Contract Surety

Collaboration Is Key: Building Departments



Proactively establishing relationships with the local building department is essential for running a contracting business successfully. Knowing and following the department’s standards helps to prevent delays, penalties, legal challenges and backtracking on projects. Of course, following the rules promotes safety too!


An Ounce of Prevention…

Experts at the International Code Council point out that the professionals at local building departments “Serve as the unsung heroes safeguarding our communities. Through their oversight of permitting, inspections and occupancy authorizations for construction, renovations and repairs, local building departments play a pivotal role in upholding the integrity of projects, ensuring compliance with applicable building safety codes and standards.” When contractors fall astray of local regulations, it is often due to failure to proactively communicate and collaborate with the building department. While adhering to codes has always been necessary, given the rapid pace of changing materials, techniques and technologies, it is increasingly important to leverage relationships with building department professionals and stay on top of shifts. Kevin McOsker, a leader at the International Code Council offers this encouragement:


While certain projects like minor repairs or renovations may not require specific documents, it is always prudent to seek clarification. Building departments will guide you on the permits and inspections required for your project and their respective timelines. This proactive approach helps you steer clear of potential penalties, fines or complications that could arise. Keeping accurate records of all completed work, including inspection dates and outcomes, will facilitate a smoother process and minimize the chances of disputes with the building department or clients. Additionally, your local building department will provide invaluable guidance on adhering to building codes and regulations relevant to your project. They can offer insights into permit requirements and identify instances where architects and engineers may be required before proceeding with the project. By collaborating closely with the building department, you can ensure compliance, mitigate risks and foster a successful and seamless construction process for both you and your clients.


Indeed, collaborative relationships are a key ingredient for success. As you expand your contracting business—and relationship network, don’t forget Colonial Surety is here to help too, via The Partnership Account® for Contractors. Once qualified, builders position their companies to bid more and win more with:


  • a surety line of credit—in writing;
  • a private digital dashboard;
  • a daily snapshot of single and aggregate limits
  • the ability to update work on hand—and increase your aggregate.


All this, plus, we give you power of attorney to issue your own bid bonds. With The Partnership Account® on your side, you’ll win more work then ever. Get in on the action:


Pre-Qualify for The Partnership Account® HERE.


Expert Support

If it’s been a while since you’ve taken the time to connect with the staff at your local building department, it’s probably time to reach out again and develop relationships. As

the pros observe: “Building departments have evolved into transparent governmental agencies that prioritize providing extensive information to their communities.” Specifically, for example:


Your local building department serves as a valuable source of knowledge encompassing all aspects of building projects. Their staff typically comprises a diverse range of professionals with expertise in various areas of building and construction, including architecture, engineering and hands-on experience as former carpenters, electricians, plumbers and technicians, so their collective expertise is at your disposal….Your building department can provide you with access to permit application forms and documentation specific to your project. They can also inform you about the required permits and documentation that should be on file and available for your property to ensure compliance with regulations and code requirements. Building departments will also have information on the timeline for plan approval and guide you on how to schedule inspections. It is crucial to schedule inspections with the building department to make certain that your work aligns with code requirements. 


Since we’ve been writing surety bonds, including bid, performance and a full array of license and permit bonds for nearly 100 years, Colonial has expertise contractors can count on too. In addition to our online portfolio featuring thousands of speedy and easy license and permit bonds, we offer The Partnership Account® for Contractors, ensuring qualified builders get bid and performance bonds more quickly than ever. Once approved, The Partnership Account®  gives builders a surety line of credit—in writing—and a private digital dashboard, providing daily snapshots of single and aggregate limits and bond capacity. Go ahead: update work on hand, increase the aggregate and hit the green light on your next build.


Pre-Qualify and Get Free Scores Here.


Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed.