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Development Services

Building Permit

A Building permit is required to construct any new structure or improve existing buildings and other structures. The more common building permit applications are for new or remodels to single dwelling units, multi-dwelling units, commercial and industrial buildings, and accessory structures. 

Building construction plans and other documents must be submitted for review to ensure that construction projects comply with federal, state and local standards for building safety, accessibility and land use, zoning and standards that help safeguard life or limb, public health, property and welfare. City staff review and approve these applications to ensure all applicable regulations are met.

Before applying for a building permit, review the list of projects in the San Diego Municipal Code §129.0203 exempt from a Building Permit.

Plan Your Project

What You Should Know

Depending upon the scope of your project, you will be required to select from the following list of building permit record types:

  • Building Construction – General for general building construction
    • Combination Building – Single Dwelling Units, ADUs and Duplexes
    • Building – All other buildings (multi-dwelling, commercial, industrial, all others)
    • New: Professional Certification program same day permit for office tenant improvement projects up to 20,000 square feet that are designed by a licensed California architect or engineer. After an application is submitted online, a virtual appointment is required to obain the permit.  For more information see IB-150.
  • Building Construction Master Plan – for Phased Developments and/or Master Plan Establishment for Accessory Structures. NOTE: Accessory structures such as pools and stairs using the established/approved master plan drawings shall apply for the Building Construction – General permit category. 
  • Building Construction CIP – for Capital Improvements Program Projects

Other building permit review services available include Construction ChangesDeferred Submittals and Deferred Fire Submittals

Building Permit Submittal Requirements

A Building permit is required to construct any new structure or improve existing buildings and other structures.  Learn about submitting for a building permit by reviewing the Guide to Project Submittal Process, Section 1.

Learn more about Designated Historical Resource Reviews and Potential Historical Resource Reviews.

Most historic reviews will be required to submit a photographic survey and a building record from the Offices of the County Assessor, Recorder and Tax Collector. Learn more about requesting the building records.  

Quicker Processing Opportunities

The following processing opportunities are provided to allow for quicker processing for eligible projects.

  • Rapid Review (formerly Over-the-Counter) is available for more simple projects at no additional cost.
  • Express is available for most disciplines upon payment of an Express Plan Check administrative fee plus 1.5 times the regular plan check fee.
  • Expedite is available based on affordable and in-fill housing or sustainable buildings.

AB 2234 is for processing as a Postentitlement Phase Permits Housing Project. Customers must select this option at the time of application and include a completed DS-4107 Eligibility Declaration.


Plan review, development impact fees, water and sewer, school and inspection fees vary based on the type of building construction project. Please review Information Bulletin 501 for more information.


Review the list of projects in San Diego Municipal Code §129.0203 that are exempt from a Building Permit.


Inspections are required for all building construction projects and occur during different phases of construction. Please review Information Bulletin 120 for more information.

Compliant Outdoor Expansion

Apply for a Permit

Step 1

Step 2

Read the PDF icon requirements for PDF file uploads.

Not following the PDF requirements will delay project review and approval.

Step 3

Obtain or complete the following documents:

  1. Building Construction Plans
    1. Follow the Requirements for Digital Plans and Documents, and use the Building Permit Template to create your building construction plans.  
    2. Include the following as part of your plan set:
    3. Water Meter Data Card (DS-16) completed for any project that includes new or changes to plumbing fixtures
    4. For modifications to buildings 45 years or older, submit a photographic survey and copy of the building record from the County Assessor

  2.  Project Contacts Information (DS-345)

  3. Other documents that may be required include:
    1. Affordable Housing Requirements Checklist (DS-530) completed and signed for all residential projects proposing two or more units.
    2. Hazardous Materials Reporting Form (DS-165) completed and signed for all non-residential projects (except retaining walls, fences and similar projects).
    3. High-Piled Combustible Storage Form (DS-164) completed and signed for all new or existing High-Piled Combustible Storage as defined in the California Fire Code.
    4. Eligibility Declaration (DS-4107) completed and signed for all AB-2234 qualified projects.

Step 4

Your PDF documents MUST meet our upload requirements. See Step 2 for more info.

Validate your PDF documents with Scout™

Step 5

Apply for the permit

You will be required to upload the completed documents from Step 3.