FAQs

When is a permit required?
What can be permitted over the counter?
Can permits be obtained over the internet or fax machine?
How do I apply for a permit?
What type of information and documentation is required for permits that require a plan review and how long does it take to get plans reviewed?
How will I know when my plan check is complete?
Once my permit has been issued, how do I arrange for an inspection?
Can my permit expire?
How do I schedule an inspection? Who is responsible for making sure that the proper inspections are performed?
How do I get the project officially signed off?
How do I get information regarding licensed contractors?
Do I have to hire a contractor or can I perform the work myself?
Do I need an architect to prepare my plans?
How may I get more information?

When is a permit required?

According to State code, no building or structure regulated by code shall be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished unless a separate permit for each building or structure has first been obtained. A complete itemized list of work requiring a permit would be too extensive to list. It is much easier to list which work does not require a permit such as:
  1. One-story detached accessory buildings used as tool and storage sheds, playhouse, and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet.
  2. Fences not over 6 feet.
  3. Oil derricks.
  4. Movable cases, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches high.
  5. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall unless supporting a surcharge.
  6. Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2:1.
  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.
  10. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall of Group R, Division 3 (single family residential) and Group U (private garage or utility buildings) Occupancies when projecting not more than 54 inches.
  11. Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R, Division 3 Occupancy in which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade and if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons.

Please keep in mind that while some projects do not require permits, they may be governed by the Zoning Code of Elk Grove. The Zoning Code regulates items such as height and size of structures, where they can be placed on a property, how far they need to be setback from adjacent property lines; as well as the use of these structures. If you require further information regarding Zoning, please contact Elk Grove Planning at (916) 478-2265 or visit their web page.

What can be permitted over the counter?

Over the counter permits are permits that are issued immediately upon permit application. These types of permits include (but are not limited to):
  • re-roofing (non-tile only)
  • water heater replacements
  • furnace and/or air conditioning replacements
  • electrical service upgrades (residential only)
  • vinyl siding application
  • replacement of sewer lines and/or water lines
  • water softening equipment

If an appliance is relocated, a site plan showing the existing location and new location of the appliance(s) as well as a diagram showing where any new water, electrical or gas lines are to be installed is required. Reviewing this information helps us ensure that the new installation will be code compliant.

Can permits be obtained over the internet or fax machine?

While permits are not yet available over the internet, we do have a Permits Via Facsimile program in place for contractors who obtain over the counter permits on a regular basis. Please see the Permits Via Facsimile handout on our forms & handouts page.

How do I apply for a permit?

Permit applications are available on-line, just click the Forms & Handouts page. You may also obtain a permit application at our offices at 8401 Laguna Palms Way. The application collects information such as the job address, owner information, contractor information; scope of work and the cost of performing the permitted work. Obtaining an application prior to submitting for permits that require a plan review is highly recommended; it will help the applicant understand what information is collected and allows the applicant to call our office if they need any assistance in filling out the form.

While we are open until 5:00pm, we strongly recommend arriving 30 minutes prior to closing time to allow time to process your permit or take in your plan submittal. If you are unable to arrive by 4:30pm, we are open promptly at 8am daily Monday through Friday for your convenience.

What type of information and documentation is required for permits that require a plan review and how long does it take to get plans reviewed?

Several handouts regarding plan submittals are available on-line; just click the Forms & Handouts page. We do have more forms and handouts available via facsimile and are working towards having the full complement of forms available via internet in the very near future. For plan check timelines, please see the handout related to the type of construction you are permitting.

How will I know when my plan check is complete?

You will be contacted by staff when your plan check has been completed. If your plans have been approved, a permit may be issued. If your plans have plan review comments you will receive a call explaining that you have plan review comments and that your plans need to be revised. You will be advised to pick up your plans at our counter. Along with your plans, you will receive a detailed letter explaining the plan review comments.

Once my permit has been issued, how do I arrange for an inspection?

A: Inspection appointments may be called in as late as 5am the morning of the requested inspection date. The inspection appointment line is (916) 478-2225. Our message will guide you through the information we will need in order to complete your inspection request slip.

Can my permit expire?

Yes, under certain conditions. A permit is valid for 180 days (approximately 6 months) when no inspection has been performed. Each time an inspection has been performed, the permit is valid for another 180 days beyond that inspection date. If you are unable to begin construction within 180 days or if you believe it will be longer than 180 days between inspections, you may request a permit extension in writing.

How do I schedule an inspection? Who is responsible for making sure that the proper inspections are performed?

Inspection appointments can be made by calling (916) 478-2225. Our voice mail system will prompt you for the information we need in order to schedule your appointment. Requests received as late as 5am each weekday may be performed as soon as the same working day. The property owner is ultimately responsible for ensuring that inspections are performed. Some contractors will arrange the inspections for the homeowner. If you are using a contractor consult with he or she to clarify who will call for inspections as needed.

How do I get the project officially signed off?

When all the inspections have been completed and signed off, call for a final inspection. If the final inspection is approved, the inspector will sign off or “final” the permit card. Keep the permit card and any documents or plans related to the project in a safe place. If you sell or refinance your home, you will be able to demonstrate that permits were obtained, inspections were performed; and that the project was given a final inspection.

How do I get information regarding licensed contractors?

The State of California Contractors Licensing Board licenses and regulates contractors in 43 classifications that constitute the construction industry throughout the State of California. You may visit their web site at www.cslb.ca.gov for more information. Always confirm that you are dealing with a contractor who is licensed and in good standing. It is common place to ask contractors for their license number and references. Also make sure that anyone working on your property is covered by Worker’s Compensation Insurance.

Do I have to hire a contractor or can I perform the work myself?

You can perform the work yourself and/or use sub-contractors do the work. If you choose to do the work yourself, you will be asked to complete and sign an Owner-Builder Verification Form. Please click on the link or visit our Forms Handouts Page for a copy.

Do I need an architect to prepare my plans?

Plans for projects such as room additions can usually be drawn up by a draftsman or residential designer. State law does require certain licensed individuals to prepare some plans. Using a qualified professional is highly recommended. If you wish to find out more you may visit Forms & Handouts page to find out which types of projects must be designed by licensed individuals.

How may I get more information?

For more information please contact (916) 478-2235. Our in-house staff of Permit Technicians, Plans Examiners and Administrative Assistants will be happy to assist you.