Most construction work does require a building permit. Please refer to the handout, Permits Required and Exempted Work (151 KB), for a detailed list of types of work that is exempt from requiring a permit.
In order for a Permit Exemption to be valid and defensible, it must be obtained in writing as described in Procedure A-1 Permit Exemption (160.8 KB).
Exempted Work Packet (229.3 KB)
Applying For a Building Permit
Applications for Building Permits must be made in person at the Building Division counter.
Please see the Plan Submittal Requirements (31 KB) handout.
To apply for a building permit you may need the following items:
- Property owner name, phone number, and address.
- Contractor name, phone number, address, state license number, City Business License, and current worker compensation certificate.
- Architect name, phone number and address.
- Engineer name, phone number and address.
- Plan check fees and/or permit fees may be collected. The cashier accepts cash, check, MasterCard and Visa.
- For some remodels and tenant improvements, a contract estimate may be required.
- Complete set of plans may be required. See the Submittal Requirements handout.
- The applicant must be the property owner, a licensed contractor, or an authorized agent.
A letter of authorization for authorized agents will be required.
Please refer to the Information Bulletin, “Permit Issuance and Submittal Requirements” (23 KB) for more information.
The California State License Board Web site offers comprehensive information regarding owner/builder permits at the following site: Owner/Builder Information. The following is an excerpt from that site:
A frequent practice of non-licensed persons professing to be contractors is to have the property owner obtain the building permit as "owner/builder", erroneously implying that the property owner is providing his or her own labor and material personally. A contractor's license issued by the State of California Contractors State License Board is required when the work is to be performed by someone other than the property owner and is valued over $500.00 including labor and material. The licensed contractor should obtain the permit. Building permits are not required to be signed by property owners unless they are performing their own work personally.
Contractors are required by law to be licensed and bonded by the State of California and to have a business license from the city or county in which they are performing work. They are required by law to provide for workers' compensation if they employ or otherwise engage any person to work. They are also required by law to put their license number on all forms of advertisement, proposals, estimates, and contracts.
A Building Permit will expire if the work has not started within one calendar year from the date of issuance, or, once work starts, if a required inspection is not approved once each six months. An unexpired permit may be granted a one time, six month extension.
Please see the City Code online for more information on permit expiration.