General Permit Information

Frequently Asked Questions

If you discover (or we do) that your permit has expired it is important for you to renew it. Permits expire like the tabs on your automobile license plate. You cannot drive a car with an expired plate and you cannot build with an expired permit. To do either is illegal. 

Without a valid building permit you will not be able to complete the inspection of your project. Eventually, the incomplete inspection will show up on your property title report at the County Assessor’s office and may complicate any future sale. 

Fortunately, there are simple ways to fix the problem. The first step is to visit our office and meet with our staff so the exact status of your project can be established. This gives us a starting point. Then, as needed, the permit is reactivated (sometimes with a fee) and the remaining inspections can be completed and your project closed out. 

Sometimes a project permit is started and submitted for design review but the time for the completion of the design review needs to be extended. To extend a permit issuance, while in review, is a matter of requesting that it be extended. Sometimes there is a fee associated with the extension. Permits cannot be extended or renewed more than twice and for not more than two years from their original issue date without the approval of the Chief Building Official. 

For Expired Permit Help call 916-876-6129.

It is very important to fully describe your project otherwise our plan review and inspection staff will not know what it is you are planning to build or if it is safe. If the documentation is incomplete or unclear then your permit will not be issued.

Building permits issued to repair damages generally have a reduced fee rate which is why it is important to fully describe the work and establish the extent of the damage.

  • You will require the same documents used to obtain a regular building permit but you will also need to include a Fire Report if the damage was caused by a fire. The Fire Report details the extent and nature of the damage.
  • ​​Other types of damage can include flood, earthquake, broken pipes or vandalism

If you discover that you have un-permitted work on your property you will need to submit a building permit application which shall include a set of plans for the work. 

Please refer to the Home Owners section of this website for additional details or contact 916-876-6129. you may also view the Residential Plan Requirements​.

A Violation Notice is very serious. It means that a construction or an improvement on your property was constructed without a permit or may likely pose an unsafe condition to you and to the public.

For violation help, call (916) 876-8814

If a violation notice is served on a property for work being done without the benefit of a building permit, the permit is subject to violation penalties.  The penalties are two times the permit fees that shall be in addition to the required permit fees

Yes, there are requirements for obstructions and visibility at streets and driveways. Examples would be fences and bushes.

Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District prohibits the installation of any new, indoor or outdoor, permanently installed fireplaces after October 26, 2007 in any residential or commercial building.

We may issue a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy if the field inspectors in each discipline and the Fire department have signed off and approved a Temp C of O.  A Temporary Certificate of Occupancy is typically good for a period of 30 days.

All in ground pools and spas Gunite, Vinyl, and Fiberglass  requires a permit. Any above ground pool greater than 5000 gallon capacity would require a permit. 

Above ground pools less than 5000 gallons and above ground spas will require an electrical permit.

That would depend on the size and location of the shed. There are building size and height restrictions on tool sheds in order to be exempt from a building permit. 

Residential projects typically do not require an architect to draw the plans.  Depending on the design and scope of work engineering may be required.

Some commercial improvements will require an architect to prepare the plans. See the handout Who is authorized to prepare plans. 


Permits can be issued to properly licensed contractors and owner/builders who have completed an owner/builder verification form in addition to the permit application. If the work will be done by a licensed contractor, have the contractor apply for the permit in his or her name. 

The applicant for a permit shall provide an estimated permit value at the time of application. Permit valuations shall include total value of work, including materials and labor, for which the permit is being issued, such as electrical, gas, mechanical, plumbing equipment and permanent systems.

If in the opinion of the building official, the valuation is underestimated on the application, the permit shall be denied, unless the applicant can show detailed estimates to meet the approval of the building official. Final building permit valuation shall be set by the building official.

Projects may also require review and approval by the fire, water and sewer district that serve the project.

Building Permits and Inspections has a large assortment of documents and handouts to assist you with the planning, permitting, and inspection of your project.

Our web site also has popular links to State and County departments, many trade and code organizations. There are also links to fire departments, school districts and other building departments outside the unincorporated areas of Sacramento County See Related Links.

To start the process complete and submit a building permit application to Building Permits & Inspection at one of our office locations (hours vary) or apply online for simple projects.  Simple Miscellaneous Residential permits can be applied for and paid online. 

An example of online permits would be for a Water heater, Heating and Cooling, Sewer or Water line replacement, Reroof. 

See Getting Started for more information​.​

A permit expires a) in two years from the date of its issuance. b) if no work has been started within six months from its issuance, or c) work has started but stopped for over six months.

If no inspection progress has occurred for over six months your permit will expire. Once a permit is in expired status a reactivation fee will be charged to reactivate the permit.  

Inspections need to be scheduled until all inspections are complete and finaled.

