FAQ

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Building Inspections
    1.  What inspections are required?
    2.  How is an inspection requested?
    3.  How far in advance should an inspection request be made?
    4.  Can photographs or photometric methods of a construction phase be substituted in lieu of an inspector visit?
    5.  What is required for the release of the power and gas to the utility companies?
    6.  How can I receive help with technical questions on building, plumbing, electrical or gas problems?
 
Building Permits
    1.  When are permits required ?
    2.  Who can legally obtain a permit?
    3.  How do I pay for a permit?
    4.  Where can I obtain a permit?
    5.  What additional fees might I expect to be charged and why?
    6.  How can I become a plumbing, electrical or gas contractor in Jefferson County?
    7.  How do I become bonded in Jefferson County?
 
Building Plans
    1.  What plans need examination?
    2.  How many plan sets are required for this service?
    3.  How long does it take for this service to be completed?
 
Complaints
    1.  What can be done about old abandoned structures?
    2.  What can be done about water problems, run-off, leaky basements, or wet crawl spaces?
    3.  Can Inspection Services help me with:
    4.  Why can't I build on my family land "that I will never sell" without interference from Jefferson County?
 
Building Inspections
    Q.  What inspections are required?
    A.  Building - (1) Foundation (2) Framing (3) Final
Plumbing - (1) Underground piping inspection (2) Rough-in inspection (3) Final inspection
Gas - (1) Rough piping inspection (2) Intermediate inspection (3) Final inspection
Electrical - (1) Rough and concealed inspection (2) Intermediate inspection (3) Final inspection

    Q.  How is an inspection requested?
    A.  The individual inspector is called between 7:30 am and 8:30 am Monday through Friday to schedule an inspection. After 8:30 am each morning, the radio room receives the inspection request and transmits to the inspector the required information. If the inspector can make the request that same day he will at that time set an appointment. If his schedule will not allow time, he will ask the radio room personnel to record the information so that he may make his inspection the following day. Only the permit holder can legally request an inspection. This procedure helps eliminate re-inspection fees. The radio room telephone numbers are: (205) 325-5321 and (205) 325-5746.

    Q.  How far in advance should an inspection request be made?
    A.  Jefferson County does not schedule more than the day's activities. It is best to schedule the inspection during the 7:30 am to 8:30 am hour. Generally calls after that time are scheduled the following day.

    Q.  Can photographs or photometric methods of a construction phase be substituted in lieu of an inspector visit?
    A.  No, it is not possible for the Department of Inspection Services to accept these as substitutes for an inspection.

    Q.  What is required for the release of the power and gas to the utility companies?
    A.  All building and utility permit inspections must be finalized to insure a safe structure.

    Q.  How can I receive help with technical questions on building, plumbing, electrical or gas problems?
    A.  Call the following inspectors as applicable:

  • Building - Chief Building Inspector (205) 325-5149
  • Gas and Plumbing - Chief Plumbing and Gas Inspector (205) 325-5150
  • Electrical - Chief Electrical Inspector (205) 325-5151


 
Building Permits
    Q.  When are permits required ?
    A.  Permits are required of any owner, authorized agent or contractor who desires to:
  • Construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure
  • Erect or construct a sign of any description
  • Install or alter fire extinguishing apparatus, elevators, engines
  • Install a steam boiler, furnace, heater, incinerator heat-producing apparatus, or other


    Q.  Who can legally obtain a permit?
    A. 
  • A licensed General Contractor
  • A licensed homebuilder
  • A homeowner building their own home
  • A master plumber, master gas fitter or master electrician holding a valid card and bonded in Jefferson County
  • Homeowners can obtain plumbing and electrical permits under special conditions


  •     Q.  How do I pay for a permit?
        A.  The cost of the permit is calculated by the plans examiners at the time of permit issuance and the purchase can be made by check or cash.

        Q.  Where can I obtain a permit?
        A.  Permits may be obtained at either the Birmingham or Bessemer Inspection Services offices.

        Q.  What additional fees might I expect to be charged and why?
        A.  Three inspections are generally included in the cost of each permit. When additional inspections are required due to faulty materials, equipment, apparatus or workmanship, re-inspection fees are charged at a progressive rate as follows:

    1st re-inspection - $15.00
    2nd re-inspection - $30.00
    All additional re-inspections - $50.00

        Q.  How can I become a plumbing, electrical or gas contractor in Jefferson County?
        A.  Plumbing Contractor' State of Alabama Requirements - Any person, firm, or corporation engaged in or proposing to engage in the business of doing, or contracting to do, or superintending the installation of plumbing, either or both, must be qualified as set forth in Statutory Law and rules of the Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board Title 34 Chapter 37 Section 1-18 of the 1997 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature. A business license shall be obtained from the City, County and State as required and proper bond posted.

    Gas Fitters State of Alabama Requirements - Any person, firm, or corporation engaged in or proposing to engage in the business of doing, or contracting to do, or superintending the installation of gas fitting, gas systems or gas work, either or both, must be qualified as set forth in Statutory Law and rules of the Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board Title 34 Chapter 37 Section 1-18 of the 1997 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature. A business license shall be obtained from the City, County and State as required and proper bond posted.

    Electrical Contractor - Before any person, firm or corporation shall engage in the electrical business within Jefferson County, they shall be a qualified master electrician as set forth in the electrical code of Jefferson County, a business license shall be obtained from the City, County and State as required and proper bond posted.

        Q.  How do I become bonded in Jefferson County?
        A.  The electrical, plumbing or gas contractor should maintain continuously and file with Jefferson County a bond in the sum of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) with a bonding company duly authorized to do business in Alabama.


     
    Building Plans
        Q.  What plans need examination?
        A.  Any plan submitted for construction is reviewed.

        Q.  How many plan sets are required for this service?
        A.  Two sets of plans and specifications are required as applicable.

        Q.  How long does it take for this service to be completed?
        A.  Residential plan review is generally done while the permit application is being completed. The length of time for a commercial project will depend on the size of the project and the complexity of design. Generally, one to two weeks is the time required depending on the size of the project and the backlog of review in place.

     
    Complaints
        Q.  What can be done about old abandoned structures?
        A.  Jefferson County has a Public Nuisance law in place to help rid the County of abandoned structures. Any citizen of Jefferson County can call the Chief Building Inspector at 325-5149 to begin proceedings that can include removal of the structure.

        Q.  What can be done about water problems, run-off, leaky basements, or wet crawl spaces?
        A.  Call the Chief Building Inspector at 325-5149 and schedule a meeting to review the problem, determine a cause and agree on a solution.

        Q.  Can Inspection Services help me with:
        A. 

    A contractor who has not finished construction but has taken the money?
    No, this is a legal problem between you and your contractor.

    A landlord who does not make repairs to a rented house or apartment?
    No, Inspection Services does not inspect the quality of existing rental property

    Exactly how to fix my non-code compliance problem?
    Call Inspection Services at 325-5152 to discuss the problem so that suggestions might be given to fix your problems. Inspection Services can only make suggestions to avoid legal problems.



        Q.  Why can't I build on my family land "that I will never sell" without interference from Jefferson County?
        A.  All construction in unincorporated Jefferson County is required by law to have inspections made on any construction that requires a permit. No one lives forever and someday this property will be sold!