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What requires a permit?

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Required Permits & Work Exempt from Permits

Except as detailed below, no building, structure of building service equipment regulated by this code and the technical codes shall be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished unless a separated, appropriate permit for each building, structure or building service equipment has first be obtained from the Building Official.

A permit shall not be required for the types of work in each of the separate classes of permits listed below. Exception from the permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in violation of the provisions of the technical codes or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.

Building Permits

A building permit shall not be required for the following:

1. One-story detached accessory buildings used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet, 15’ in height and does not contain plumbing, electrical or heating installations and is not located in an interior or exterior setback area.
2. Fences less than 7 feet high.
3. Oil derricks.
4. Movable cases, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches high.
5. Retaining walls which are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding flammable liquids.
6. 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 or one.
7. Platforms, walks and driveways not more than 30 inches above grade and not over any basement or story below.
8. Painting, papering and similar finish work.
9. Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery. (See Fire Code for requirements)
10. Window awning supported by an exterior wall of Single Family Dwellings and Residential Accessory Structures when projecting not more than 54 inches.
11. Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to Single Family Dwellings in which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade and if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons. 
Unless specifically exempted below, separate plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits will be required for the above exempted items.

NOTE: Although a Building Permit may not be required for work listed above, there may be conditions or restrictions on such work by either the Planning Department or the Department of Public Works. You must review your project with these departments in order to determine if it is permissible.  

Plumbing Permits

A plumbing permit shall not be required for the following:
1. The stopping of leaks in drains, soil, waste or vent pipe, provided, however, that should any concealed trap, drainpipe, soil, waste or vent pipe become defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, the same shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be procured and inspection made as provided in this code.
2. The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures, nor for the removal and reinstallation of water closets, provided such repairs do involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of vales, pipes or fixtures.  

Electrical Permits

An electrical permit shall not be required for the following:
1. Portable motors or other portable appliances energized by means of a cord or cable having an attachment plug end to be connected to an approved receptacle when that cord or cable is permitted by the Electrical Code.
2. Repair or replacement of fixed motors, transformers or fixed approve appliances of the same type and rating in the same location.
3. Temporary decorative lighting.
4. Repair or replacement of current-carrying parts of any switch, contactor or control device.
5. Reinstallation of attachment plug receptacles, but not the outlet therefore.
6. Repair or replacement of any over current device of the required capacity in the same location.
7. Repair or replacement of electrodes or transformers of the same size and capacity for signs or gas tube systems.
8. Low-energy power, control and signal circuits of Class II and Class III as defined in the Electrical Code.
9. A permit shall not be required for the installation, alteration or repair of electrical wiring, apparatus or equipment or the generation, transmission, distribution or metering of electrical energy or in the operation of signals or the transmission of intelligence by a public or private utility in the exercise of its function as a serving utility. 

Mechanical Permits

A mechanical permit shall not be required for the following:
1. Any portable heating appliance, portable ventilation equipment, a portable cooling unit or a portable evaporative cooler.
2. A closed system of steam, hot or chilled water piping within heating or cooling equipment regulated by the Mechanical Code.
3. Replacement of any component part of assembly of an appliance which does not alter its original approval and complies with other applicable requirements of the technical codes.
4. Refrigerating equipment which is part of the equipment for which a permit has been issued pursuant to the requirements of the technical codes.
5. A unit refrigeration system as defined in the Mechanical Code.