Application Process

This information is the most common process for obtaining a permit. It may not reflect all the conditions you may encounter. Please check our website for more information.

Step 1: Beginning the Permit Application

The Community Development staff can provide resources and information necessary to make your project a success and to avoid potential problems which could cost you time and money. Be prepared to discuss your project with permit staff who will ask you questions such as "What are you planning to do?" and "Where are you planning to do it?" The permit staff will discuss the specific process for your project with you.

The City of Salem issues separate building permits and trade (electrical, mechanical, and plumbing) permits. Therefore, depending on your project, you may need multiple permits. Please note that contractors will also need a Salem business license to do work in the city.

Step 2: Permit Application

A completed permit application is required prior to beginning the administrative process. The documents must all be in PDF format and legible. Any unreadable documents or other formats will not be accepted. All our documents are fillable PDFs.

Any new construction or exterior addition will require a plat of the property showing the construction / addition, the dimensions, and distances from the property lines before a permit application will be reviewed.

Please send the electronic copies to the email above.

Step 3: The Review Process

During the review process, we will determine if your project is in compliance with the building code, the City of Salem zoning, and other city or state ordinances and statutes. The length of the review process will depend on the type and complexity of the project.

If we need more information, we will contact you. Once we receive the information, we can continue with our review.

Step 4: Permit Approval

When compliance with the code, zoning, and other applicable statutes are determined, the permit application is approved and you will be contacted to pay for and receive the permit.

Step 5: Construction

During the entire construction phase, all permits must be placed in a window or other prominent place at the project site and a copy of the city-approved building plans and related documents must be at the site.

Step 6: Inspections

Each major phase of construction must be inspected by a city inspector to make certain the work conforms to the code, the permit and the approved plans.

Inspection requests for each permit may be made via the phone or in person. Normally, the response is one business day after the request is made.

If an inspector finds that work does not conform to the approved plans, the inspector will fail the inspection and provide comments. Failed inspections will need to be reinspected before the next work phase. If an inspection fails a second time, a fee may be charged. Further failures may have additional fees.

Step 7: Field Changes

Most changes will require review and approval in the same manner as the original application. Please bring any proposed revisions or alterations to the attention of the permit staff before making changes in the field.

Step 8: Project Completion

When the project is completed and code compliance is determined, the inspector issues a final inspection. The final inspection marks the completion of your project and grants permission to occupy a building with the knowledge that it has met the minimum safety standards as required by code.