Permit fees vary depending on the type of construction, square footage and/or valuation of the project. Fee estimates can be provided over the phone and fee schedules can be provided upon request.

Storage containers and railroad cars may require a Building permit. Planning department approval is required in all instances. Fire department approval is also required for commercial use. 

Apartments, Condominiums and three or more unit buildings are considered commercial permits.

Building codes tell what, where, and how buildings can be built. Building codes insure that buildings are built safely and help make the community livable.

Noise sources associated with construction, repair, remodeling, demolition, paving or grading of any real property, provided said activities do not take place between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekdays and Friday commencing at eight p.m. through and including seven a.m. on Saturday,

Saturdays commencing at eight p.m. through and including seven a.m. on the next following Sunday and on each Sunday after the hour of eight p.m. Provided, however, when an unforeseen or unavoidable condition occurs during a construction project and the nature of the project necessitates that work in process be continued until a specific phase is completed, the contractor or owner shall be allowed to continue work after eight p.m. and to operate machinery and equipment necessary until completion of the specific work in progress can be brought to conclusion under conditions which will not jeopardize inspection acceptance or create undue financial hardships for the contractor or owner;

Building Inspection currently provides plan review and field inspections based on the 2010 California Building code, Residential code, Electrical code, Plumbing code, Mechanical code, 2008 California Energy code, 2010 Cal Green Building Standards, Chapter (Title 16) Sacramento County code. 

Fees will vary depending on the type or permit required, scope of work, type of construction, and the use of the building. The fees for new Commercial and Residential buildings or additions are based on a square foot cost valuation. 

Alterations to existing buildings such as interior remodels, tenant improvements, window replacements and fire repairs are based on the job value. Job value is the cost of the complete job including labor and materials based on what the contract for the job is. 

Owner builder or Do it yourself is not considered to be free labor. We base our fees on what a contractor would charge of the job.

The term Change in Use refers to changing the use of a building or occupancy.  For an example Warehouse to Office or Retail to Assembly.

A building may have been built with a small office space and a larger warehouse space.  A new tenant may want to turn some of the warehouse space into office. This would be considered a change in use.

If your permit expires without all the inspections being completed or expires during the plan review process the permit will need to be reactivated.

  • Permits that are expired for less than six months will be reactivated at fifty percent of the Building permit fee or Plan review fee. 
  • Permits that are expired for more than a six months will be reactivated at one hundred percent of the fee. 
  • Reactivation fees are based on the most current fee schedule at the time of reactivation​.

A contractor who does not want to obtain a permit when one is required should raise a red flag. Not only are the penalties expensive (3x the permit cost) it places you as the property owner at a greater risk. Unpermitted work has no inspections and serious safety issues can go unnoticed.

Unpermitted work may go unnoticed for a while, however it often times surfaces when you sell your home or a new commercial tenant comes into obtain a permit for new work. Unpermitted work ultimately falls on the owner of the property.  If your contractor does not want to get a permit, find another who does.

A  Certificate of Occupancy is issued pursuant to a building permit for new construction, additions, and changes of occupancy after all the necessary construction has been approved and finaled by the inspector. It is evidence that Building Inspection has determined that the construction was done according to the requirements of the code for the given occupancy to be housed in the building.

Issuance of the C of O may take several weeks to complete, as we may need to collect reports from a number of agencies before the permit is finaled​ out and a C of O issued. The yellow job jacket showing all the final signatures serves as your C of O until one arrives in the mail. 

If there is no change in use to the building or tenant space a new C of O may not be issued unless requested. 

Please Note: We do not issue Certificate of Occupancies for Residential. Your Job Folder with all Final Inspection Signatures serves as your Certificate of Occupancy for your Single Family Dwelling.

It is a document that gives permission to do something such as build a project.

A permit is needed for:

  • Adding to or remodeling an existing building (including electrical, mechanical or plumbing installations or alterations)
  • Building a new building
  • Fences over 6 feet high
  • Patio covers
  • Screen rooms
  • Sheds over 120 square feet (projected floor area- residential only) or 9 feet in height​S
  • Signs
  • Swimming pools
  • Water heaters
  • When changing the use of a building

A permit is needed when altering an existing structure or adding new structures.

A plumbing permit is required for the installation of any gas piping. Except for piping less than 6 feet in length between an existing gas outlet and a gas appliance in the same room.

For Permit office locations, please check out Contacts/Hours/Locations web page.

An owner, contractor or an authorized agent for either can apply for a permit with a signed authorization letter to act in their behalf. 

It's the law. State law and County Building Codes dictate how buildings must be built to insure the safety of construction and the use of property. Proof of a building permit may also be needed for project financing. 

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