Starting Monday, August 30, Bluffton’s Town Hall, located at 20 Bridge Street, will reduce staff in its offices to limit the opportunity for the coronavirus to spread among the public and Town employees.
The public is asked to wear a mask when entering Town Hall or any town offices. Masks and sanitizer are available at the entrances of each Town building.
“The objective of implementing a hybrid-operation is to service our residents while doing our part to control infection rates,” Town Manager Stephen Steese said. “Town staff is well-versed in working remotely as they keep the business of the town moving forward. This step is necessary, at this time, to keep our community and employees safe.”
The Town of Bluffton will notify the public through media release, its website and its social media platforms when these procedures are lifted or modified. Please call the Town’s main phone number (843.706.4500) for more information.
Per Richard Spruce, as of today (07/12/2021) the inspectors will fail sheathing inspections if the control joints are not cut into the slabs. We have been receiving complaints of cracking slabs and we are finding that there are no control joints cut. Although the cracks are not large enough to cause repairs to be made, the engineers are showing on the plans or telling us in the notes where these joints are to be located. With sheathing being the inspection following slab, this will be the inspection when it is checked. If you have questions please contact Richard Spruce.
April Akins, Town's Resident Services Manager, explains the reasoning behind "rebalancing" at 7.2% increase around 18 minutes into this video Finance & Administrative Committee June 15, 2021 Meeting
Updated Rules of Measurement for Height and Municipal Code Chapter 15-9 Flood Damage Controls
Beginning March 23, 2021 contractors and sub-contractors for all new residential and commercial projects, additions, and equipment servicing the structures
The updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the Town of Hilton Head Island will become effective for flood insurance rating on March 23, 2021. In conjunction with the map adoption, the Town has updated the Land Management Ordinance (LMO) Section 16-10-102.C Rules of Measurement for Height and Municipal Code Chapter 15-9 Flood Damage Controls.
View this notice in its entirety at
For additional information on building construction permits and inspections,
March 1, 2021
The Town of Bluffton’s new short-term rental ordinance requires all property owners to register their short-term rentals, along with a business license and safety checklist. While the ordinance was effective at the beginning of the year, the Town postponed compliance as it partnered with Host Compliance, a national company specializing in monitoring short-term rentals, to offer a streamlined, user-friendly process for property owners.
The Town’s estimated 150 short-term rental owners will be notified by Host Compliance by letter starting this week to register their requisite paperwork. If owners are ready to file, they can do so via the following links: https://secure.hostcompliance.com/bluffton-sc/permit-registration or visithttps://www.townofbluffton.sc.gov/705/Short-Term-Rentals and use the link on the Short-Term Rental webpage to register.
“This ordinance, along with the new registration system, allows the Town to adopt industry best practices to ensure the safety of guests and to better protect property owners, their customers and the town,” said Interim Town Manager Scott Marshall.
Property Owners of Short-Term Rentals Reminders:
Requirements of Property Owners:
If property owners need further information or guidance about this process, please contact the Town’s Customer Service Center at 843.706.4500.
Fire Rescue is conducting a community-wide survey in order to determine the best methods for communicating with our citizens and visitors. To take the survey please visit https://hiltonheadislandsc.gov/opentownhall/
If you are a registered CSS portal user and you are uploading documents to their corresponding permit files, please make sure they are in PDF format. All document files should be uploaded in the following format (permit# document type), if formatted incorrectly it can be easily missed and will result in failed inspections due to missing paperwork unless otherwise specified.
You will no longer need to email regarding approval for documentation EXCEPT for SURVEYS and ELEVATION CERTIFICATES – our portal is now designed to default for approval and inspectors will be able to view for their inspections.
Elevation Certificates (Before or During Construction) should always be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org in order for us to send for review.
The new CSS portal is now live, and CAP is no longer active. Be sure to hit REGISTER on your first visit to the new portal. You will need to register with your email, and if you were a previous CAP user it will then link old account. Once you register you will receive an email to finalize your account.
If you have any additional questions, please let us know.
