The permitting process is undertaken by the contractor but as the owner, it's worth quickly familiarizing yourself with the process. Since building permits are administered at the local level, they can vary in requirements, complexity and cost. You will have to contact your local building department to determine the precise requirements. Building permits are different from zoning approval. The permit application process is typically undertaken by the general contractor and sub-contractors and consists of submitting a form, payment and drawings to the local authority. Afterwards, the local authority will often send out inspectors at various stages of the construction process to ensure that the work is proceeding as per the approved drawings and building code.