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A building permit is required for any construction which physically changes or adds structures to your property or for work regulated by local Codes or Ordinances, such as:
Building or structures under 120 square feet measured eave to eave can be built without a permit.
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When a permit is required, it is necessary to provide at least three sets of plans to the building department for review. After the plans are reviewed and approved, the applicant will get a set returned to him/her which has a stamp of approval from the building department. This approved set of plans must remain on the job site for the duration of the project. These plans must be available to the inspector, or inspections will not be performed. The second set of approved plans is retained by the building department. An additional copy of the floor plan is required and is sent to the assessor’s office for their records.
Submitted documents shall reflect all proposed work. Plans shall be clear enough such that if you were to hand them to a complete stranger, he/she would be able to construct the project as you intend.
Most commercial projects, as well as any construction that does not meet the requirements for "Conventional Light-Frame Construction" as specified in Chapter 23 of the California Building Code (CBC), must be designed, and all plans and documents stamped, by a qualified architect or engineer licensed by the State of California.
Three sets of plans, drawn to scale, are required which include the following items (This may not be a complete list. Other departments may be involved. Additional items may be required):
If work is completed without the benefit of permits, it is a violation. No further permits will be issued for that site until the violation is corrected. Additional fees and/or fines may result and a lien may be placed against the property until the violation is corrected.
Building permits must be obtained as required for new construction. The work must comply with the applicable codes in effect at the time of application. Therefore, work that may have been legal at the time of construction, may not be acceptable at the time of permitting.
If the unpermitted work is commercial, a licensed architect or engineer must prepare and certify all plans and documents as indicated in this pamphlet and submit to the Building Official for review and approval. When the plans are approved by the Building Official, a building inspector will perform the normal inspections. However, any construction which the inspector cannot verify must be qualified by a licensed engineer or architect to the satisfaction of the Building Official. This may require expensive testing and/or demolition and often becomes very time-consuming.
If the unpermitted work is residential, you can pay for a building inspector to perform a site inspection and he/she will indicate, in writing, what documents and information must be provided to the building department in order to obtain the building permit. A licensed engineer or architect may be required to certify plans and documents. Again, any work that cannot be verified by the inspector must be qualified by a licensed engineer or architect to the satisfaction of the Building Official.
A building permit is required for any construction which physically changes or adds structures to your property or for work regulated by local codes or ordinances, such as:
A permit is not required for the following:
A building permit is required by law and is intended to protect life and property. When you obtain a building permit, you have the comfort of knowing that your project is being reviewed and inspected by qualified personnel who are trained and experienced in this line of work.
Most projects begin with a plan review before a permit is issued. A large majority of potential problems are discovered at this stage and resolved before the project even begins. This saves unnecessary construction delays, time, and money, as opposed to discovering the errors in the field after materials are delivered and/or installed. Plan review and inspection fees for building permits are nominal and are a small price to pay when you consider the alternatives. Wouldn’t you rest assured knowing that your construction project was approved by experts?
During the construction of your project, an experienced building inspector performs periodic inspections to verify the work is properly completed and meets code requirements. The inspector may also be able to provide suggestions or recommendations since they, most likely, have experienced similar situations in the past!