The Inspection Department processes all permits and performs all inspections for Building, Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing activities within the City. The Department processes all Rental registrations & inspections and carries out Property Maintenance code enforcement. 

When submitting an Application please make sure it is administratively complete. This includes a thorough Site plan for most building permits and fence & shed permits, payment in full and a signed application and contact information. In addition to mailed or in-person submission of applications the City has a secure 24/7 drop box located at the Broad Street entrance. If paying by credit card you may submit applications by email. Payment options include cash, check and Credit Card.  Administratively complete applications are typically issued within a week, however, this turn-around time depends on the complexity of the project and the completeness of the application. Work cannot begin until a permit has been issued and received by the applicant.

If your plan is impacted by City Zoning, Sign Ordinances or the Land Division Ordinance, please use this link to view all relevant information such as the Zoning Ordinance & Map.

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Building Official:
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Building Official:

Joan Ross

Code Enforcement Officer:
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Address: 700 Broad Street
Phone: (269) 983-1212
Fax: (269) 985-0347
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(use this email for general information and scanning of permit applications for the online credit card payment option)


Citation Implementation Notification from LARA - Attention all individuals licensed/registered as residential builders, maintenance & alteration contractors, electricians, plumbers, mechanical contractors, and boiler tradesmen please read this important notice from LARA. 


Inspection Department 

Code Editions:

St. Joseph enforces the following code editions:  Please be advised that as the State of Michigan adopts new construction codes, those codes will automatically become effective in the City of St. Joseph.  Applications for permits received on or after the effective dates will be regulated under the new code. Copies of the new codes and state amendments will be available through the State of Michigan Bureau of Construction Codes and the International Code Council.
As of December 6, 2021, the following is a list of the applicable code editions:
  • 2015 Michigan Residential Code 
    • Effective Oct. 4, 2021 or 45 days after the updated 2015 MRC is published and becomes available to the public
  • 2015 Michigan Building Code 
  •  2017 Michigan Electrical Code Part 8 (NFPA 70 2017)
  • 2015 Michigan Mechanical Code 
  • 2018 Michigan Plumbing Code  
    • Effective December 6, 2021 (45 days after the 2018 Michigan Plumbing Code was published and became available to the public)
2015 Michigan Energy Code  (Commercial)
2009 Uniform Fire Code 
2015 International Property Maintenance Code 

Helpful links:


Building Permits must be obtained from the Inspection Department before beginning any construction, remodeling, mechanical, electrical, or plumbing work. Purely cosmetic (non-structural) changes such as painting or flooring, may not require a permit.

Please be sure to include ALL necessary documentation when submitting plans for review. For Building Permits, please be sure to include a full size set of blueprints and a digital copy. Site plans are required for most building permits.

Aerial Photographs  

To obtain an aerial "birds-eye" view of any parcel in Berrien County use  Berrien Co. Beacon Maps. This county GIS data base provides basic information on any city parcel. Once linked in to Beacon Maps the user will need to go to the upper left corner and hit the "Search" button, then enter the address under "Address Search", then select the "Map" option (upper left). If the user wishes to see lot dimensions, etc., use the "Layer List" dropdown menu on the left side. 
Please be aware there is some 'drift' in property lines as the photographic imagery is taken from aerial fly overs. While this tool is helpful, the most accurate way to determine property line boundaries and dimensions, for a Site Plan for example, is to obtain a Survey from a licensed Michigan surveyor.

If you have any questions about these topics, please contact the City and staff will be happy to help you.

 Applications, Forms and Processes - (Fillable Forms)

To view the Building Permit Fee Schedule, please click on it. To view the City entire Fee Schedule, please click on it.

Fence Regulations  

Permits are required for the construction of fencing on all properties in the City.  If repairing an existing fence, please contact the Inspection Department to determine if a permit is required.
Please remember that only completed Fence applications with the required site plan and the $40 application fee will be processed.  Please allow 7 days for processing and issuance of a permit.  No work can start until the permit has been received.   Working without a permit will increase costs and delay the project.
To learn more about the fence regulations and permit process see the information below:


Rental Program and Permits

Administration, scheduling, and inspection of all rental properties is processed through the Inspection Department: 

Property Maintenance Program 

The Property Maintenance Program is designed to be implemeted over a rotating 6-year period, with different neighborhoods of the City being inspected each year.  Within each Focus Area the Code Enforcement Officer inspects every property and identifies those which have deficiencies, as defined by the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC, 2015 Edition).

Individual inspections may also be made outside the Focus Area rotation when needed.

The City Commission adopted the IPMC under Section 8-96 of the Code of Ordinances. It is the stated intent of the IPMC to “ensure the public health, safety and welfare insofar as they are affected by the continued occupancy and maintenance of structures and premises. Structures and premises that do not comply with these provisions are required to be altered or repaired to provide a minimum level of health and safety.” 


 Summary of the 2022 Property Maintenance Program – Focus Area 1

Focus Area Map of the Entire City

Feb. 2022 City Newsletter Update

To view the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) please click this link

Property Maintenance Board of Appeals (PMBOA)

2022 PMBOA & CBOA Meeting Schedule

PMBOA Rules of Procedure

Applications, Forms and Processes - (Fillable Forms)

PMBOA Application –  2022 FOCUS AREA 1



Property Maintainance Issue Complaint Form

Neighbor to Neighbor Program

 For specific questions about the Property Maintenance Program please contact Joan Ross at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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