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What Type of Work Does Not Require Permits?

Building permit exemption as provided by Municipal Code, Section 129.0203 (PDF) does not apply to alterations, repairs or improvements of historical resources as described in Municipal Code, Section 143.0220 (PDF).

Exemption from the permit requirements of the Building Regulations does not authorize any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of the Building Regulations or any other applicable local or state regulations.

Municipal Code, Section 129.0203 (Exemptions from a Building Permit) and Uniform Building Code (UBC) 106.2 (Work Exempt From Permit). A building permit will not be required for the following:

  • one-story detached accessory buildings used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the projected roof area is 120 square feet or less
  • Any fence with a height less than 6 feet
  • oil derricks
  • cases, counters and partitions that are 69 inches high or less
  • retaining walls which are 3 feet in height or less measured from the top of the footing to the top of the wall unless supporting a surcharge or impounding flammable liquids
  • water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed two-to-one
  • platforms, walks and driveways that are 30 inches or less above grade and not over any basement or story
  • painting, papering and similar finish work
  • temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery
  • window awnings supported by an exterior wall of Group R, Division 3 and Group M Occupancies when they do not project more than 54 inches
  • prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R, Division 3 Occupancy in which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade and the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons
  • patio cover structures attached to or detached from single dwellings in the RE, RS and RX zones in the following circumstances except in the appealable area of the Coastal Zone or in Planned Developments:
    • the patio cover structure has 300 square feet or less of projected roof area
    • the patio cover structure is 12 feet or less above grade
    • the patio cover structure does not encroach into any yard
  • antennae supported on the roof
  • awnings projecting horizontally out to 6 feet or less and attached to the exterior walls of buildings of Group R, Division 3 or Group U, Division 1 Occupancies
  • electrolier standards, flag poles, and antennae that are 30 feet or less in height above finish grade when fully extended
  • exterior walking decks that are supported on grade and extend 30 inches or less above grade and are accessory to buildings of Group R, Division 3 (dwellings) and Group U, Division 1 (residential accessory structures) Occupancies
  • renewal of roof coverings on any buildings
  • repairs that involve only the replacement of components or existing work with similar materials only for the purpose of maintenance that do not have an aggregate valuation of over $1000.00 and that do not affect any electrical or mechanical installations. Repairs exempt from permit requirements shall not include any addition, change or modification in construction, exit facilities, or permanent fixtures or equipment. The following repairs are exempt from permit requirements without limit to valuation:
    • painting and decorating
    • installation of floor covering
    • cabinet work
    • outside paving
  • hospital buildings as defined in California Health and Safety Code Section 15026
  • specific structures as determined by the Building Official for a particular and justifiable reason.

Separate plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits may be required for the above exempted items, unless otherwise exempted by the Municipal Code