Promoting building safety through the regulation and enforcement of construction codes is the top priority of the City’s Building Division. It’s also the focus of the annual Building Safety Month held each May.

Sponsored by the International Code Council Foundation, Building Safety Month is designed to increase public awareness about the role that building safety, code enforcement, and fire prevention officials play in protecting lives and property.

In recognition of Building Safety Month, we have a few of the popular questions that come to our Building Division.

When do I need a building permit?

With only a few exceptions, a building permit must be issued prior to the commencement of work to erect, construct, enlarge, alter, move, improve, remove, convert, or demolish any building or structure. Other permits may also be required, i.e., electrical, plumbing, or mechanical. A permit applies to work on the interior as well as the exterior of the structure. A permit for minor work may be approved over the counter or within a few days. Work covered by the building permit must have a final city inspection before the project can be considered complete. Due to the diversity of construction projects, we recommend that you contact our Building Division to discuss the types of permits and City review processes that may be required for your proposed project. Based on the construction valuation, permit fees will also be charged.

Can I obtain a building permit over the counter?

Some permits for minor work may be issued over the counter, such as:

» Residential Wall Furnace Replacement (replacement only/same location)

» Residential Electrical Panel Upgrade (existing to 200 Amp maximum service)

» Residential Electrical Fixtures, Receptacles & Switches (replacement of lighting and fixtures, receptacles or switches)

» Residential Water Heater Replacement and Upgrade (replacement only/same location)

» Residential Water Piping Replacement (residential replacement only)

» Residential Free-Standing Blockwall up to 6 feet (new or replacement; Planning approval required)

How long is my building permit valid?

A Building Permit is valid for 180 days from the date of issuance. It may continue to be renewed every 180 days thereafter by calling for a required City inspection, which will demonstrate progress is being made in completing the work. If work authorized under a permit is suspended for 180 days or more, the permit will lapse. A permit may be extended for 180 days by paying a Permit extension fee to extend the permit, provided no changes have been made to the original plans and the work has not been suspended or abandoned for a year or more. The permit may be “renewed” after expiration by payment of the full permit fee. It is possible that plans may need to be rechecked for conformance with current codes

For more information or questions about Building Codes, Building Safety, or Building Safety Month, call the Building Division at 562.801.4360.

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