What Does a Permit Technician Do?

Community Development – Permit Technicians

HISTORY: Permit techs have been an integral part of building departments for a number of years, but their role is sometimes misunderstood. Formal Permit Tech Committees began as early as 1995 in Washington State, but didn’t affiliate with the International Code Council until its formation in the late 1990’s. Certification requires knowledge in International Building Code, Legal Aspects, Zoning & Site Development, Plans and Documents and successfully passing a two-hour exam administered by the International Code Council or “ICC”.

FUNCTION: Permit technicians function in a wide range of roles within both County and City Building Departments. Some of the smaller building departments within Idaho have only two staff members. The person who stays in the office usually fills the role as permit tech, planner, clerical, customer service and “other duties as assigned” whereas the other staff member acts as the building official, inspector and plans examiner etc. In a larger jurisdiction, permit technicians may have a more defined role.

WHY ARE THERE BUILDING CODES? Building codes were created for life safety. Not only so occupants of the structure can escape in the case of a fire or other emergency, but also so rescue personnel can safely enter without fear of collapse. Often codes are updated when we learn better ways to build through a tragedy or when building materials, technology, & products progress in the industry. 

Our job is never boring – we help people daily between walk-ins, phone calls & email etc. with a wide range of questions about parcels of property they are interested in developing, purchasing, splitting, adding structures to, remodeling, and doing research on historical records, etc. 

Permit techs network through IDABO (Idaho Association of Building Officials), ICC (International Code Council), NICE (North Idaho Code Enforcers), IPT (Idaho Permit Tech Committee). When difficult or unfamiliar situation arises they can network with other permit techs to help find solutions. This is especially useful in a small entity where they have no one else to ask! 

Permit Tech

MEETINGS: The permit tech committee meets once a month through telephone conferencing. We discuss items in Legislature that affect our industry, upcoming training opportunities, website updates, and our mentoring program.