Know Your Contractors, a Message from the City of Portage Building Department

city of portageThe City of Portage Building Department is issuing this warning to Portage residents and business owners seeking to make building repairs for damages caused by the storm on May 11, 2014. Wide-spread storm damage typically brings unlicensed “storm chaser” contractors as well as contractors from neighboring communities who are not licensed by the City of Portage to perform roofing, framing, tree removal and other work in the city.

These contractors may carry inadequate or no general liability or workers compensation insurance. For your own protection, verify that any contractor you consider to hire is licensed to work in the City of Portage. We strongly suggest that you do not provide any money to a contractor until you have confirmed that they are legitimate and licensed. Here are some things you need to know:

1. Permits and inspections will be required for most work done, with a few exceptions. Examples of exceptions include:
a. Tree removal does not require a permit.
b. Reconnecting electrical service equipment that has been pulled loose from a building does not require a permit unless repairs to the wiring or equipment are needed. Then an electrical permit will be required.

2. We will respond expeditiously to requests for inspections. At times that may mean performing inspections before a permit is obtained.

3. For ordinary wood frame or masonry structural damage, repairs with like materials may be made without submitting drawings describing the work, but permits are still required, and all framing repairs must be inspected before they are covered up. If pre-engineered trusses have been damaged, however, engineered truss repair drawings will be required on the jobsite so the inspector can verify that the repair work matches what the engineer specified.

If you wish to inquire about whether a contractor is licensed or have questions about the scope of repairs necessary, or the inspection process, please call the Building Department at (219)762-4204 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Application forms can be obtained at our office at City Hall at 6070 Central Ave. or online at