Permit Overview - Knowing when you need a permit
Before you begin your project, it's a good idea to become familiar with the different types of permits for your project. Outlined below are the types of permits along with those projects that need permits and those that do not.
There are four types of permits:
Required for all construction work including additions, patio covers, carport enclosures, walls/fences, retaining walls, and accessory buildings (storage buildings less than 200 sq ft only requires a site plan).
Required to install, alter, reconstruct or repair electrical wiring on any building, structure, swimming pool, or mechanical equipment.
Required to install, alter, reconstruct, or repair any plumbing system, gas system, lawn sprinkler supply, water heater replacement.
Required to install, alter, reconstruct or repair any furnace, refrigeration or other air conditioning equipment or system, except portable or window units.
Note: Except for gas piping, a plan review is not required for most single-family residential electrical, mechanical and plumbing work. These types of improvements are classified as "minimum" permits and can be obtained online with a credit card. The inspection process is used to ensure a correct installation per the building codes.
While most home improvement projects require a permit (which helps ensure safety standards), there are some projects that do NOT require a residential permit:
- Detached, non-habitable structures smaller than 200 square feet in floor area (a site plan is required);
- Patio slabs or sidewalks/drives (not over 30 inches above grade);
- Repair existing landscape irrigation piping (a permit is required to connect a new irrigation system to your waterline);
- Walls, three feet or less (except retaining walls);
- Low-voltage landscape accent lighting;
- Minor repairs or replacement of non-structural items such as glass, doors, hardware, kitchen cabinets, carpeting, flooring or trim work (not affecting a pool enclosure or garage); (Please Note: Relocating or new electrical wiring or gas piping will require a permit. Replacing/adding cabinet/millwork does not require a permit.)
- Paint (interior/exterior); repair drywall, plasterboard, paneling or stucco (insulated stucco systems require a permit);
- Repair or replace existing plumbing fixtures in the same location;
- Re-shingle or retile a roof when the same material is used.
Subdivision covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) may govern some of these items even though they are not regulated by the city. Check with your homeowners association before proceeding.
Doing a minor remodel or addition?
Moving walls, adding electrical and/or plumbing features will require a permit. If the area being changed is single story and less than 1000 sq ft, download the Minor Addition / Remodel Submittal Packet (PDF/227KB/9pp).