Thank you kindly,
Customer Service Representative
Office | 843-706-4538
Town of Bluffton
PO Box 386
20 Bridge Street
Bluffton, SC 29910
In lieu of the Quarterly Contractor meeting, the Stormwater Department has put together the attached documents with reminders regarding Sediment and Erosion Control. Please review the documents. If you have any questions please contact Andrea Moreno.
Survey Submission Requirements
Beginning January 1, 2021 contractors and sub-contractors for all new residential and commercial projects, additions, and equipment servicing the structures
In an effort to have fair and consistent documentation requirements for all residential and commercial projects, the following policy and guidance for the submission of: Foundation Surveys, As-built Surveys, Under Construction Flood Elevation Certificates, and Finished Construction Flood Elevation Certificates will be used. All Foundation surveys and As-built surveys shall have the required setbacks and buffers delineated and labeled on them. The current practice of staff reviewing and assigning the submittal requirements on a case by case basis will effectively end on December 31, 2020.
New Single Family Residential projects.
Note: If the project is not located in a flood zone then an elevation certificate is not required.
Single Family Residential Addition projects.
The Foundation survey will be required if the proposed addition is located within 20% of the required adjacent setback/buffer distance. (Example: If the adjacent setback/buffer distance is 5 feet and the addition is to be built within 1 foot from the setback/buffer, then a Foundation survey is required).
New Commercial projects.
Commercial Addition projects.
The Foundation survey will be required if the proposed addition is located within 10% of the required adjacent setback/buffer distance. (Example: A Foundation survey is required if the addition is to be built within 2 feet measured from the setback/buffer and the set back/buffer is 20 feet).
View this notice in its entirety at
For additional information on building construction permits and inspections,
NEWSLETTER, October 2020
With the Covid situation upon us we cannot meet as we have in the past, so we have decided to attempt the letter format to assist us in keeping in touch with our builders.
First, we normally do an introduction of all our personnel so that you can place a face with a name that you may have talked to in the past. Since we are in the written form that cannot be done but I did want you to know that Chris Carusos is no longer with the Town of Bluffton. Michael Harmon has been out with knee surgery for several months now. This is most likely why you have seen multiple inspectors on some of your jobs. In the past few months, we have been down to three inspectors covering all our area.
On the good news side, Michael has been cleared to work from home and he is assisting Rob Currall with the residential dwelling plans examinations. We also have hired a new inspector. Jon Story started with us on 10 Sep 2020. He is currently in training with Marcus Noe and it will be a month or so before you see him on the job sites.
*One of the issues we have found on some job sites has been the nailing during the sheathing inspection. We have found several contractors using nails that are smaller in diameter than what is required by your structural engineer. Please know that this is going to be noted on the inspection and failed until the engineer can put in writing that the nails used and the pattern is acceptable to him for this one job only. If he wants to accept this situation on all your structures, he needs to change his plans or we will require a letter for each structure.
*Another issue is the definition of “dried in” so that the M.E.P.’s can be installed and the insulation started. Our definition of dried in is – for the exterior walls, a house wrap that has been tested for water intrusion. Not water vapor but water itself. For the roof, some contractors are using an ice and water shield, which is acceptable. If this product is used there is a Town document that must be provided to Customer Service along with the material spec sheet showing the exposure limit for the product used. Once this is provided, we will set an inspection date for the exposure limit, to see if the final roof has been installed. You may see ice and water shield inspection on the CSS portal but this is nothing that you should call in for. This is the inspection we set to ensure the material is not over exposed. Of course, you may also install the finished roofing material to make the house dry. All openings, doors and windows are to be protected from allowing rain to enter the structure also. Installing the windows and doors, covering these openings with house wrap or plywood will all work for this.
*Permanent service still seems to confuse some contractors. Let me attempt to clear this up again.
Option 1: The house is ready for CO.
Option 2: All electrical outlets are either completely installed or all boxes are covered with blank plates. This includes all wiring outlets located within 12 feet of the finished floor. The house must be able to be locked. Doors and windows in or blocked to secure the dwelling.
