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When is a Permit Required?

A permit is required for projects such as new construction, additions, remodeling, and repairs to electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems. Examples include:

  • New homes and buildings
  • Room additions
  • Enclosures and carports
  • Decks and patio covers
  • Garage conversions
  • Landscape irrigation
  • Retaining walls
  • Window replacements
  • Water services
  • Sewer services
  • Signs
  • Water heaters
  • Fences
  • Fireplaces and fireplace inserts
  • Skylights
  • Sheds
  • Shower/tub enclosure replacements
  • Swimming pools and spas
  • Re-roofing
  • Siding
  • Ceiling fans
Additionally, Al Fresco Dining building permit requirements, exemptions and guidelines can be downloaded here.

How to Obtain a permit?

  • Online Minor Permits: If you are a California licensed contractor, certain minor permits are available online.
  • Electronic Plan Check: Submit your project through our Electronic Plan Check program.
  • Public Counter: Visit the public counter for permit services.

When a Permit is Not Required? 

A permit is not required in some cases. The following is a list of work exempt* from a permit:

  • One-story detached accessory structures, provided the floor area is not greater than 120 square feet.
  • Fences not over 7 feet high.
  • Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge.
  • Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity is not greater than 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.
  • Sidewalks and driveways.1
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.2
  • Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 18 inches deep. 
  • Swings and other playground equipment. 
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
  • Decks not exceeding 200 square feet in area, that are not more than 30 inches above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling and do not serve the exit door required by Section R311.2 of the California Residential Code.

* Unless within a design review or preservation district (or a historic landmark).

1 Permits and approval from other City departments may be required. 
2 Related work may require a building permit, such as relocating electrical fixtures to accommodate new cabinets or counters.


Return to the main Permit Services page.