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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Residential FAQs

How do I obtain a permit to build a residential addition?

There are many minimum requirements for obtaining a permit for single-story room additions and accessory structures for single-dwelling unit or duplex residents. Information Bulletin 140 (PDF).

What are the requirements to get a permit for residential garage conversions?

There are several requirements for obtaining a permit to convert a garage of a single-dwelling unit or duplex to habitable, or no parking, area. Information Bulletin 142 (PDF).

What are the specifications for patio covers?

Patio covers are one-story structures not more than 12 feet above grade and used only for recreational, outdoor living purposes, and not as carports, garages, storage rooms or habitable rooms. Information Bulletin 206 (PDF).

What are the strapping requirements for water heaters?

The State of California requires that all water heaters in our area be anchored or strapped to resist movement during an earthquake. Information Bulletin 207 (PDF).

How do I obtain a permit for residential decks?

A building permit is required for any residential deck more than 30 inches above grade. Information Bulletin 211 (PDF).

What are the minimum requirements for a retaining wall or level backfill?

Construction of retaining walls, except those less than three feet high and not supporting surcharge, requires a permit and is regulated by City of San Diego building codes. Information Bulletin 221 (PDF), Information Bulletin 222 (PDF).

What are the specifications for wood and masonry fences?

Construction of wood or masonry fences six feet or less in height and not supporting surcharge does not require a permit from the City of San Diego Development Services Department. Information Bulletin 223 (PDF).

Can I build a second living unit?

To find out make an appointment with Development and Permit Information (DPI) at the Development Services Department , 1222 First Avenue, 3rd Floor. Walk-ins are welcome, but priority is given to those with appointments. Phone (619) 446-5300 to schedule your appointment.

Can I build a fence?

Refer to Specifications for Wood and Masonry Fences Information Bulletin 223 (PDF) then call (619) 446-5300 to set up an appointment with Development and Permit Information (DPI) counter at the Development Services Department , 1222 First Avenue, 3rd Floor. Walk-ins are welcome, but priority is given to those with appointments.