The Building Department is a unit of the city or county government that enforces the city's building codes and zoning regulations, issues building permits, licenses, registers and disciplines certain construction trades, responds to structural emergencies and inspects over new and existing buildings. Local governments adopt those codes in order to ensure that all buildings meet minimum safety and structural standards. They update them every few years as new building methods and materials are introduced. The regulations behind building permits are based on the best and safest methods determined by experienced engineers.
Prior to commercial or residential construction permits being issued, the construction drawings, which include various engineering and architectural details, must be reviewed and approved by the Building Department’s engineers and plan check professionals. While the property owners have to pay for this service, no minimum compliance with applicable laws is required before the plans can be approved. And while the particular building official may require revisions to the submitted drawings, ultimate approval does not mean the drawings are in compliance with applicable laws or standards, nor does it impose any liability on the Building Department or its officials for any failures or omissions.