Permit and Development Center
The Permit and Development Center has an extensive collection of Forms and Documents. You may click on the tabs above (General Info, Residential and Commercial) to locate documents specific to your type of project.
Our Offices are in the Argonne Armory Building located at 602 Robert D. Ray Drive. Enter the south end of the building. We are located directly north of the new Brenton Skating Plaza.
The Permit and Development Center (PDC) is a division of the Community Development Department and the central hub for all building and development activities in the City of Des Moines. These activities include the following:
Development Planning, Zoning Land Use Inquires
Variance and Rezoning requests, Subdivision Plat review, approval and inspections
Site plan review and approval
Commercial and Residential building project review, approval and inspections
Tax Abatement Information and Applications
Home owner electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits & examinations
Sign and Power Engineers Licensing
For additional information on permits issued by the City of Des Moines, please click here
The State of Iowa now issues all Plumbing and Mechanical licenses required to do business in the City of Des Moines. More information may be obtained here.
CODES ENFORCED BY THE CITY OF DES MOINES EFFECTIVE NOV 1, 2013:
The following codes are adopted by reference with very few additions or deletions in the Municipal Code.
2012 INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODE
2012 INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTIAL CODE
2012 INTERNATIONAL EXISTING BUILDING CODE
Local Condition Information
||Subject To Damage From:
|Ground Snow Load
||Seismic Design Category
||Frost Line Depth
||Winter Design Temp
||Ice Shield Required
||Air Freezing Index
||Mean Annual Temp
||Moderate to Heavy
||Slight to Moderate
20012 INTERNATIONAL MECHANICAL CODE
20012 INTERNATIONAL FUEL GAS CODE
2012 INTERNATIONAL FIRE CODE
2011 NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CODE
2012 UNIFORM PLUMBING CODE
(The City of Des Moines is also obligated to enforce the Iowa State Plumbing Code)
ACCESSIBILITY - DIVISION 7 of the IOWA STATE BUILDING CODE, IOWA STATE ACCESSIBILITY CODE, 2012 IBC and ANSI A117.1 - 2009 EDITION
ENERGY - IOWA STATE ENERGY CODE, 2009 INTERNATIONAL ENERGY CONSERVATION CODE
ENGINEERING - IOWA STATEWIDE URBAN DESIGN AND SPECIFICATIONS/STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS (SUDAS) 2006 EDITION
CITY OF DES MOINES MUNICIPAL CODE:
Building Ordinance - Chapter 26
Fire Ordinance - Chapter 46
Zoning Ordinance - Chapter 134
Engineering Ordinance - Chapter 94
Flood Plain Ordinance - Chapter 50 & 134
Traffic Safety Regulations - Chapter 102
Historic District Ordinance - Chapter 58 Article II
Landmark Ordinance - Chapter 58 Article III
Subdivision Ordinance - Chapter 106
Skywalk Ordinance - Chapter 102 and 26
Site Plan Ordinance - Chapter 82
Sound Ordinance - Chapter 42 Article IV
Sign Ordinance - Multiple Chapters - use search feature
Tree Preservation Ordinance - Chapter 42 Article X
Transient Merchant Ordinance - Chapter 78 Article III
For the most current information, click on the following link: Municipal Code
We hope you find the following links helpful:
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) What are the current plan review times?
A. Plan review times vary with the time of year, project size and case load. We typically have a building plan review time of:
10 working days for small projects
15 working days for medium projects
20 working days for large projects
LEED certified/Green projects are moved to the top of the review list. (Please identify the project as being Green on the commercial application included with your submittal.)
Re-review of responses to comments is typically completed in 5 working days.
Site Plan review times are typically 10-15 days for the first review. Re-submittals are typically completed in 7 days baring any extenuating circumstances such as Board of Adjustment action, plat of survey, etc.
Residential review times are typically 3 days.
Review times are subject to change: It is best to call our office at (515) 283-4200 to verify exact review times.
2) What do I need to submit for my project?
A. Based on the type of building project you are working on, you may use our submittal matrix for guidance.
B. Two sets of drawings and structural calculations (if applicable) accompanied by a completed application which can be found on the "tabs" above for the type of project.
10 Recommendations for Building and Development in Des Moines
To help both new and existing developers, owners, and design firms through the development review process in Des Moines, we offer the following tips to go by:
1. Don't assume that the plan review processes and requirements in other jurisdictions are the same within the City of Des Moines. For example, site plans and construction drawings are two separate review and approval processes in Des Moines.
2. Understand the required approvals needed for your project. Meeting with City staff prior to the first submittal is helpful to know which of the processes will apply to your project. In order to a permit to be issued for your project the following departments will need to sign off on it: Engineering, Building, Fire, Zoning and Planning.
3. Most of the City departments involved in the review process have their own checklists showing the basic information they need on the plans. These are available at the links included on this page. Understanding and following these checklists during the plan creation will help reduce the number of comments during the first review.
4. All departments involved in the review process follow the same submittal and re-submittal review cycles and deadlines. While delays may occur (such as waiting for Board of Adjustment approval), adhering to these schedules as much as possible is Des Moines' policy. When case load allows the time lines may be shorter. Knowing the deadlines and timelines with these cycles gives the developer an idea of how long the process may take and allows an opportunity to create a realistic schedule for the project.
5. The existing conditions on the site are important for the zoning map change, site plan, preliminary plat and construction drawing reviews. Environmental issues such as floodplain and streams and previous improvements to the site such as utilities, easements, power/telephone poles and sidewalks will come into play during the review of the proposed project. It is important that these items are clearly shown on the first site plan submittal.
6. Take the time to evaluate thoroughly the existing infrastructure serving your project (stormwater, water, sewer and streets). The adequacy of the existing infrastructure for supporting your project will play a big role in the review of the plans.
7. Be flexible. During the review process, the design may need to be adjusted to meet the various ordinance and guideline requirements from the different departments reviewing the project. Trying to maximize the number of lots or square footage of a building, for example, without understanding the various requirements could easily result in a re-design of the project midway through the review.
8. Once the first set of comments are issued for a project, we strongly recommend that time is taken to clearly and accurately understand the comments before the plans are resubmitted. This may require phone calls and/or meetings with staff. Submittal of a written response to the first review comments is required along with the necessary changes to any plans submitted. Please take the extra time to accurately address the comments before resubmitting. Cloud the revisions on the plans, if possible, and specify in the written response to comments where the changes have been made. This will save time and helps move the case through to its final approval while reducing the risk of re-review fees.
9. Please keep in mind that the more complete the information and drawings are at the time of submittal, the more likely it is that we will identify most of the issues or concerns on the front end of the project. However, some issues may still be missed during the first review. We ask you to be mindful that workloads can be heavy and some issues can be very complex. Our inspector’s may find things in the field that were not described/identified on the plans
10. Most site plans and preliminary plats contain Special Conditions. Please read and understand these conditions because they usually require that certain items be completed prior to the release of post-site plan approvals. These may include the dedication of right of way prior to building permit issuance or completion of road or utility improvements prior to certificates of compliance.