Building codes have evolved over many years as a way to insure that construction projects yield safe and reliable structures. The Connecticut State Building Code recognizes the International Code Council as the source of standards for construction projects in Connecticut.

Building Permits are required for all construction in Fenwick except for replacement of small sections of non-critical, existing structures by homeowners. (For example, replacing a window sash would not require a permit while replacement of the entire window would. Similarly, replacing a few sections of damaged siding would not require a permit while residing a sizable portion of a house would). Licensed contractors are required to obtain permits for any work they perform. Building code standards are the same for contractors and homeowners alike.

No construction, demolition or alteration of any building or any excavation for any building or structure is to begin until an application and plans have been approved and a permit issued. Prior to application for a building permit, application should be made to the Zoning Enforcement Officer or when applicable, the Planning and Zoning Commission, Historic District Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Harbor Management Commission, and/or other agencies with authority, such as the Lynde Point Land Trust, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Office of Long Island Sound Programs and the Gateway Commission of the Lower Connecticut River.

Once all of the necessary prior approvals are issued, an application with appropriate fees, construction plans, a copy of the contractor's certificate of registration as a home improvement contractor, and proof of insurance, may be submitted for a Building Permit. Section 31-286b of the Workers’ Compensation Act requires anyone who requests a building permit to first submit “proof of workers’ compensation coverage for all of the employees who are engaged to perform services on the site of the construction project for which the permit was issued.” The only exceptions to this law are the sole proprietor or property owner who will not be acting as general contractor or principal employers.  Waiver forms are available from the Borough office. Depending on the level of complexity the approval process can take several weeks. Preliminary review of substantive projects such as new houses can be arranged directly with the Building Official.

Once construction begins, inspections are required at specific points in the construction process. These inspections are often necessarily sequential, and continuing work may have to wait for approval of a completed part of the project, so arranging inspections can be critical to the timing of the entire project. The responsibility to call for inspections falls to the individual who signed the permit application. For inspections inside an existing home, someone must be present on site to admit the building official. Inspections can be scheduled by emailing the Building Official. Licensed sub-contractors may arrange inspection for their work, but each applicant should be clear on who will schedule the inspections and at what point in the process.

Completed building projects result in a Certificate of Occupancy for which the applicant must request a final inspection. Zoning Compliance is required in order for the Building Official to sign the certificate.

Building Permit Applications are available at the Borough Office or online.

SUMMER BUILDING MORATORIUM

In accordance with a Borough of Fenwick ordinance, no buildings or other structures shall be constructed, reconstructed, enlarged, erected, altered, or repaired, and no excavation, grading, or removal or deposit of earth materials shall occur, within the Borough of Fenwick on Sundays from Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day weekend and at any time during the period from July 1 to the first business day following Labor Day of each year. This restriction does not apply to the making of emergency repairs or reconstruction for the purpose of correcting a public health or safety issue and then only when specifically permitted by either the Building Official or the Warden of the Borough of Fenwick.

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