Option 3: This option is ONLY for the climatizing of the structure. The HVAC equipment must be installed and wired since this is what we are going to energize. The electrical panel must be a lockable type and only the contractor and the electrician can hold the key to the panel. A document (attached) must be signed by both the contractor and the electrician stating they take responsibility for the panel remaining locked. The GFCI receptacles in the structure may be energized at this time due to the loss of the temporary power source once the permanent power is approved.
*Grounding affidavits are coming in unsigned and not notarized. If these documents are incomplete, they will be sent back to you and the inspection will be denied until the proper paperwork is provided. Please be very aware of this. Your inspection depends on you turning in a completed document. We are also watching for extremely low Ohms readings. These readings may be correct but if we see a low reading, we may question it and ask to have the test redone and witnessed by one of our inspectors.
*Approved plans. I can understand the issue of approved plans being taken from job sites and the contractors keeping the plans with them to keep this from happening, but keep in mind that we cannot schedule inspections to meet with the contractors at all of our sites each day. If you have the plans in your truck and we stop by the site and cannot find them you will fail that inspection. Here in the recent past we have been too busy to allow us to return to any site to reinspect. There is also the issue of reinspection fees to consider. If the plans are not on site at the time of inspection you will most likely have to pay a reinspection fee before we will schedule another attempt to conduct this inspection.
*I understand this is a new request but I hope you see the value for you and us as we attempt to keep construction moving as efficiently as possible. The codes, when it comes to water heaters, fireplaces, and recently for damp/wet area light fixtures, send the contractor and the inspectors to the manufacturer’s installation instructions. There are too many different manufacturers of these items for us to keep a library of the installation instructions. When we must ask for these it can take some time for you top provide these. We are asking at this time, and it could become a requirement in the future, to send these in to Customer Service to have them scanned into the permit documents or with the new portal you could attach them yourselves. This will allow us to inspect without you having to get the documents when we ask for them. This will facilitate a higher probability rate of a passed inspection.
*Again, this is a request at this time, we are asking that generator installation inspections not to be scheduled on Fridays. As you know Friday is a short day for us and we attempt to take care of priority inspections first, underground plumbing, slabs, and finals.
We have seen an increase in situations where the contractor runs into delays and is not ready for inspection until after 1 PM. The power has been turned off to the dwelling and we don’t want to leave them down over the weekend so it creates an issue for the inspections. We are asking you not to schedule these inspections for Fridays.
*A reminder that address numbers and HVAC filters are to be in place for permanent power inspections. The address does not have to be the permanent numbers but the address must be visible from the street. A filter is to be placed in the HVAC return to keep any construction debris from entering the HVAC system.
*A friendly request that the site superintendents conduct an inspection of their site prior to calling in an inspection. We have seen a rash of failed inspections where the superintendent states that they were told it was ready. Please verify prior to requesting inspections. This might help lessen the number of failed inspections and save time for our inspectors to conduct the inspections that are truly ready which will lessen the number of inspections that get rolled to the next day.
New CSS Portal:
The new CSS portal is up and running. If you haven’t already, be sure to Register an account on the new site (https://css.townofbluffton.com/EnerGov/SelfService#/home). You may apply and pay for permits via the new portal. If you apply online, you are still required to submit 2 hard copies of the plan sets to town hall. We ask that you print off the first 2 pages of the permit application, write the permit # on page 1 and attach these to the plan sets being submitted to Town Hall.
You may also upload all permit documents via the new portal, rather than emailing them to email@example.com. If you upload yourself you will not be able to see the documents right away, this is because they must be approved by our staff. After you upload, please send an email to either Liz, John, or Morganne and ask them to approve the documents (you must provide the permit # in which you’ve uploaded documents to).
I hope that this finds you all well and I also hope that you find this format of communication beneficial. As I normally end all meetings, if you have questions that you would like to have answered in one of our future meetings or news letters please let us know and we can conduct the code research and provide everyone with the answers. This will make building in Bluffton easier on all contractors as we as the building team work to have more continuity between plans reviews and inspections in the field.
