WHY ARE BUILDING PERMITS REQUIRED?
Permitting regulates construction and property use to ensure safe, healthy, efficient, and accessible environments for human occupancy and habitation. California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Building Standards Code require that no building or structure may be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished unless a separate permit for each building or structure has been issued. In general, improvements, replacements, and repairs require permits. Exemptions from permitting are allowed for certain work, but vary for each jurisdiction.
Always check with your Building, Zoning, Fire, Environmental Health (lead paint, asbestos, etc.), and Public Works Departments for their specific requirements.
WHO CAN GET A BUILDING PERMIT?*
Only licensed contractors and property owners (Owner/Builder) may be issued building permits. Contractors must have the appropriate classification for the work, such as C36 for plumbing. Contractors must have knowledge of their craft, be tested, fingerprinted, bonded, and have an FBI background check to be licensed by the Contractors State License Board. Owner/Builders assume full responsibility for the work and their workers’ safety and are assumed to have the same knowledge of codes and construction methods as licensed contractors. The work may only be done on an Owner/Builder’s principal place of residence that they have occupied for 12 months or more prior to completion of the work. Owner/Builders cannot sell more than two properties for which they were issued a building permit during any three-year period. Owner/Builders must do the work by themselves or with immediate family, employees, or licensed subcontractors.
HOW ARE BUILDING STANDARDS ENFORCED?*
The process which jurisdictions use for enforcing the Building Standards Code is Plan Check and Inspections. Plan Check reviews construction documents, including the design drawings, before a permit is issued to assure that the building and its environment systems and equipment (plumbing, electrical, mechanical) will comply with regulations for structural safety, energy conservation, green technology, and handicapped accessibility. Jobsite inspections are periodically performed by jurisdictions to monitor phases of construction. The Health and Safety Code allows jurisdictions to adopt local technical amendments that are no less restrictive than regulations in the Building Standards Code. These amendments are based on local climatic, geological and topographical.
When do I apply for a Building and Safety Permit?
PERMITS AND INSPECTIONS ARE REQUIRED FOR THE FOLLOWING:
- New Attached or Detached Buildings and Structures (Residential and Non-Residential) with a floor area greater than 120 square feet*
- Tenant Improvements
- Roof and Ground Mount Solar Installation
- Patio Covers (Solid and Lattice)
- Enclosed Patios
- Electric Charging Station
- Additions and Alterations
- Pools and Spas
- Carports, Garages and Barns
- Fences over 6 ft. in height
- Retaining Walls over 4 ft. in height, measured from the bottom of the footing or retaining walls supporting a surcharge.
- Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical and Structural Repairs
- Re-roofing (Residential and Non-Residential)
- Temporary structures such as a modular unit, recreational vehicle/trailer.
- Onsite Grading of 50 cubic yards (cut & fill) or more
- Erosion Control
- Wall or Monument Signs
- Other types of construction activities, not listed here, may require a permit. All building setbacks must be maintained, whether a building requires a permit or not.