Getting the Right Permits

January 09, 2011 / by / In


The city of San Diego regulates construction for the safety of all residents, as well as for the preservation of certain areas of this great county. Visit the City of San Diego website for more detailed information and guidelines on how to obtain the appropriate permits, or contact them at

What types of permits are there?

There are several different types of permits, based on the type of construction: structural, plumbing, mechanical, electrical and combination, which are generally obtained for single-family homes and other small projects. Most residential projects require a combination permit.

What types of construction require a permit?

Complete demolition, relocation of buildings, and new construction always require a permit, and they generally require a combination permit that covers the structural, plumbing, mechanical and electrical components of your project.  Certain types of renovations require permits.

What home improvements don’t require a permit?

Any superficial changes to your home do not require permits. If you are merely painting, or redecorating, permits are generally unnecessary. Fences up to six feet high, as well as platforms, decks, and walkways up to thirty inches high do not require permits. General plumbing, electrical, or mechanical repair work such as adjusting or replacing faucets, switches, and linings does not require a permit.

Minor work permits:

There are types of minor home improvements that only require permits, but can be issued easily through the Inspection Services Office. If you need to move an electrical outlet, or install a water heater, this is the type of permit for you. Contact the city’s Inspection Services Office at (858) 492-5070.

If you are planning to pursue a home improvement project, be sure to have a licensed design build contractor, architect or designer draft the plans for your project first.   With properly drafted and engineered plans the necessary permits can be obtained easily.  Your contractor should be responsible to call and pass all the required inspections.

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