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Application for a permit shall be made to the building official and a permit shall be obtained prior to commencing any of the following activities: Construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, conversion or demolition of a building or structure, including the installation or altering of any equipment regulated by the USBC; Change of Occupancy of an existing structure when a new certificate is required by the USBC; movement of a lot line that increases the hazard to or decreases the level of safety of an existing building or structure; removing or disturbing any asbestos containing materials during demolition, alteration, renovation of or additions to buildings or structures.
There are a lot of situations (repairs, for one) where a building permit is not required. View Permits required and exemptions to find out what is and is not covered.
View more about building permit requirements online.