Overview of San Diego Building Permits

January 05, 2011 / by / In

Whenever beginning a construction project in San Diego, a number of permits must be required. Many homeowners are unsure as to when the permits are necessary, and what they are actually for. Here is a quick guide to San Diego Building Permits. (Image Source)

What are San Diego Building Permits?

Building permits are merely measures put in place to ensure the safety of residents. These permits are able to regulate construction, and make certain that homes and buildings will not cause harm to the residents. Due to the differences in climate and geography across the country, state and local governments are responsible for establishing the appropriate codes and guidelines for any construction project.  Some areas also enforce certain laws and permits in reference to energy conservation requirements.

After getting permits from the city, there are a number of procedures that must be followed. You may have to submit plans to the city that outline your construction and you will have to establish details regarding the type of construction.

What kinds of construction need a permit?

Most types of construction need some type of permit. All new construction requires a number of permits, and any remodeling or renovation projects that modify electrical, mechanical, structural, or plumbing of the house also require permits. From structural preparation for earthquakes, to protection against electrical fires, these changes should be made by home remodeling professionals, and do require permits.

How do I obtain a permit?

Some types of permits are considered over the counter, which means that you can obtain it in one trip. Others require you to submit plans and applications and then return to receive a permit. You can get a permit at the city’s Development Review Center, which is located in downtown San Diego.  If you are making small changes to your home that still require a permit, you can visit the city’s Inspection Services Office for rapid processing.

What is zoning?

Depending on the location of your home or new construction, zoning regulations may be addressed. City Council has approved maps stating how many residences or specific types of buildings are allowed in any given area. Different types of zoning regulations determine how large the houses are allowed to be in a certain area, or how many residences can be built there. If you want to build something that is not allowed in a specific zone, you may apply to the city council for an exception.

In San Diego there are planned districts that show the intention of the property in that area. Some projects may be long-term plants, so it is essential that you check zoning regulations and procedures before having your heart set on a certain home or addition.

What are the inspections?

Property owners are responsible for having inspections throughout the course of the building process. The type of construction will designate the inspections that are required. Most permits expire after 180 days if you have not scheduled inspections during that time. Your project will be considered in violation of city codes if your construction is completed without proper inspections within the time frame given. If this happens, you are able to apply for a permit extension and reactivation.

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