The Habersham County Building Department operates under a unified code system that is applicable regardless of which jurisdiction construction occurs. The department enforces International Building Codes as prescribed by the International Code Council, mandated by and amended by the State of Georgia.
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 or remodeling, 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 by the Building Department before construction begins.
Building permits may be requested in person at the Building Department or by contacting Tom Braswell by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Effective Feb. 15, 2007, the Building Department will require all residential and commercial building permit applicants to have all of 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.
- Building code enforcement prevents instant slums and therefore contributes to the maintenance of a stable tax base. 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, these homes need to be constructed to the same standards in order to assure the health, safety and welfare of those purchasing the home and to protect their investment.
- 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.
- 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, where 10 is 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 inspections are often a prerequisite for state and federal grants. A county cannot usually support itself without the help of state and federal grants. Without these grants, citizens pay higher taxes in order for the locality to survive and provide services to the community.
- Codes protect the life, health, and property of residents and thus help provide a better living environment. 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.
- 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 that a local entity is not prepared for.
Mailing Address: 6257 State Highway 115, Clarkesville, GA 30523
Location: 6257 State Highway 115, Clarkesville, GA 30523
Phone: 706-839-0140 Fax: 706-754-1761
Tom Braswell, Building Director