City of Madison Logo
City of Madison Development Services Center
Image: Other Residential

Change the Number of Dwelling Units: Other Residential

Contact: Email Building Inspection Phone Number (608) 266-4551
Before beginning construction to change the number of dwelling units in your building, there are several steps you will need to take to make sure your alteration will be in compliance with local zoning and building regulations. Your proposed alteration must meet Zoning regulations. If your building is a landmark, in a local historic district, in a special district, or has specialized zoning, additional approvals will be required.

PROCESS OVERVIEW:

  1. Determine Zoning

    The first step to change the number of dwelling units in a residential building is to determine if the parcel is zoned for your desired use or if there are any special development considerations for your project. Your ability to change the number of dwelling units in your building is restricted by many factors, including the zoning of the property, the number of existing dwelling units and bedrooms in the building, the size of the lot, the amount of open (green) space on the lot, and the availability of parking on the property.

    Zoning staff will be able to tell you the zoning of the property and if there are any special conditions which will affect your project. Most of these alteration projects will require a special approval, such as conditional use approval from the Plan Commission, an alteration to an existing conditional use, or alteration to a PDSIP. Projects which require a special approval will be reviewed by various City agencies through the Parking Lot/ Site Plan Review process. Zoning staff can guide you through this process. Additional information may be found by going to Land Development.

    Find out the zoning for your property

    Who to contact:
    Zoning Staff, (608) 266-4551

  2. Submit Plans to Building Inspection

    Where to go:
    Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
    Madison Municipal Building
    215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite LL 100
    Madison, WI 53703

    What to Include:
    • Building Plan Approval Application signed by a registered Architect or Engineer
    • Minimum of two sets of scale drawing that are signed and sealed by a registered Architect or Engineer
    • Structural calculations (if structural alterations are being performed)
    • Plan review fees need to be paid when the plans are submitted

    Note: If your project cannot conform to building code, follow the variance procedure. See the Petition for Variance Application (pdf) for more information. Please contact Building Inspection at 266-4551 with any questions.

    Once the plans have been reviewed and approved, the permit can be issued. If the plans have not been approved, revised plans need to be submitted correcting the items listed in the withhold letter. Building plan review may take up to 5 working days.

  3. Submit Plumbing Plans

    Plumbing plans are required to be submitted for more than 16 fixtures and must be approved prior to a permit being issued. Plumbing plans are a separate submittal to the Plumbing section. Contact Jim Wolf at (608) 266-4551 with questions.

    Where to go:
    Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
    Madison Municipal Building
    215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite LL 100
    Madison, WI 53703

    What to Include:

  4. Submit Plans to Fire Prevention

    The Fire Prevention Division reviews the following:
    • Fire Sprinklers
    • Fire Alarms
    • Kitchen Hood Suppression Systems
    • Standpipe Systems
    • Alternate Fire Extinguishing Systems
    • Access Controlled/Delayed Egress Devices
    • Fire Command Centers
    • High-piled Storage

    There are specific submittal requirements for each type of fire protection system. The requirements vary depending on the type of fire protection system proposed for installation. The Plan Submittal Checklist (pdf) for Fire Protection System Plans has been provided to assist you in preparing your complete fire protection system plan submittal.

    Where to go:
    Hours: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday
    City of Madison Fire Department
    325 W Johnson St
    Madison, WI 53703
    Phone: (608) 266-4420

    What to Include:

  5. Get the permits and pay the fees

    After obtaining Zoning and Building approvals, if necessary, a permit can be issued. The permit fee will need to be paid at this time.

    Where to go:
    Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
    Madison Municipal Building
    215 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite LL 100
    Madison, WI 53703

  6. Schedule Inspections

    Once the permits are issued and construction has begun contractors will be required to schedule and obtain various inspections.

    • Building:
      • Rough framing (before framing is covered)
      • Insulation (before drywall is installed)
      • Final
      To schedule an inspection:
      Call for inspection request, (608) 266-4551

    • Plumbing, HVAC, & Electrical:
      • Underground work (before it is covered)
      • Rough (all work in concealed spaces must be visible)
      • Final
      To schedule an inspection:
      Call for inspection request, (608) 266-4551

    • Fire Code Requirements:
      • Rough (all work in concealed spaces must be visible)
      • Hydrostatic tests
      • Flow tests
      • Final tests
      To schedule an inspection:
      Call for inspection request, (608) 266-4420

  7. Completion

    After final inspections and a completion statement your project will be considered complete.

Related Forms & Handouts


Have Questions?

Contact Building Inspection - (608) 266-4551