Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Questions Regarding City Regulations and Damage Repair

Have questions about City of Southlake regulations and repairing damage to private property from the recent winter storm? See our Q&A below:

Q)  Can a plumber do emergency work without a permit?

A) Yes, the work can be completed. The plumber should obtain a permit from the City at their earliest convenience. This process is especially important as the risk of unscrupulous contractors increases in the aftermath of an emergency situation.


Q)  If a plumber does emergency work will the City conduct an inspection?

A)  Yes, the City will schedule an inspection to ensure that the work completed meets the International Building Code Requirements once an inspection is requested by the permit holder. Once the work is completed by a licensed plumber, the system can be immediately placed back in service prior to the City inspection being conducted. This is an important safeguard for property owners, especially in the aftermath of an emergency.


Q)  Can a contractor do emergency work as a result of water damage or other storm related damage?

A)  Yes, the work can be completed. The contractor should obtain a permit from the City at their earliest convenience. The City will conduct an inspection on the work once requested by the permit holder.


Q)  Can a homeowner repair their own plumbing system?

A) Yes, but the homeowner still needs to obtain a permit from the City and are subject to inspections. The homeowner will need to contact the City to schedule the inspection.


Q)  Who should repair my water heater?

A)  It is recommended that a licensed plumber evaluate and repair water heaters.


Q) Will the City conduct an inspection on my water heater repair?

A)  Yes, once a permit has been obtained, the City will conduct an inspection once requested by the permit holder. If a licensed plumber performs the repairs, the system can be placed back into service immediately prior to an inspection being conducted. The State also allows homeowners to make their own repairs but you still need a permit and are subject to inspections. The City will conduct an inspection once a permit has been obtained and an inspection is requested by the permit holder. The City also can inspect water heaters via a video submitted by the permit holder.


Q)  Is the plumber or contractor responsible for obtaining the necessary permits?

A)  Yes. Reputable contractors understand the process.


Q)  Can permits be obtain online via the website?

A)  Yes, visit the City Building Inspection webpage – Online permitting.


Q)  Will the City be waiving permit fees for emergency repairs related to the recent weather events?

A) Yes – for any storm related damage for a 60 day period.


Q) Why do I need a permit from the City?

A) Permits are written authorizations issued by the City for building related a projects (plumbing, electrical, remodel, etc.) to ensure the safety of the work and its compliance with building, construction and zoning codes. It is also a way to ensure that the contractor that is doing work at your home or business is registered to do work in the City and holds the necessary licenses to perform the work. Once work is completed, the contractor (permit holder) is responsible to contact the City and schedule an inspection.  Once an inspection is scheduled, a City building inspector will visit your home/business to ensure that the work conducted meets all code requirements. This is an important safeguard for property owners, especially in the aftermath of an emergency.


Q)  If I have a question on the permitting process, who should I call or contact?

A)  You can call the Building Inspections Department at 817-748-8236 or 8237 (Business Hours). Also, you can ask a question online by visiting our Building Inspections webpage on the City’s web site.


Q) How do I choose a contractor?

A) Here’s our guidance on selecting a contractor.

Request a Permit Through Our Self-Service Portal

The City understands the importance of customer service and wants the community to have access to request a permit and request inspections online, from the comfort of their home.

EnerGov Customer Self-Service is a multi-faceted site used for permitting and scheduling inspections. The site allows customers to pay fees, check inspection results, apply for all building permits and upload plans.

The site also allows customers to request an inspection on an existing record, review a map of ongoing activity in their neighborhood and search public records on existing permits, plans, inspections, code cases and more.

Customers can access the site 24/7 to retrieve information or handle business right from the comfort of their own home.

If you need assistance in signing up or navigating the system, step-by-step instructions are available on the Online Permitting and Inspections webpage.

For more information about the EnerGov Customer Self-Service website, contact Planning and Development Services Building and Inspections Division online or call 817-748-8236.

Celebrating Building Safety!

