What is the best way to contact an inspector? Who can I speak to regarding commercial and residential building code questions?Please call the Building Inspection Division office at 803-642-7675 from 8:10 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
How do I find out the status of my building permit application?Please call the Building Inspection Division at 803-642-7675 for answers to permit status questions.
How can I schedule an inspection?Please call the Building Inspection Division office at 803-642-7675 from 8:10 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Inspections called in or emailed by 4:00 pm will be scheduled for the next business day, excluding holidays.
Can I schedule a specific time for an inspection with the Building Inspections Division?Maybe. The majority of time, we are unable to schedule specific times for an inspection. The number, type, and location of inspection, plus staff level dictate daily how we arrange our inspection schedule. However, there are occasions when it is necessary for us to arrange a specific time to conduct an inspection. These are done on a case by case basis and arranged by the staff and Building Official.
Do I need a contractor’s license if I am building my own home? Do I need a license to do building, plumbing, electrical, or mechanical/gas work on my own house?No. However, you must follow South Carolina state law with respect to building permits and establishing residency in the home that you are constructing. For example, if you build your own residence, you are not allowed to sell or rent the home within two years after completion or the issuing of a Certificate of Occupancy. In addition, you must supervise the construction yourself, and you may only build or improve a one family or two family residence without a contractor’s license. Also, as the owner of the residential building or structure you must promptly file as a matter of public record a notice with the register of deeds, indexed under your name in the grantor’s index, stating that the residential building or structure was constructed by the owner as an unlicensed builder. It is also your responsibility to make sure that people employed by you have licenses required by state law and by City of Aiken licensing ordinances. Your construction must comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, building codes, and zoning regulations.
Can I make repairs to my rental property myself?No. Rental property is considered income property and work must be done by licensed contractors.
What is a “Specialty Contractor”? Do they need a contractor’s license?A Residential Specialty Contractor is an independent contractor who is not a licensed residential builder. The Specialty Contractor contracts with licensed residential builders, general contractors, or individual property owners to do construction work, repairs, improvements, or re-improvements which requires special skills and involves the use of specialized construction trades or crafts, when the undertakings exceed two hundred dollars ($200) and are not regulated by certain other code provisions.
Residential Specialty Contracting includes the following areas of contracting and other areas as the commission may recognize by regulation:
- plumbers (state examination required for license);
- electricians (state examination required for license);
- heating and air conditioning installers and repairers (state examination required for license);
- vinyl and aluminum siding installers;
- insulation installers;
- floor covering installers;
- dry wall installers/repairs;
- stucco installers;
- painters/wall paperers.
Is a contractor or someone with a specialty license required to get a City business license?Yes. Any person who does any type of construction in the City of Aiken for profit is required to obtain a business license prior to doing work and, if necessary, obtain a permit. Please contact the Business License Administrator at 803-642-7642 for questions about business licensing.
Does a contractor have to submit a list of his/her subcontractors on a job to the Building Inspection Division?Yes, because the major subcontractors (electric, mechanical/gas, and plumbing) are required to obtain separate permits for their work, and all subcontractors working on the project are required to have a City of Aiken business license.
What is the turnaround time for the approval of a building permit?The average processing time for a residential building permit is approximately 5 to 7 business day, excluding holidays. Most commercial building permit applications with a General Contractor identified on the application are processed in approximately 15 business days, excluding holidays. Processing time will be longer if submitted applications are incomplete or if more information and/or additional plans are requested by our office.
How many copies of a plan do I need to turn in for permitting?Two (2) copies of plans should be submitted for review with permit applications. For commercial projects, if the building exceeds 5,000 square feet or will be used as a place of assembly or for institutional or educational purposes plans must be designed and stamped by a design professional.
Do I have to pay a plan review fee before plans will be reviewed by the Building Inspection Division?No. An up-front fee is not required when plans are submitted for review. A plan review fee will be collected when the building permit has been approved and is ready to be issued.
How long is a building permit valid?An issued building permit is null and void if authorized construction is not commenced within 6 months of the issue date, or if construction is suspended/abandoned for 6 months after commencement.
What time is building construction (noise) allowed? Can work be done on weekends?The City Code of Aiken permits construction noise during daytime hours between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm, Monday through Saturday, and the hours between 9:00 am and 10:00 pm on Sunday. Construction noise may be exempt from the daytime hour requirement if a permit has been obtained from the City in advance.
Where and when do I obtain a Certificate of Occupancy for my project?A Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is issued by the Building Official after the final inspection of the project is approved and any and all necessary documents, such as load calculations, compaction reports, etc., are on file. In most cases, an issued CO is automatically emailed or mailed to the builder of record or the owner-builder. Issued CO’s can also be picked up at the Building Inspection Division office in Room 201 on the second floor of the City Municipal Building located at 214 Park Ave SW.
What is the process of changing or adding a contractor once a building permit has been issued?Please send the Building Inspection Division a written statement about the subcontractor addition or change with the subcontractor‘s names, the building permit (application) number and the construction address. The written statement can be faxed to 803-642-7672. The written statement is necessary so that we have a record of the addition/change and, if applicable, a refund can be processed for the subcontractor who is no longer doing the work on the project.
When is a permit required?Almost always. A permit is required when work is done on a building or structure, or the systems serving the structure (electrical, mechanical/gas, and plumbing.
Some examples of projects requiring a permit are (applies to residential and commercial):
- Accessory structures
- Detached garage
- Carport (including metal pre-built)
- Workshop or storage building/shed
- Pool house
Renovations and remodels
- Change in Occupancy for a commercial use
- Enclosing an existing covered porch, attached carport, or screen porch
- Replacement windows
- Vinyl siding that is newly applied or is replaced (changed out)
- Porch cover over slab or deck
- Finishing an attic
- Additions to any structure
- Attached garage
- Screen porch
- Electrical, mechanical/gas, and plumbing work
- Installing or replacing a furnace or air conditioner
- Installing gas lines for a gas fireplace or a gas stove
- Installing or replacing a hot water heater (including tankless water heaters)
- Changing out an electrical panel (electrical upgrade)
- Moving receptacles
- Electrical service for solar panels
- Demolition of an existing structure
- Adding a detached or attached deck to a house
- Swimming pool
Please call the Building Inspection Division at 803-642-7675 if you have questions about whether a permit is required for a construction project.