This has been a coordinated attempt to field as many questions as we could this month. The research and comments were from the Building Division Inspectors and Plans Examiner and from Customer Service staff. We all wish you well until next month. Let us hear from you on future topics that we can clarify for you and all others at the same time.
R. A. Spruce, Building Official
Click for a Cheat Sheet for how to properly label documents being uploaded via CSS (the new portal).
*I will notify you all once you can stop emailing us for uploaded documents. Our system is being upgraded to automatically notify us, but it’s not yet ready for use. Therefore, until it is setup, we have no way of knowing a document was uploaded unless you notify us via email*
Please see the approved Town of Bluffton ordinance below that addresses construction site standards.
Posted August 12th, 2020
Posted by Morganne P. Whatley
Customer Service Supervisor
Town of Bluffton
PO Box 386
20 Bridge Street
Bluffton, SC 29910
We are pleased to announce that our new Citizen Self Service Portal (CSS) is now online and available for use. Starting tomorrow, the old portal (known as CAP) will no longer be available and all Town business previously conducted through the old portal will need to be done in the new one. In addition to being able to do all of the things that the old portal was capable of, CSS has many new features designed to begin to make the Permit and Plan submittal process fully digital for our citizens. You can now apply for all Plan and Permit types online, as well as pay all Town Invoices via the Portal with a Credit Card. You can also continue to request inspections, view your existing records on your dashboard, and upload all permit documents.
The new portal is located at:
If you utilized our Citizens' Access Portal (CAP) in the past, please be sure to register using the same e-mail address that you used in CAP when creating your account for this portal. The system will locate your old account based on your e-mail address and ask, "Is this you?". Tell it "Yes" and then it will be able to link your old account to your new account, allowing you to view your previous records.
Important: Please be sure to update your bookmarks. If you had CAP bookmarked in the past, you can delete it from your favorites and replace it with the bookmark for the new portal. CAP will be taken offline tomorrow, so continuing to use old bookmarks will result in a 404 error.
Uploading documents to the portal will take the place of emailing documents to the inspections email.
When you are trying to use the new portal for the first time please hit REGISTER, then register with your email. If you were a previous CAP user it will link you to your old account. Do not try to ‘login’ before re-registering your email.
Also, all permits and planning applications are now able to be submitted via the new portal. However, we will still need 2 sets of plans to be submitted to Town Hall if you apply online (one full size and one 11x17). One of these sets will be given back to you stamped & marked and will be labeled as the inspector copy to be kept at the jobsite. The other will be sent to Beaufort County for recording. If you decide to apply online, you should do so before submitting the plans. Once you apply the system will generate a permit number which you should write on the 2 copies of plans that you then submit to Town Hall (write the FULL permit number, not just the last 4 digits). Please note, the review period does not start until we receive the hard copy of plans at Town Hall.
To apply for permits online:
Follow the steps in the CSS portal (if you are unsure of what category/permit type to apply for, please submit all documents to Town Hall like you have been. This will avoid delays and incorrect permit numbers)
Once you apply online and submit the 2 sets of plans to Town Hall we will review the documents, notify you of any changes and submit your plans for review and approval. We will also create an invoice for the fees due, which can either be paid online via CC or paid via check at Town Hall (during COVID, this means it should be submitted to the deposit box outside).
If you have any questions feel free to email me or call Town Hall at (843) 706-4500.Building Permit PackageSupplemental Forms
Tax returns and payments due April 1 - June 1 to the Beaufort County Business License Department are now due June 1. Penalty and interest will not be charged if payment is made by this date. This includes South Carolina Individual Income Taxes, Corporate Income Taxes, Sales and Use Tax, Admissions Tax, and other taxes filed and paid to the SC Department of Revenue (DOR). The Business License Department is automatically applying this tax relief for all applicable returns and payments.
For more information, visit https://www.beaufortcountysc.gov/business-license/ or call the department at 843-255-2270.
A request from Beaufort County Chief Building Official Chuck Atkinson: All contractors should remain at least 6' away from
inspectors on job sites in order to respect the protocols put in place by Beaufort County based on recommendations by the CDC.