Join the Planning and Development Service Department in celebrating Building Safety during the month of May! This month-long campaign recognizes all aspects of building safety and reinforces the need for adoption and implementation of modern, regularly-updated building codes. These codes help individuals, families and businesses by creating safe, sustainable structures constructed in a manner that minimizes risk of injury and property damage.

All communities need building codes to protect their citizens. Model building codes, adopted and enforced by well-trained, professional officials are society’s best way of protecting homes, offices, schools, stores and entertainment venues.

“Our staff members: Permit Technicians, Code Enforcement Officers, Fire Officials, Building Inspectors and Plans Examiners are also known as First Preventers, whom play a major role in protecting property and making sure Southlake families and the community is safer and more resilient,” stated Senior Director of Planning and Development Services Ken Baker. “Success is measured as a non-event; therefore, their mission is to prevent harm by ensuring compliance with building safety codes before a disaster occurs.”

The International Code Council identified four core themes that will be highlighted throughout the month of May:

To learn more about Building Safety Month, please visit International Code Council’s website. For more information about Southlake’s best practices for building safety, visit our website or give us a call at (817) 748-8621.

Solar Panels – What You Need to Know

If you are looking to create a more energy-efficient space, than you may be considering installing solar panels.

Solar panels generate electricity and are usually installed on the roof. Only in rare cases, solar panels are installed on the ground. The City of Southlake requires permits from both planning and building inspections before any solar panels are installed.

There are many reasons homeowners and business owners have solar panels installed, the most common reason is to improve the environment and reduce the electric bill.  However, getting solar panels installed is not a turnkey process.

To get started, you must do the following:

  1. First, the applicant can select a contractor to install solar panels. Just be sure they are registered with the city before they install! See our tips on selecting a contractor.
  2. Next, the applicant must apply for a Specific Use Permit through Planning and Development Services. The applicant will have to go through the development process by attending a SPIN Town Hall Forum (which is optional), a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, and two City Council meetings. It is required through Southlake’s zoning ordinance that an applicant receives approval from City Council. The development process allows an opportunity for surrounding neighbors to understand what is being constructed or installed near their property.
  3. If the Specific Use Permit is approved by City Council, the applicant (or contractor for the project) will need to apply for and obtain an electrical permit from our Building Inspections division. Once the permit is obtained, solar panel installation can commence. After installation is completed, a Southlake building inspector will inspect that the solar panel was properly installed for building safety purposes. Undergoing the development process and obtaining the necessary permits ensures that the solar panel is designed for building safety and will be properly installed.

All construction must begin within six months of obtaining these permits. If you have any further questions about solar panels, please the Planning and Development website. For information on applications, fees and submittal schedules, click here.

Residential Building Permits 101

A new year comes with new home renovations. As we prepare our customized projects for the spring reveal, it’s important to know whether or not you need a permit.

The general purpose of a permit is to guarantee that a permanent record of the work performed is documented.  A permit also ensures that inspections are completed to reinforce the building/project is up to code. The code shows that the structure is safe from failure, fire and electrical damages.

So, what do you need a permit for? Well, that depends; most permits are mandatory on any remodels or updates that require a licensed trade such as plumbing or electrical work and anything that involves moving walls or has a structural component. Common permits are: swimming pool – installs, builds or fillings, construction of a building such as carports, patio covers and gazebos and foundation repair. Some items you may not know whether or not you need a permit for include replacing and adding water heaters, irrigation systems and septic to system hook up to City sewer.

Once you have determined whether or not you need a permit, you can fill out an online application on the City’s website or visit the Building Inspections Department at Town Hall.  Common information such as the address, scope work and a plan of what you doing as well as the information of the licensed contractor you will hire to do the job is required. This information must be known before you apply for a permit.  With the correct information and completed forms, the full process can take one or two weeks.

Please note, if you have a contractor that says you do not need a permit, error on the side of caution and please contact the City first.

If you are unsure about what to get a permit for just visit our website in the Residential Construction section here.

For a list of permit guidelines, click here. For questions regarding permits, please contact the Building Inspections Department at 817-748-8237 or 8236.