Code Enforcement

Construction Permits

A Building Permit is required for all new construction, alterations and additions. A permit is required when repairs or additions are made that affect the plumbing service, mechanical system, electrical system, structural portions of the building, or change any means of egress. The city has adopted the 2000 edition of the ICC Code Group.

Applications for permits are accepted from contractors licensed by the State of Delaware and registered to do work in the City of Newark. The fees for contractor registration and for permits are governed by City Ordinance. A permit may also be obtained by any individual who wishes to do work on his own property in which he resides. Application forms are available in the Building Department.

Application Process

To obtain a permit, the following documents must be submitted to the Building Department:
  • Completed application.
  • Two complete sets of construction plans. These usually include architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical drawings.
  • Seven plot plans of the property signed by a registered land surveyor.
  • Floodplain data, if applicable.
  • State Highway permit status, if applicable.
  • Landowner's authorization if you are building on land other than your own.
Upon receiving these completed documents, Building and other departments will review your application and plans. Comments and corrections, if needed, will be added to both copies of the construction plans. One copy will be retained by the Department, and one copy returned to you. Your copy of the construction plans must be available at the work site.

Construction may commence only after the plans and application have been reviewed and approved, and you receive from the Department the following:
  • Construction Permit.
  • Outdoor display record card to be affixed to the street side of the structure.
  • Outdoor Inspection Record (waterproof) to be maintained at the construction site and filled in by the Building Inspector as the job progresses.
Note: Inspections are required at each stage of construction.

Certificates of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy is required for new buildings or additions, or when a structure is put to a new use. When any construction that requires a Certificate of Occupancy is completed, the following documents must be submitted to the Building Department:
  • Completed application for Certificate of Occupancy.
  • Plot plan signed by a registered land surveyor showing completed buildings on lot and property boundaries.
  • Outdoor Inspection Record.
When the Building Department receives these documents, a final inspection will be conducted within five days and, if the building is in compliance with all City of Newark Codes, a final Certificate of Occupancy will be granted. Fees for Certificates of Occupancy are governed by City Ordinance.

Sign Permits

All outdoor signs erected or installed in the city must meet the specifications of the Zoning Code and Building Code, and require a permit.

The Building Department provides applications for Sign Permits, and specifications for size, location, registration, insurance, and inspection of signs.

Fees are based upon the size and type of sign and are calculated by the Building Department.


The Board of Adjustment is authorized to grant variances from area and related requirements of the Zoning Code in cases of practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship. When a plan not conforming to Zoning regulations is presented for a Building Permit, the application for the permit will be processed and automatically denied. The applicant will be informed of the denial and receive information concerning the exact nature of the nonconformances.

Appeals to the Board of Adjustment must be filed in the City Secretary's Office within 30 days of the Building Permit denial. The City Secretary will schedule a hearing of the appeal and provide appropriate public notice.

Fees for variance applications are governed by City Ordinance.

Board of Building Appeals

The Board of Building Appeals' function is to decide upon appeals of the International Building and Property Maintenance Codes as well as orders from the Health Department.

Board Authority

It will decide upon appeals from a decision of the Building Director refusing to grant a modification to the provisions of the ICC Building Code concerning the materials used and the manner of construction or renovations.

It will hear and decide appeals where it is alleged there is an error in interpretation or decision made by the building inspector or Health Commissioner in the enforcement of Chapter 17, Housing.

It can authorize variances from the strict terms of Chapter 7, Building Code and/or Chapter 17, Housing when, because of special conditions, undue hardship shall result from literal enforcement provided such variances in substantial conformity with the intend of these codes.

Board Meetings

The Board meets upon notice of the chairperson within ten days of the filing of an appeal.

For further information, please contact the Building Department at (302) 366-7000.

Fire Prevention
For information about fire prevention, please visit the Fire Protection and Fire Safety page