Blog

Landscape Construction Permits

Who needs them and why?

 

Permits are an important topic of discussion.  Recently some cities, townships and villages have begun requiring permits for basic landscape projects.  Building, Zoning, Soil Erosion, & Grading Departments are beginning to get involved in permit requirements.  This delays jobs and increases the construction costs.

Some construction projects have always required building permits to assure construction is up to industry standards.  For example, wood decks have always required construction permits.  By Michigan Building Code, support post must be 42" below grade due to the frost line in Michigan.  In addition, wood decks being suspended in the air must be able to hold the load on them and design calculations must meet building code.  This is clearly a safety issue.  Further, the installation of a structure may require a zoning permit to be sure it meets setback requirements.

However, unlike a wood deck, a brick paver has no building requirements under the Michigan Building Code.  It falls under landscaping and there is nothing to inspect from a construction safety standpoint.  As this point has been challenged, governments are shifting the building permit to a zoning permit saying the structure must meet setback requirements.  The big question is "is a paver patio a structure?"  For the last 30 years patios have fallen under the landscape category.  Today this is all changing.  Make sure you fully understand the requirements in the community you live in.

In addition to local permits, DEQ permits are required for work along a body of water 5 acres or greater.  Oakland County Road Commission permits are also needed for any work in a public road right-of-way, such as a new driveway or an existing driveway removal & replacement project.  All government agencies have specific application forms which may require the applicant to provide drawings and pictures.  Each city has different requirements.  Some do not require permits at all.  Which permits you will need and the fees depend on the scope of work, size of project, and the community the project is done in.  If a DEQ permit is required, the local government typically follows their protocol and approves once the State has issued their permit.

At Squeals Landscaping Inc. our staff is experienced in applying for permits and will apply for them on your behalf.  Now is a great time to begin the permit process for work you want installed in the spring.

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Squeals does exemplary work. We hired them to do pavers for our driveway and we continue to admire the exquisite work. The owner, David Biel, has honor and integrity. He stands behind his work, and his pride in his company is always apparent. Since our driveway was completed, I have hired Squeals for two additional jobs, and referred them to several of our friends. Nobody is disappointed. They demonstrate excellent workmanship and they stand behind their work - customer service is unparalleled.* Gigi W. | Read More Testimonials
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