Permits & Code Enforcement
The City of West Columbia does not have zoning but does require permitting of any new or partial construction. Ordinances restrict the location of commercial or business interests and mobile homes or recreational vehicles.
Who can get a Permit?
Residential permits on existing houses may be issued to the owner of the residential property or any contractor. A homeowner may act as their own contractor but plumbers, electricians, or HVAC installers hired by the owner must be licensed by the State of Texas and insured. The owner of the property is responsible for full code compliance and conformity to the City of West Columbia rules and regulations. New construction must be conducted by a proficient contractor, requires certified plans for the development including plot plans, site, drainage, foundation, exterior, interior, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, etc., and must submit Letters of No Objection (LNO) from the West Brazoria Co. Drainage District No. 11 and Texas Dept of Transportation (if applicable) before permits are issued. New Construction requires a meeting with the authority having jurisdiction.
Plan Review and Permit fees
Once your permit application is submitted, it may go through a plan review process. Larger projects will generally take 10 -14 business days for review. At time of submittal, a plan review fee is paid. The plan review fee is one-half of the building permit fee. Fees for electrical, plumbing, and HVAC are based on an itemized chart.
The homeowner, acting as the contractor, is responsible for calling for inspections; otherwise, the project contractor will schedule inspections. Inspections are required during construction and upon completion. No portion of construction may be covered, concealed, or put into use until inspected and approved by a City of West Columbia Building Inspector. Call 979-345-3123 to schedule. Calls made before 3p.m. are scheduled for the next business day. Calls made after 3p.m., may be scheduled up to two business days later.
What Requires a Permit?
If your property is within the City’s jurisdiction and you are erecting, constructing, enlarging, altering, repairing, improving, removing, converting, moving, demolishing any building, structure, or a portion thereof, or a tenant space within the structure, a City of West Columbia permit is required.
Depending on the extent of work, one or more of the following permits may be required:
- Mechanical (heating/air conditioning ) ;and / or
- Development (site plan).
The following items do not require a permit:
- *Inspection Fee Only-One story detached accessory structures used as tool or storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 sq. ft and the structure is placed according to setback requirements;
- Fences not over 6 feet high (placement in easements is at property owner’s risk:
- Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, countertops and similar finish work;
- Prefabricated swimming pools less than 24 inches deep; or
- Swings and other playground equipment.
REPAIRS: A permit shall not be required for ordinary minor repairs to a structure. For questions on ordinary repairs, call 979-345-3123.
EMERGENCY REPAIRS: Where equipment replacement or repairs must be performed in an emergency, the permit application must be submitted the next business day.
NEW ELECTRICAL SERVICE: Property owners requesting new service must, in addition to obtaining a city permit, submit a request with the electric company and the electrical provider of their choice. This should be done as soon as possible to prevent delays.
Other permits required:
- Garage sale
- Moving manufactured houses into City of West Columbia
- Demolition of houses or commercial buildings
- Peddlers License
- Solicitors License
- Alcohol Permit
- Certificate of occupancy (See Below)
Certificate of Occupancy
A certificate of occupancy is issued by the city’s building department. The purpose is to certify that a building is in compliance with building codes and that it is suitable for occupancy.
HOW TO OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY:
- Complete the Certificate of Occupancy Application at City Hall. (Commercial facilities require a Business Contact Information form.)
- A Customer Service Inspection is required in accordance with City Ordinance 659. Request inspection 48 hours in advance through the Public Works Department.
- Schedule an inspection with the building inspector to ensure code compliance.*Inspection Fee*
2015 International Building Codes
The city adopted the 2015 International Building Codes.
Properties may be located on the following maps to identify what floodplain it is located: FIRM 48039C0395H (PDF) all of West Columbia except area South of Dance Dr.
FIRM 48039C0560H (PDF) area south of Dance Dr.