A note from the HHA HBA: The best practice moving forward should be to utilize this social distancing recommendation with ALL inspectors regardless of jurisdiction if you MUST be present on job sites. Conduct as much business as possible via email or over the phone. Please be respectful of our building inspectors' physical boundaries in order to maintain operational efficiency during this difficult time for all members of the local building industry.
The HBA has created notices to post at your job sites if an inspector is on site. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a PDF version in both English and Spanish.
This week Town of Bluffton Town Hall doors are locked, however staff is still operating via phone, email and the online portal There are bins by the front door to drop off and pick up paperwork such as business license applications, permit applications, plans for review, etc. Please do not leave payment in these bins. We have placed a deposit box near the front entrance that is locked and secure; please deposit payment into this box. Be sure to label your deposits with the project address. We will monitor both the bins and the deposit box daily.
For permits, staff will email an invoice for the fees once we have processed your application. This will give you time to prepare and submit payment to the deposit box outside while your plans are being reviewed. Once the permit is ready for pickup we will notify you and place the permit and plan set in the pickup bin outside. For out of town companies, you can mail payment to PO Box 386 Bluffton, SC 29910.
The inspectors are still completing inspections each day. Please limit face-to-face contact with our inspectors. Remember, you are not required to be on the jobsite.
Please send any questions to:
Morganne P. Whatley
Town of BlufftonCustomer Service Supervisor
3.17.2020 Update from Jasper County Planning and Building Services Department
3.17.2020 Update from City of Beaufort
Thursday, December 14, 2017
The Town of Bluffton Building Department has updated its Residential Permit Application Package in order to reflect changes in the Stormwater Affidavit. Please download the Residential Permit Application Package or the Stormwater Affidavit for your records.
Friday, November 17, 2017
The Town of Bluffton Building Department will NOT hold its quarterly Contractor Meeting in November 2017 due to ongoing construction at Town Hall. Instead, Town of Bluffton staff has made the Contractor Notes available to you. Should you have any additional questions, please route them through Jenna Marstiller by calling 843-706-4538 or by emailing email@example.com.
In an effort to better serve all our customers, beginning on Monday, May 1st, the City of Beaufort Planning, Building Codes, and Business License Offices will be open to walk-in customers from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday. Staff will continue to be available by phone and e-mail until 5:00 PM. We appreciate your understanding.
Monday, February 13, 2017
The City of Beaufort has posted a schedule for upcoming public review meetings. For those interested in attending, please review the schedule below or visit The Beaufort Code on the City of Beaufort website.
Public Review Schedule:
*all meetings are at City Hall - 1911 Boundary Street
Public Information Meetings:
Monday, Feb. 13 at 5:30pm - Public Meeting
Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 10am - Developer-Specific Public Meeting
Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 10am - Public Meeting at the regularly-scheduled Neighborhood Improvement Team Meeting
Monday, Feb. 20 at 2pm - Public Meeting
Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 5:30pm - Public Meeting
Metropolitan Planning Commission Meetings:
Monday, Feb. 20 at 5:30pm - 10 Minute Overview at the regularly-scheduled meeting
Thursday, March 2 at 4pm - Special Work Session #1
Tuesday, March 7 at 4pm - Special Work Session #2
Thursday, March 9 at 4pm - Special Work Session #3 *tentative
Monday, March 20 at 5:30 pm - Regular Meeting
Technical Review Committee:
A review committee, comprised of the following members of the City's various Boards and Commissions, met 9 times at the start of the code process. No further meetings are scheduled, however the committee may be consulted as questions from the public arise.
Metropolitan Planning Commission - Bill Harris & Tim Rentz
Historic Review Board - Joel Newman
Design Review Board - Brian Franklin
Zoning Board of Appeals - Joe Noll
Redevelopment Commission - Jon Verity
City Council - Councilman George O'Kelley, Councilman Phil Cromer
Friday, February 10, 2017
The City of Beaufort cordially invites interested citizens to attend a Public Information
Meeting on Thursday, February 16, 2017 from 6 PM-7:30 PM on the corridor plan being developed for Lady’s Island. The study limits include Sea Island Parkway, Lady’s Island Drive, Sam’s Point Road, and various side streets within
the corridor limits. The first Public Information Meeting was held on September 29, 2016.
