. The department also reviews planning and zoning applications for other matters to ensure that the City continues to be a safe and beautiful area in which to live, work and play.

What is required to get my building permit?

When you contact the Building Department, the first question you will be asked is, “What is the location of your project?” This will let us know if you are within the City of Salem’s planning and zoning jurisdiction. It is possible to have a Salem address, but actually be in another planning jurisdiction such as Washington County. You will also be asked what your project is going to be. Knowing the type of the project that you are doing will guide the department in helping you obtain the correct permit(s). There are additional requirements to obtain a permit which are detailed in full on our “Before You Apply Guide”.

Before You Apply Guide (pdf)

You also must complete a project application form. Each section on the form, that pertains to your project, must be completed in full. Bring the completed application along with documentation required from the “Before You Apply Guide” into our office to obtain permit.

Project Application Form (pdf)

Most residential permits can be obtained at the same time you provide the necessary information, as noted above. Commercial or industrial permits require a construction design release form the State of Indiana and may take a longer period of time in which to obtain the local permit. Check with our department in order to determine the time required.

Can I draw the plans myself?

Yes. The City of Salem does accept hand drawings, provided they include all information needed for your permit review.

Do I or my contractor(s) need to have a license to do the work on my project?

No. At this time the City of Salem does not provide nor require licensing. The only exception to this is plumbers. They are required to be bonded and licensed by the State of Indiana. If your project includes plumbing you will be required to hire a licensed plumber. You can check the Indiana web site to obtain plumbers who are licensed in or near your area. That web site is: https://mylicense.in.gov/eVerification

Who is responsible for obtaining the permit for my project?

The permit may be obtained by the project or property owner, contractor, architect, engineer or a permitting company. However, the project or property owner shall be responsible for making sure all inspections are requested and all conditions are met. A required inspection sheet is given for all permits issued from this department and is also copied and made a part of the notarized permit retained in this office.

What’s the cost of a permit?

The permit fee is based on the size of your project and the anticipated number of inspections required. Fees shall be assessed at $2/100 square feet of floor and/or surface area. A single inspection fee is $15 and different projects require different numbers of inspections. There are seven inspections required on a new single family residential construction, but on a small portable utility/storage building, without electric, only one inspection may be needed. For example: You are building a 2500 square foot home, which includes an attached garage and deck, your base fee would be $2 x 2500 = $50.00, seven inspections $15 x 7 = $105, so your permit fee would be a total of $155. In some cases you could phone our office ahead of time to obtain your probable permit cost. This would be subject to change if the information given by phone differs from actual project plans.

What about getting inspections?

An inspection at each and every required phase of construction must be requested in a timely manner, at least 24 hours in advance, to make certain the work conforms to the applicable building codes, the obtained permit and the approved plans. Failure to make required notification for inspection at each phase of construction, as defined upon the Required Inspections Sheet given to you during the permit process, may be cause for removal of performed work, reinstallation of performed work or Stop Work orders being issued. The Building Commissioner has the power to assess a reinspection fee of $15 for each additional inspection. The Building Commissioner also has the power to assess fines for violations, failure or refusal of all codes in connection with our Land Usage Ordinances. The violator may be fined for not less than $15, nor more than $500 for each day the violation occurs. Each day constitutes a separate offense.

Required Inpections Sheet (pdf)

Failure to aquire the proper inspections may result in one or all of the following:

Re-inspection fee of $15.00 for each additional inspection accessed by the Building Inspector. A fine of not less than $15.00, nor more than $500.00 for failure to comply with provisions set out in Salem’s Building Code. Each day constitutes a separate offense. Failure of the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy, and notation of such on Inspection Sheet.

Can I get a Certificate of Occupancy?

Final inspection determining the code compliance is a valuable and necessary part of the construction process. Once code compliance is determined, the Building Commission may issue a Certificate of Occupancy which establishes that your project is completed and has met all building codes associated with your project. Failure to have all inspections, as required, eliminates you from the privilege of obtaining the Certificate of Occupancy.