Building Division FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

A building permit is required when an individual intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, or change the occupancy of a building or structure. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Any structural modifications
  • Installation of modular and manufactured homes
  • Garages and storage buildings, including pole barns
  • Temporary housing unit or temporary office trailer
  • Communications tower
  • Temporary MET or wind tower

The following is exempt from a building permit:

  • One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses, and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet
  • Fences under 8.5 feet in height
  • Retaining walls under 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge
  • Sidewalks and driveways
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work
  • Swings and other playground equipment

Building permit applications, along with a list of required documents to accompany the application, can be downloaded here. Applications can be submitted by e-mail, mail, or in person.

Email Address

Mailing Address:
PO Box 2047
Williston, ND 58802-2047

Physical Address:

Williams County Administration Building
Development Services, 2nd Floor
206 E. Broadway
Williston, ND 58801

Please contact the Building Division if you are unsure if your project requires a permit.

The following documents are required when submitting a Building Permit Application:

  • Parcel ID Number (PIN): 14-digit number unique to every parcel. Use this map or search this database to find your PIN.
  • Project Valuation: Total cost of the project including materials and labor. This does not include the cost of the land.
  • Legal Description: Township, Range, Section, and Quarter Description; Include block and lot number if located within a subdivision.
  • Physical Address: If the project site has not been assigned an address, one will be assigned when the permit is issued.
  • Contractor: The contractor must be licensed in North Dakota. The owner can be listed as the contractor for residential projects.
  • Building Plans: Plans must be legible, drawn to scale, and show conformance to the applicable North Dakota state building codes. Each set should include:
    • Foundation Plan: Show dimensions, anchor bolts, any hold-down types and locations, connection details, vent size and location, location and size of crawl space access
    • Floor Plan: Show dimensions, room identification, window type and size, location of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, water heater, furnace, ventilation fans, plumbing fixtures, balconies and decks, location and construction details for stairs and handrails
    • Elevation Plan: Front, rear and side elevations of the proposed structure
  • Site Plan: Show what structures already exist on the property and the proposed structure. The site plan must show the following:
    • North arrow
    • Footprint of proposed and existing structures
    • Lot and building dimensions
    • Setback dimensions for the following: building(s) to property lines, building to building, building to road(s)
    • Driveway location
  • Grading and Drainage Plan
    • Additionally, a Storm Water Management Plan and Hydrology Report may be required for commercial projects.
  • Township Application: Some townships require a separate application. Contact the township to see if this is a requirement. Find Township information here. <insert link>
  • Copy of Septic Permit Application from the Upper Missouri District Health Unit
  • Copy of Electrical Permit Application from the Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative
  • Copy of Water Supplier Agreement from Williams County Rural Water

Note: Commercial Projects require a North Dakota licensed engineer to sign and seal the plans. Additionally, commercial projects in excess of 5,000ft2 require a North Dakota licensed Architect signature and seal.

The minimum building permit fee is $75.

Fees increase by:

  • $4.00 per $1,000 in value up to $5,000,000
  • $1.00 per $1,000 in value above $5,000,000

If a commercial project plan review is required, then an additional 25% of the building permit fee is due for projects over $99,999. The maximum plan review fee is capped at $5,000.

Residential: Documents are required to be signed and sealed when the proposed project is beyond the prescriptive measures outlined in the current adopted addition of the International Residential Code.

Commercial: Regardless of size, when structural work is proposed, commercial projects require that a North Dakota licensed engineer sign and seal the plans. Additionally, commercial projects in excess of 5,000ft 2 require a North Dakota licensed Architect signature and seal.

Changes to an existing building permit require you to submit plans indicating what changes are being made. All changes must be approved by the Building Official.

Inspections can be requested online or by calling the Inspection Line at (701) 577-4576. Inspections are generally conducted between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm and are only conducted on buildings located on property within the County. If your building is located on property within a city’s limits, then you need to contact the city in which it is located.

A building permit is deemed expired when no inspection has been requested for a period of 6 months. The permit does not expire as long as work is done and effort is made to complete the project.

Work exempt from a building permit includes: one-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds and playhouses provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet, fences under 8.5 feet in height, retaining walls under 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge, sidewalks and driveways, painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, counter tops and similar finish work, and swing sets and other playground equipment. For more information about building permits, visit the Building Division webpage.

If you need to request a physical address for a parcel that has an occupied building or utility, please complete an Address Application and return to Development Services – Building Division.

Open records requests can be made by contacting the Department that would have the information. If you are requesting information from a board or commission, or unsure of which Department the request applies to, then please contact the Communications Department. For more information about open records requests, visit the North Dakota Attorney General’s website.

Have other questions?

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