SHOW ME THE RECORDS: Columbia building permits

Monday, November 28, 2011 | 10:46 a.m. CST

Each week, the Missourian highlights a government record that is available to the public. Open records help people keep government in check and help them better understand how government affects their lives.

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The records: A monthly breakdown of building permits filed in Columbia. Under the detailed reports, you can see the name of the company, the address where the construction or addition will take place, its value and what kind of work will be done.

Why you'd want them: Whether you're interested in the growth of your neighborhood or you're just wondering why people are digging up your neighbor's front yard, there are lots of reasons to be interested in building permits. Economists use them as a key indicator of future growth because companies will often file for a building permit long before a structure is built.

Where you get the records: Go to the city's website, Under the city government tab on the left-hand menu, click "departments." Then click "Public Works" near the bottom of the page.

Under the "Public Works Divisions" section on that page, click "Building & Site Development." Scroll down to the section titled "Building Codes, Permits and Applications" and click "Construction Permit Reports." The detailed reports are filed monthly on the bottom half of the page in PDF form.

How much it will cost: The information is free.

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