Division of Housing and Building
The Division of Housing & Building issues permits covering any alterations, repairs or new construction, contractor registration and licensing and housing licenses, as well as permits for peddler and/or solicitor's licenses. The Division administers general tests for plumbing, HVAC and electrical licenses. It inspects all structures in the City either by mandatory inspection or upon request. The Division accepts variance applications for the Board of Zoning Appeals, Board of Building Standards and Architectural Review Board.
The Division of Housing and Building provides code enforcement and plan examination services. It conducts annual inspections on rental property, permit inspections, complaint inspections, and prior to sale inspections. The Division issues permits on new construction, repairs, and alterations. The Division maintains a registry of contractors able to work in the City. It also accepts applications for the Board of Zoning Appeals, Board of Building Standards, Architectural Board of Review, and the Planning Commission.
The department is made up of one Dept. Administrator, one Assistant Building Commissioner for Residential, overseeing a staff of five residential inspectors, one Assistant Building Commissioner for Commercial, overseeing a staff of four commercial inspectors, one Litter Control Agent, and three Administrative Support Staff. This staff has over 300 years in combined professional experience with inspections, engineering, contracting, and support, plus 30 hours of continuing education every 3 years for each state certification an inspector holds (avg. of 4 certifications each)
The chief priority of this department is enforcement of commercial and residential building codes for every structure in the City. This task is accomplished through the following processes:
- Annual inspections consist of complete interior, exterior, and yard area inspections of non-owner occupied structures on a street by street basis. Streets are assigned until all of the above properties have been inspected. When completed, the inspection rotation begins again.
- Exterior inspections are performed in all non-Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) areas. These are external only inspections and are assigned by complaint and on a rotational street-by-street basis.
- Zone Check inspections are the responsibility of inspectors assigned to a specific ward of the City to ferret out the “eye sore” properties and to issue a correction notice to the property owner.
- Exterior/Interior Complaint inspections are triggered from various sources including citizen calls, councilpersons, “report-a-problem”, police or public works referrals, etc.
- Certificate of Occupancy Inspections are mandated for all non-owner occupied rental properties that are on the market for sale. This inspection includes the interior, exterior, and yard areas of the property.
- Prior to Sale inspections are for owner occupied properties. Should an owner request it, an inspection is conducted on the interior, exterior, and yard areas when they are marketing their property for sale.
- Lakewood First Time Homebuyers Program inspections are initiated by the property owner and are required for participation in the program.
The Division of Housing and Building provides for plan examination services, which consists of both in-office and outsourced certified plans examinations. We also aid the citizens and business owners who need additional information regarding building projects; be it garages, room additions, storefront remodels, or simply questions regarding permit requirements.
The Lakewood Building Department issues permits for new construction, repairs, and alterations. Then inspectors, certified by the State of Ohio, inspect the permitted work on an ongoing basis throughout the construction process.
The department staff advises the various boards including the Board of Zoning Appeals, whose purpose is to review applications for variances to the Zoning Code; the Board of Building Standards and Architectural Board of Review & Sign Review. This multi-task Board considers applications for variances or appropriateness for commercial and residential building modifications and signage; The Planning Commission to review use and occupancy variances.
In addition to the above duties, inspectors are required to appear and offer testimony in Lakewood Municipal Court for those person(s) who do not comply with correction notices issued in support of the local and state property maintenance and/or safety codes.
A City’s Building Department is a part of its backbone and growth source. It exists to to enhance safety, improve housing and commercial buildings, and to curb signs of blight. This is especially true in a city such as Lakewood, whose homes are entering their second century of life.