Are you wondering how you can go through the complicated process of getting a permit for your new building in California? Worry no more!

Almost all building work needs a permit. A significant percentage of these permits (like repairing broken mechanical equipment or re-roofing) don’t follow the complicated process, and you can handle them as ‘over-the-counter’ permits.

In this revealing post, you’ll find the main steps to follow to get a permit for your new building in California.

Step one: Getting The Building Permit

Search The Building Permit Correctly

Getting a building permit is a complicated process, but you’ll find it hassle-free if you follow the steps we’ll highlight in this post. With the steps in this post, you’ll obtain the building permit without putting in much effort.

You’ll encounter less stress as you process your building if you include the design fees and permit fees in your budget. Note that these fees are vital when it comes to getting your building permit.

Also, note that you can go through several steps highlighted in this post with the help of licensed building contractors, engineers, or architects. Therefore, rely on these professionals if you want to make your entire process more manageable.

Check Your City/Town Website

Most cities have highlighted the works that require permits, how to get the license, the documents to carry during the application day, and the required fees.

However, it’s vital to seek help from a local building department even if the required documents and permit application steps have been highlighted clearly.

It’s good to have an expert to guide you. Through this, you’ll create a positive partnership with the local building department – which can come in in the future whenever problems occur.

Seek Approval

Are you a member of a local Homeowner’s Association? If yes, you need to seek the approval of that local association before proceeding with any work.

Note that your Homeowner Association is likely to have design review clauses covering all the aspects of your house’s exterior side, including paint color.

Any Building’s Structure Changes Requires A Licensed Structural Engineer or Civil Engineer In California

These changes include new openings on the building’s exterior walls or removing the building’s support walls.

Mainly, essential cosmetic work needs a city approval or permit before starting the task. For example, you can replace your bathroom countertops or old faucets without the building permit.

Comply With The Lastest California Building Code

Each town/city can modify the California Building Code, but these modifications are more limited than the California Building Code. Prepare yourself to update the overall system in your building if you’re renovating an older building.

For example, a 70 years old building can have a dangerous electrical system. Renovating part of this structure can trigger the need for updating the overall electrical system.

Know Your Options

This step requires you to consider the homes labeled as historical in your city/town. “Historic” homes refer to buildings with a unique backstory/function or those that are 50 years old. Expect your building permit processing to delay if you have this kind of home.

Mostly, you’ll not need a permit if you have a “normal” building and you want to make a water heater fix, electrical fix, or any other cosmetic fix. However, it’s vital to confirm this with your city/town before starting the process.

If you have a “historic” home, you need to consult the city/town first before remodeling the house’s exterior, adding siding, roofing, or windows. With this consultation, you’ll learn more about the city’s expectations.

Comply With The Submittal Requirements

Expect your project to delay if you have an incomplete submittal. If you can’t access the required documents, seek help from the Building Department and see if they have those files. Request licensed professionals to prepare the documents if you can’t find them with the Building Department.


That’s all! Processing a building permit in California can’t give you a challenge if you follow the above steps. Generally, a building permit is a vital document that will boost your house’s value. In addition, you need to pay the cost of getting the permit and you also need to consider that.

In case you need any assistance you can contact us!