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The Building Process

Building Permits

Building permits are generally required for any building or construction involving any plumbing, electrical, mechanical, or structural alterations. The Uniform Building Code states that a permit is required for all new construction, demolition, remodeling, improving, removing, repairs, or moving of all buildings or structures. Regardless of the type of occupancy, a permit is required for additions, swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, decks over 30" above grade, carports, sheds over 120 sq. ft. of roof area, skylights, covered patios and walkways, retaining walls, bathroom and kitchen remodeling, termite repairs, reroofing, solar panels and most interior and exterior remodeling work. Permits are also required for plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling work.

When work is done without a permit, the permit fees will be doubled, the completed work may have to be dismantled or uncovered to provide access for inspection.  Property owners or licensed contractors may apply for a building permit. The person signing for the permit must declare they have no employees, or they must show proof of a valid Workers' Compensation Insurance policy before a permit can be issued.

Building Plans

If you are constructing a new building or addition on a hillside, engineered footings are required, with soils and geology reports to substantiate all design assumptions. Calculations shall be submitted in two copies with the designers wet signature and stamp. Structures in the residential hillside zone must have noncombustible roofing and be fire sprinklered.

For new construction, additions and most remodeling, complete plans are required. All plans must include the name and address of the architect, engineer, or other person preparing the plan.

Energy calculations are required and must be incorporated into the plans. Generally 3 or 4 sets of plans are required to be submitted.

A plot plan must be included in plans for any work which alters the use, exterior footprint, exterior of an existing structure, or for any new buildings. Plot plans must show lot dimensions, front, rear and side setback distances to all property lines and existing buildings.

All easements and underground utility lines should be shown on the plan. Locations and sizes of proposed and existing water, sewer, gas and electric meter should be indicated. Floor plans must show dimensions and the location of all walls, plumbing fixtures, doors, windows, appliances, kitchen counter, furnace and water heater. All electrical fixtures and locations must be indicated.

Framing plans must indicate the sizes of floor joists and girders, ceiling joists and roof rafters. If you are using main beams, trusses or any unconventional framing, calculations must be submitted.

Four exterior elevations are required which show windows, doors, skylights and architectural finish features. Heights of buildings must be indicated to show compliance with zoning regulations.



This website has been written and developed by Rob Ransom, PhD. Rob has extensive experience working with buyers and sellers of vacant land in San Diego County, CA. Although Rob currently has a California real estate license he is retired from selling real estate.

If you have comments or suggestions regarding this web site, email Rob at the address below.


Website developed by REMedia, an electronic media company based in San Diego, CA. Previous projects include the ZooGuides series of educational CD-ROM titles, of which over 1m copies have been sold to elementary, middle and high schools across the USA.


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