Racine's permits for new and existing businesses

Getting Started

The Building Division of the Department of City Development administers city and state Building Codes and the City of Racine Zoning Ordinance. The services the Building Division provides assure the public that the properties, buildings and other structures they occupy are compliant with building and safety codes, accessible and being occupied legally in accordance with the Zoning Ordinance.

The Building Division is often involved on the front end in helping business owners occupy new locations or assisting existing businesses with expansions or remodeling of their properties. Once a business owner contacts the Building Division, an inspector will review the proposal in order to determine a course of action regarding what types of information will be required. Building plans are often required to be submitted, but sometimes they are not, depending on the scope of the project. It is always recommended to contact the Building Division prior to purchasing materials or beginning any construction activities.

Occupancy Certificates must be obtained for all new businesses, changes of ownership, or business agent changes prior to occupying a building or property. An application is submitted, and once the inspector reviews the application and enters all necessary information into the computer system, an inspection will be scheduled for the building, electrical, plumbing and fire inspectors to walk through the building. If code violations are found, the violations must be corrected prior to the Certificate of Occupancy being issued to the applicant. Inspections are scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Certificates of Occupancy can be issued for a permanent occupancy, a six-month occupancy, or for “pop-ups” of up to three months in duration.


As an additional service, the Building Division also performs courtesy inspections to determine if a building is able to be occupied in its current condition or if work needs to be done. Appointments can be scheduled for a walk-through of the building with inspections staff.


Permit Categories

Click the links below to read about and download City of Racine building permits, electrical permits, plumbing permits and heating/air conditioning permits. Contact the Building Inspection Division at (262) 636-9464.

With the submittal of a complete application, the City of Racine’s expedited permitting process for residential photovoltaic systems can take less than three days.  For more information click the link or contact the Building Inspection Division at (262) 636-9464.

Submit for Permits:

Email Application

State of Wisconsin

Permit Reviews

If your project is located in a listed municipality (the City of Racine is a listed municipality) and meets the size criteria, contact the municipality for plan review. Per SPS 361.60, the cities, villages and townships with this delegation are certified to review plans for:

-Buildings containing less than 50,000 cu. ft. total volume

-Additions to existing buildings where the total volume after construction of the addition is less than 50,000 cu. ft.

-Additions to existing buildings containing no more than 2,500 sq. ft., no more than one floor level, 18-foot maximum roof span and 12-foot maximum exterior wall height

-Alterations to existing building where the area of altered space is less than 100,000 cu. ft. of total volume

As noted above, the City of Racine is authorized to perform plan review inspections of all buildings and structures as an agent of the state, including those for which the State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) does the plan review.

Find a link to the DSPS Plan Review section here.

Other helpful links:

This brochure from the International Code Council provides a summary of the purpose of building codes, plan review and permit issuance.  This information serves as a helpful introduction to permitting if you don’t have experience working with the permit process.


Not sure where to start? Questions?

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