In that meeting, the City introduced the study’s goals and objectives and requested
citizen input on how the roadway corridors may be improved. Since that time, we have
performed in-depth evaluations and developed conceptual plans for improving Lady’s
Island. At this second Public Information Meeting, we will begin with a brief, formal
presentation on the results of our findings. The presentation will then be followed by
informal group discussions about the conceptual plans developed. The City will collect
comments from attendees on the conceptual plans.
On the back side of this invitation is a map showing the project’s study area limits. We
encourage the public to attend this meeting and learn more about the study.
Questions about the project may be directed to City Planning Director Libby Anderson
at (843) 525-7012. Persons with disabilities who may require special accommodations
should contact the Department of Planning and Development Services at (843) 525-7011.
Meeting Date/ Time: Thursday February 16, 2017 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Meeting Location: Lady’s Island Middle School Theatre
30 Cougar Drive
Beaufort, SC 29907
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
The Town of Bluffton Building Department will be holding its quarterly Contractor Meeting on Wednesday, January 25 at 6:00 PM at Town Hall (20 Bridge Street). Refreshments will be provided before the meeting. Please make a plan to attend should you have any questions for the Town of Bluffton Building Department.
Thursday, December 6, 2016
The International Code Council has released updated valuation data. This data is utilized by the Town of Bluffton and other local jurisdictions. To download the new data, click here.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
The Town of Bluffton Building Department will be holding its quarterly Contractor Meeting on Wednesday, September 21 at 6:00 PM at Town Hall (20 Bridge Street). Refreshments will be provided before the meeting. Please make a plan to attend should you have any questions for the Town of Bluffton Building Department.
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
The Town of Bluffton Building Department has announced that all building inspectors will be attending a 3-hour training session, midday, on Thursday, September 22, 2016. This will cause a disruption of inspections being completed. Your patience is appreciated.
Monday, August 22, 2016
The Town of Bluffton Building Department introduced an updated Building Permit Application based on changes in the 2015 IRC. The new application can be found below. For more information, contact Jenna Marstiller at 843-706-4500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Town of Bluffton Updated Building Permit Master Application
Thursday, May 26, 2016
The Town of Bluffton Building Department announced that "over the next few months, we will begin phasing out the laminated protection for permit cards. Please prepare your office as you see fit to ensure permit cards issued to your company are protected from outside elements. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause." For more information, contact Jenna Marstiller at 843-706-4500 or email@example.com.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
The Town of Bluffton Building Department will hold an information meeting on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 from 6 PM-8 PM in reference to the 2015 IRC Changes which will be enforced on July 1, 2016. Interested contractors should attend this meeting with questions regarding pertinent SC Code Changes. For more information, contact Jenna Marstiller at 843-706-4500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
DID YOU KNOW?: The 2015 International Residential Code updates will be effective July 1, 2016 in jurisdictions around Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton Counties. These changes will affect builders, remodelers, plumbers, electricians and many more trades represented in the Hilton Head Area HBA. Don't wait until the last minute to bring your employees up to speed on the changes to the residential code. For a list of changes specific to South Carolina interests, download the PDF below.
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Attention Builders, Remodelers and Elevator Contractors: As of July 1, 2016, the Town of Hilton Head Island inspectors will not longer be responsible for elevator inspections. A certificate completed by an LLR approved elevator inspector will be required in order to pass CO. To find a list of currently approved LLR Elevator Inspectors, please visit the LLR website.
February 9, 2016
According to multiple HHA HBA Builder members, the Town of Hilton Head Building Department is cracking down on a long standing Residential Building Commission stipulation that requires all Residential Specialty tradesmen performing work over $5,000 to be bonded. If you are a Residential Specialty tradesmen, please verify your bond status if you plan to do work over $5,000. If you are a Residential Builder, please verify with your subcontractors that they are in fact bonded. For more information on the requirement, visit the Town of Hilton Head website or LLR for information and FAQs about SC Specialty Contractor Licensing.