Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I apply for a permit?
Applications for permits, certificates or licenses can be made in person at the Business Development Permit Center located at 805 Central Ave., Suite 500, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202, between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Walk-Through Service. Applications may also be mailed to that address.
You can now apply for a limited set of permits online via ezTrak! This program allows you to apply for plumbing, standardized decks, residential/commercial mechanical replacement and new HVAC in existing buildings and plumbing replacements.
Fax-A-Permit is designed to provide easy and rapid access for obtaining permits and commercial and residential work which does not require drawings. Permits for items such as furnace or air conditioning replacement, repairs, and plumbing work can be faxed. Prerequisites for using this service are an active escrow account to pay for the permit, an application that does not require plans, and a fax number for receiving the permit. As an alternative to an escrow account, a credit card number and expiration date can be submitted with the faxed application. Faxed applications received by 9 a.m. on a City workday will generate a faxed permit by 5 p.m. the same day. The fax number for permits is 513-352-1598.
- What's the status of my permit?
You can now track applications, inspections and plan review online via ezTrak. This program is designed to let you check the status of applications by address or project number. You can also review reports and apply for plumbing, mechanical repair and decks online.
- How can I pay?
Payment may be made in cash, by check for the amount due, with MasterCard or Visa, or from a trust account. For your convenience, a trust account can be established to deposit funds against which you can charge your future fee.
Details about the cost of your permit can be provided by the Customer Service Section staff at 513-352-3271.
- How can I get records about a permit?
All of our building permit records are available for public inspection. You are entitled to access public records, under reasonable conditions, and to copies of those records, upon paying the cost of making the copy. Building permit records are open for inspection by any person during regular office hours 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. We are located at 3300 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio.
All of our records are maintained by address. Due to the method that our files are maintained and staff time constraints, we cannot scrutinize every report filed to find the exact information requested. Searching for a specific item, such as a Certificate of Occupancy/Inspection, Housing Orders, Building Permits, etc., are filed by address but are intermingled with all other records pertaining to that address. Please allow reasonable time to complete your search.
A request to review a building permit record should be made to the Customer Service Section. The record will be pulled and we will provide a comfortable place and instructions for the requesting person to review the records. Copies can be reproduced at a rate of five (5) cents per copy for 8 ½" x 11" and 8½" x 14" papers. For further information please call our Customer Service Section at 513-352-3271.
- How do I apply for an electrical permit?
Electrical permits, inspections and plan review are outsourced to the Inspection Bureau, Inc. (IBI). IBI is located at 250 W. Court Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. The IBI process is fully integrated with the City’s electronic building permit processes. The electrical contractor submits permit applications and plans directly to IBI at their office.
The turnaround time for electrical plan review is three days. The turnaround time for electrical permits (at IBI's counter) is about 15 minutes. Permit submittals and scheduling requests can also be submitted online.
In extremely rare cases, a developer or builder may choose to undertake these tasks instead of the electrical contractor. In these cases the developer or builder may complete the necessary forms at the Business Development & Permit Center, and IBI will pick them up. IBI has staff dedicated to the Business Development & Permit Center that is immediately accessible via telephone should any questions arise. For more information, please call IBI at 513-977-4381.
- How can I schedule an inspection?
For information pertaining to your specific project or to schedule an inspection, please contact the inspector listed on the front of your building, plumbing or mechanical permit. For additional contact information, a complete list of BCI inspectors and their phone numbers can be access by clicking this link.
- What are the results of my inspection?
Inspection results are posted to the permit on the next business day, and those results, along with other permit history, can be viewed online by following these steps:
- Go to http://cagis.hamilton-co.org/opal/ezTrakSearch.aspx?entcode=cinc
- Enter the Project Address or the Permit/Case#. This will open a screen that contains general information, approvals and inspection results.
- I want to check if my contractor is registered.
- Go to http://cagis.hamilton-co.org/opal/registeredContractors.aspx?entcode=cinc
- Enter the contractors name or search by contractor type.
- If the contractor you are looking for is not listed, please contact Cheryl Alexander at 513-352-3260 for further assistance.
- How do I register as a contractor?
Contractors wishing to be registered shall make application to the Bureau of Buildings and Inspections where their application for registration will be reviewed and processed based on the minimum requirements that are listed in the ordinance. For a summary of the ordinance and the required forms please visit the Contractor Registration page.
- How do I know the right codes that apply to my project?
For more information pertaining to the latest Codes and Standards, please call the Building Plans Examination Section at 513-352-3313 and ask to speak to the Building Plans Examiner on call.
Through sound planning practices, City Planning ensures that our great city is enriched with vitality, thrives as an urban center, and is a model to other cities nationwide.
The department utilizes creative planning principles to guide land use while ensuring excellent customer service and fostering safe and sustainable building development. Some of their responsibilities include developing and administering the Zoning Code, Subdivision Rules and Regulations, and other land use regulatory processes.