Before beginning development on any new residential project there are several steps you will need to take to make sure your new home will be in compliance with local regulations regarding land and construction.

You will need to make sure that the lot you are intending to build on is appropriate for a home based on zoning and other requirements and complies with all building codes.

Process Overview

  1. Determine Zoning

    Before developing a parcel of land, you will need to determine if the parcel is zoned for your desired use or if there are any special development considerations for your project.

    Zoning staff will be able to tell you the zoning of the property, the setback requirements, design guidelines, and if there are any special conditions which may affect your project. If your project requires special handling, our staff will inform you of the requirements and next steps.

    Find out the zoning for your property.

    Who to Contact

    Zoning at Building Permits, (608) 266-4551.

  2. Submit Building Plans

    After your house is designed, you will need to submit building and site plans. Building plans are reviewed to ensure that construction meets minimum life, safety, and zoning requirements. Staff will examine your plans for conformance to these requirements.

    Note: If your project cannot conform to building code, follow the variance procedure. See the Petition for Variance Application for more information. Please contact Building Inspection at (608) 266-4551 with any questions.

    Where to Go

    Building Inspection Permit Counter by appointment only
    Madison Municipal Building
    215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd Suite 017
    Madison, WI 53703

    What to Include

    (Note: All plans are required to be drawn to scale)

    • Floor Plans
    • Foundation / Basement Plans
    • Elevation Views (Exterior Picture Views)
    • Cross Section View
    • Site Plan For Zoning to sign off on
    • Heat Loss Calculator for any new heated spaces
      (Use the ResCheck to calculate your heat loss.)
    • Erosion control form and plan for new one and two family homes

    For more complex projects, the initial plan review will take 10 – 15 business days.

  3. Pay Fees

    Once your plans are approved, you will need to pay for any plan review costs, building permits or other fees that may apply to your project.

    Where to Go

    Building Inspection Permit Counter by appointment only
    Madison Municipal Building
    215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd Suite 017
    Madison, WI 53703

    Once the plans have been reviewed and approved, the permit can be issued. If the plans have not been approved, new plans need to be submitted correcting the items listed in the withholding letter.

  4. Get Permits

    When your plans are approved and your fees have been paid, the Building Inspection will issue the required permits for your project.

  5. Schedule Inspections

    Several inspections will be required during construction including building, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. The Permit Counter will go through this with the applicant when the permits are issued. At that time an inspection schedule can be printed if needed. Inspections are required to ensure that all work was completed correctly. View required inspections.

    Call for an inspection request: (608) 266-4551.

  6. Completion

    After your final inspection and issuance of a certificate of occupancy, your project will be considered complete.

Related Forms & Handouts