When is a Building Permit Required?

I am often asked by clients when a building permit is required for design and constructions projects. Per California Building Code- 2010 California Residential Code. Chapter 1; section 105.1, a permit is required when: “Any owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace and electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit.”

In simpler terms, I always use the following guidelines to advise my clients when a building permit is necessary.

Projects That Generally Don't Require a Building Permit:

  • Painting the exterior of your house
  • Repainting the interior of your house
  • Repairing leaky piping or clearing stoppages
  • Replacing the cabinets in your kitchen
  • Tiling a room in your house

Projects That Generally Do Require a Building Permit:

  • Installing a gas line
  • Installing a sign for my business
  • Adding a sink, shower or toilet/s
  • Installing central air-conditioning
  • Installing lawn sprinklers
  • Building a block wall or retaining wall higher than 3 feet
  • Building a patio cover (lattice or solid)
  • Building a walking deck or porch less than 30 inches above grade
  • Building a wall or fence under 3 feet
  • Building an addition to your house
  • Enclosing a patio
  • Replacing or installing new windows
  • Placing a large trash dumpster in front of your house
  • Installing a water-heater
  • Installing new fire sprinklers
  • Installing new light fixture or ceiling fan
  • Installing new outlets, switches or plugs
  • Installing new plumbing
  • Installing in a spa (in-ground or above-ground)
  • Installing a swimming pool
  • Installing an above-ground swimming pool
  • Replacing existing piping
  • Re-roofing your house

Robert Frank is a local resident and owner of Robert Frank Interiors, a full-service interior design and construction company located in San Marino, California. Robert Frank Interiors works in collaboration with clients to create beautiful, functional spaces that reflect their lifestyles and personalities. Visit us on the web at www.robertfrankinteriors.com.