Building Department FAQ

Peruse some of the most frequently asked questions of the building department. If you don't find the answer to your question, please send an e-mail to:

What are the benefits of having a building permit?

  1. Increased Value — Your home or business is an investment. If your construction project does not comply with the codes adopted by your community, the value of your investment could be reduced.

  2. Insurance --- Property insurers may not cover work done without permits and inspections. If you decide to sell a home or building that has had modifications without a permit, you may be required to tear down the addition, leave it unoccupied or do costly repairs.

  3. Protection — A property owner who can show that code requirements were strictly and consistently met, as demonstrated by a code official’s carefully maintained records, has a strong ally if something happens to trigger a potentially destructive lawsuit.

  4. Ensures Safety — A permit also allows the code official to protect the public by reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction and ensuring public health, safety and welfare. By following code guidelines, your completed project will meet minimum standards of safety and will be less likely to cause injury to you, your family, your friends or future owners.

What are the hours of operation?
The Building Department Office Lobby is open from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Phones are open from 8AM-4PMInspectors are in the office during the early morning and late afternoon hours to help you. Generally, from 8 am to 3 pm inspectors are out of the office conducting on-site inspections.

Does my contractor need a license/registration to work on my house? 
Yes. Effective January 1, 2006 all home improvement contractors must be registered with the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs. They will have to produce a registration card from the State before any permits can be issued. This is, of course, a benefit to the homeowners. For more information call Consumer Affairs at: 1-888-656-6225. Electrical and Plumbing contractors must be licensed by the State of NJ. They do not have to be registered if they have a license from the appropriate licensing Board.

Do I need a permit to replace my water heater?
Yes, a permit is required to replace your water heater or furnace/boiler. These appliances are probably the most dangerous things in your home. Consult the Building department page for a detailed list of what needs a permit.

Can I get an inspection a day after I call the office to schedule one?
Yes, in most cases you can get an inspection the next day; however, there are no guarantees. You can also email your request to with your permit number, inspection type, address, and desired date. Someone will get back to you.

Can I schedule a specific time for an inspection?
No. We will usually inspect between the hours of 8 am and 3 pm. There is no feasible way to determine how long each inspection will take and narrow down a specific time.

Do I need my permit number when calling for an inspection request?
Yes. Our database requires a permit number to access your file.

Can I do my own work?
Yes. In the house you live in and own, you may perform your own work in all four trades (building, electric, plumbing, fire) except underground oil tanks. You must personally perform the work (not a brother, friend, etc.) Falsification of legal documents subjects you to penalties up to $2000. Underground oil storage tank removal/abandonments contractors must be licensed by NJDEP!

Do I need an Architect's drawing?
Not always. Some small projects where you are doing the work on your own in a home which is your primary residence, such as a deck, can be drawn by yourself. However, the drawings must be detailed.

What are the permit fees for when I already pay my taxes?
As required by state law, the Code Services Department -Construction Division shall be self-sufficient. When State legislators enacted the Uniform Construction Code in 1977, they felt that they wanted only those who use the process to pay for the process and not to further burden the taxpayers who don't ever need to use the process.

What makes the inspectors qualified to inspect my work?
All our inspectors are licensed by the State of New Jersey, Department of Community Affairs, Division of Codes and Standards to inspect all phases of construction required to have a permit.

How long does it take to obtain a permit?
It depends upon what type of work is involved. State law requires that we review your application within 20 working days. Smaller projects may not require as much time and maybe issued earlier. During the summer months it will take at least 20 working days.

At what distance from my property line do I have to place my swimming pool?
Six (6) feet. However, the Zoning Board of Adjustment will not grant variances less than six (6) feet, which is the State minimum.  See swimming pool requirements.

What size lumber do I need to use for my deck?
Please refer to Tips for Building a Deck.

What forms do I need for my permit?
permit request form, a complete set of plans, a copy of your survey (in some instances) and a folder will need to be filled out when you drop off your permit paperwork.

Do you accept cash as payment?
No. We only accept checks or money orders made payable to the Township of Old Bridge. Permits applied for online can be paid for online after approval.

Who is responsible for obtaining the permit? my contractor or myself?
You, as the property owner, are responsible for all things related to your property. Some contractors will, as a service, secure the permit for you. But you must ensure that the contractor does this prior to performing any work. Doing work without a permit is subject to penalties of up to $2000.00.

How long is my permit good for? Does it expire?
Building permits are good for 1 year from date of issuance and 6 months after the last inspection thereafter. Any permits beyond this date will have to be repaid for up to a percentage to schedule the remaining inspections.