The development function of the department is performed through issuance of building permits and certificates of occupancy, administering the contractor registration program, review and issuance of sign permits, and review of soil and erosion control measures. Columbia County Development Services provides plan review of the building interior systems and building inspection services. If you have any questions please call 706-556-0043 to speak with department staff.

Do I need a building permit?

A building permit is required for most modifications to property, including fences and accessory buildings. For a listing of changes that do not require a permit please click here. A permit is required before beginning work. If work is started before acquiring a permit, it will be treated as a code violation.  All work, including work which does not require a permit, is required to comply with all development regulations for materials, placement, and setbacks. Please note that some subdivisions have development standards in place as well, which are available from your realtor, developer, or builder. A building permit application is available here. For more information on the residential building permit process and to view the fee schedule, please click here. For more information on the commercial building permit process and to view the fee schedule, please click here. Please note that if your property is in the historic districts, there may be additional review by the Historic Preservation Commission. For more information on that process, please click here.

What requirements do you have for contractors?

All general contractors, subcontractors, landscapers, sprinkler installers, roofers, and pool installers are required to register with the City of Harlem on an annual basis. A building permit will not be issued until this information is up to date.  Please see the table below for requirements.

The state license must be from the state of Georgia for general contractors. Plumbers, electricians, and mechanical contractors may use a license from their state. Business licenses may be from any issuing authority. The surety bond must be made payable to the City of Harlem. All of these requirements must be met before issuance of a building permit. Please click here for a regular (general, electrical, plumbing, HVAC) contractor registration form. Please click here for a specialty (roofer, sprinkler installation, landscaper, and pool installer) contractor registration form.

Information General Contractor Plumbing Electrical HVAC Roofer Sprinkler Pool Installation Landscaping
State License X X X X
Business License X X X X X X X X
Worker’s Comp. X X X X X (Liability OK) X(Liability OK) X(Liability OK) X(Liability OK)
Surety Bond Comm: $20,000Res: $15,000 $1000 $1000 $1000 $5000 $5000 $5000 $5000

What do I need to put up a sign?

Sign regulations are determined by the underlying zoning classification on the parcel and a sign permit is usually required. To find out what your property is zoned as, please click here. For a listing of general sign regulations and sign types, please click here. For sign regulations by zoning classification, please click on the corresponding zoning classification for your property – residential, B-1, B-2, B-3, P-1, I-1, PUD, and Planned Centers.  Please note that if your property is in the historic districts, there are additional design guidelines.

What inspections are provided by the city?

The city, via the Planning & Zoning and Public Works departments, provides inspections for soil and erosion controls and water and sewer installations. For more information on soil and erosion controls please contact the department at 706-556-0043.  Columbia County Development Services provides all other building inspections and plans review. To schedule an inspection or for other services, please contact Development Services at 706-447-7733 or 706-868-3420 .

For further questions please contact the department at 706-556-0043.