Frequently Asked Questions - Building Safety

Building Safety

Absolutely. The division asks that all owners, contractors, and design professionals meet with the staff to help during the planning or design phase of a project. Often, these meetings will save the owner or authorized agent time and money and will minimize misunderstandings.


This answer is the same for residential or commercial building. Any owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building, structure or sign, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit. Specific questions about your project can be direc ted to the Building Safety Division s taff at 479-784-2206.


Yes, this would be considered a repair for maintenance of your building or home and would require a permit. Specific building and life safety requirements related to roofing and windows must be checked.
No, unless you are replacing the structural elements in the area of the door.

No, the City of Fort Smith does not require you to have a permit unless you are painting in the historic or downtown district.


No, the City of Fort Smith does not require you to have a permit to replace your carpet.


Yes, per city adopted codes and ordinances, the wall must be permitted and inspected.


Yes, all carports and storage buildings require building permits.


Yes, all pools must be permitted and inspected.

Yes, all driveways must be permitted.


Yes. this would be considered a repair for maintenance of your building or home and would require a permit.

Reputable contractors know the requirements and abide by them. In most cases, the contractor will obtain the building permit for the property owner. Unfortunately, not all contractors comply with the applicable code requirements. Remember, regardless if your contractor or the homeowner obtains the permit, the property owner is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all work on his/her property meet city adopted codes and standards. A homeowner should make sure the contractor obtains a permit and all work is inspected and approved.


Most single family and duplex projects as well as some small non-residential projects do not require an architect or engineer. However, Arkansas law requires an architect and/or engineer prepare construction drawings on several occupancies and significant buildings as defined by the law. Also, some significant problems may require the consultation of an architect and engineer on any building. Any specific questions regarding a specific project should be directed to the Building Official as soon as you start the planning phase of any building project.


If you call the inspection office between 8 and 9 a.m. or requested the inspection the previous afternoon, the inspection will be that morning and if you call the inspector between 1 and 2 p.m., the inspection will be performed that afternoon. An inspection request can be made anytime during the day by contacting the Building Safety Division office.


Yes, unless the inspector is unavailable; however, the file is noted for the necessary change and only that change would be inspected on the second visit.


The building official will settle any disputes and if necessary an appeal can be made to the board of appeals. The respective boards meet on call and can be convened as soon as the committee members can be contacted.


Yes, a homeowner may perform work regulated by the plumbing, electrical and mechanical codes as adopted by the City of Fort Smith in a single family dwelling that is owned and occupied by the homeowner as his/her principal residence. However, the owner must appear before the inspectors who will inquire into the knowledge and capabilities of the homeowner to perform the needed task before a homeowner’s permit can be issued.