Habersham County operates under and enforces International Building Codes as prescribed by the International Code Council, mandated and amended by the State of Georgia. Click here to access International Building Codes.
The primary mission of the Building Department is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people by ensuring a safe building environment.
Habersham County requires that all construction work, such as building, remodeling and additions, conform to state codes. Permits are required; and to make sure that the codes are followed, building inspections are performed at different stages of the job. At times, therefore, work may be temporarily halted until an inspection has been done and approval granted. All work to any structure, be it new construction, addition, or alteration to an existing structure, must be approved and permitted before construction begins.
Building permits may be requested in person or by contacting Tom Braswell by email.
All residential and commercial building permit applicants are required to have the following before being turned in for review:
- Recorded plat of property with structure drawn on plat
- Complete set of drawings/plans with doors and windows listed
- Preliminary septic tank permit
The Building Department also enforces erosion and sediment controls in the County. Any grading, clearing, grubbing, or installation of driveways on any property shall be required to obtain a Land Disturbance Permit.
- Codes protect the life, health, and property of residents and thus help provide a better living environment. Without code enforcement, a builder can come into a community and build a sub-standard home that he will sell below the market value, thus affecting the value of the home constructed by a builder who builds at or above the standard. Even though there is a need for lower-cost housing, all homes need to be constructed to the same standards in order to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of those purchasing the home and to protect their investment. With everyone building on the same level of guidelines, it causes the building market to be strong and fair. It helps to protect the property values of every person in the community by requiring everyone to live up to the same standard as far as construction is concerned.
- The permitting/inspections system provides a means of systematically updating property assessments. This is important so that each person within the county community is contributing fairly to the tax base when they build on their property.
- Building inspections oftentimes result in lower insurance rates. It is getting more difficult to purchase homeowner's insurance on a home that has not been inspected. Rates on homeowner's insurance are based on what is known as an ISO rating. Each locality is graded on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst rating, causing insurance premiums to be higher. Much of what the locality is graded on involves permitting, plan review, and a code inspection program. Without these, a higher rating (which is bad) can be expected. The lower the rating is, the better it is.
- Building codes and inspections assist in keeping growth at a moderate level. We all know growth is going to happen, whether we like it or not. Building inspections provide a moderate way to keep that growth under control and consistent. Without building codes and inspections, everyone doing things "their own way" only leads to fast, uncontrolled growth for which a local entity is not prepared and results in unsafe building practices.