Welcome to the

Development & Inspections

Development Review, Permitting & Building Inspections 

This online comprehensive guide will help you through the Construction Development review process at the City of Columbia.  Our goal is to provide an efficient and clear development review process by coordinating and tracking projects using professional and courteous customer service so that Columbia may grow and prosper while maintaining a high quality of life for all.  The information is divided into two sections: Residential and Commercial. 

Visit the Residential section if you are working on a one or two family project

Visit the Commercial section if you are working on a commercial or multi-family project

Information that applies to all projects can be found under General Information.

Information on land development reviews can be found in the Boards and Commissions section.  This includes rezoning and site plan review information as well as applications for zoning variances and special exceptions.  We hope your experience with the building review and permitting process is a good one! 


Important Information and Updates

Flood Damaged Property - Building Permit Information

Flood Repair Process
There are very important facts to be aware of before moving forward with any repairs to a flood-damaged home located in the floodplain. Taking steps without accurate information can cost time and money. Please see details below.

Anyone making repairs to a flood-damaged structure in the City of Columbia needs to get a zoning and building permit from the Development Center.  If using the service of a contractor, they must be licensed by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. More information about the permitting process can be found in these documents or by calling (803) 545-3420.

For more information on the Floodplain Development Permitting process, please visit http://www.columbiasc.net/floodplain.

Flood Repair Permitting Assistance
Temporary Walk-up Flood Repair Stations at Washington Square

The City of Columbia's floodplain office will be temporarily located in the Customer Service Lobby on the first floor of 1136 Washington Street. Staff will provide walk-up assistance to anyone needing to start flood repair work in the City. This service will be available during normal City business hours (M - F, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.).

The floodplain office will be set up in a series of stations to walk customers through the City's flood repair and rebuilding permitting process. Homeowners and contractors can learn whether their property is in a floodplain, pick up the permit application packet, determine their property value, have any questions regarding the application process answered, and submit their completed permit applications.

Free 2 hour parking will be available in the nearby Washington Square Parking Garage on levels 2A and 2B for those seeking flood repair assistance.

Important Documents

For More Information

Q:  I have flood damage.  Do I have the green light to get a building permit?

A:  It depends on the situation.

Green light: If your property is not located within the 100-year floodplain or is constructed at least two (2) feet above the base flood elevation, you will be issued a building permit for repairs that meet other applicable code standards (such as building and zoning).

Yellow light: If your property is located within the 100-year floodplain, before a building permit can be issued, it must first be determined through the completion of a Flood Hazard Permit Application:

  • The elevation of the first floor of the property through submittal of an elevation certificate. (The City’s Floodplain Manager may have one on file).
  • If the structure sustained substantial damage or will require substantial improvements to make it habitable.

Red light: If your property is located within the floodplain and sustained substantial damage or will require substantial improvements to make it habitable, the structure will have to come into compliance with the City of Columbia’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance. This means that the first floor of the building must be constructed at a height of two (2) feet above the base flood elevation. Please discuss how this affects your property specifically with the City's Floodplain Manager.

What is substantial damage?
Substantial damage means damage of any origin sustained by a structure where the cost of restoring the structure to its before damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred. (Note: the cost of repairs must include all costs necessary to fully repair the structure to its pre-damaged condition.)

What are substantial improvements?
Substantial Improvement means improvements of any origin where the cost of improving the structure would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the improvements are made. (Note: the cost of improvements must include all costs necessary to fully improve the structure.)

What is an elevation certificate?
The elevation certificate is one way for a community to comply with the National Flood Insurance Program requirement that the community obtain the elevation of the lowest floor (including basement) of all new and substantially improved structures and maintain a record of such information. Elevation Certificates must be prepared and certified by a Licensed Land Surveyor, Registered Professional Engineer or Registered Architect who is authorized by state or local law to certify elevation information.



To continue to provide our customers the ability to· make electronic payments the City of Columbia has partnered with South Carolina Interactive (SC.GOV), a third party service provider, to bring you these expanded methods of payments.

The total price charged to you, for your payment, includes funds used to develop, maintain, enhance, and expand the electronic payment service they are offering.

If you do not wish to use their services, you may pay the City of Columbia directly by other traditional methods such as cash or check.


Notice is hereby given that the South Carolina Building Codes Council intends to adopt the following building codes for use in the state of South Carolina.

Mandatory codes include the:
2015 Edition of the International Building Code;
2015 Edition of the International Residential Code;
2015 Edition of the International Fire Code;
2015 Edition of the International Plumbing Code;
2015 Edition of the International Mechanical Code;
2015 Edition of the International Fuel Gas Code;
2014 Edition of the National Electrical Code.

Permissive codes include the:
2015 Edition of the International Property Maintenance Code;
2015 Edition of the Swimming Pool and Spa Code;
2015 Edition of the International Existing Building Code;
2015 Edition of the International Performance Code for Buildings and Facilities.

Interested persons may submit written comments until March 1, 2015 to:
Roger Lowe, Administrator
South Carolina Building Codes Council
PO Box 11329
Columbia, SC 29211-1329


Permit Fee Changes Effective July 1, 2014

City Council has amended fees for commercial building permits and plan review effective July 1, 2014.  This document UEimgPDF is a summary of these changes.  For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact the Development Center at (803) 545-3483.


Building Codes in Effect for South Carolina

On August 29, 2012, the Building Codes Council updated the mandatory building codes UEimgPDF to be used within South Carolina. The Building Codes Council established the implementation date for local jurisdictions as July 1, 2013, for all codes. All local jurisdictions must enforce the mandatory codes, and may adopt and enforce the permissive codes.

Mandatory Building Codes UEimgPDF are adopted for current use in South Carolina and must be enforced by all municipalities and counties, beginning July 1, 2013!


Notice of Adoption of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Codes.

The implementation date of the 2009 IECC or International Energy Conservation Codes is January 1, 2013.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding this code change, please feel free to contact our office for updates on changes.

See also the Green Building Incentive Program Package UEimgPDF


Jerry Thompson - Building Official (803)545-3442
Robert Harkins - Commercial Plans Examiner (803)545-3427
John Amacher - Residential Plans Examiner (803)545-3428 

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