Building Permit Information


The first step for every applicant should be to find out what items will be required for the project. Most information can be found below. Certain permits can be obtained online or by fax to save time.

  • When Is A Building Permit Required?
    A building permit must be obtained before you erect, construct, enlarge, alter, move, repair, improve, convert, or demolish any building or structure, including decks over 30 inches high, patio covers, sheds over 120 square feet, fences over 6 feet high, and retaining walls more than 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall.

  • How Do I Apply For A Building Permit?
    All building permit applications require the completion of an application form and submission of required information. If you are applying for your permit in person, your applications and plans, together with the plan check fees, should be submitted to the Permit Center for plan check and to the City Planning Division for a review of land use and development requirements. If you are applying for your permit online or by fax please follow the instructions as indicated.

    Information regarding the land use and development requirements of your site may be obtained from the Planning Division. The Planning Division can be reached at 408-615-2450 or by email.  In order to assist Planning staff in locating your site, please provide the Assessor's Parcel Number, maps or plot plans showing the exact site location, property address, and name of the nearest cross street.

    Depending on the type of work proposed, you may be required to submit construction plans. The Building Division, as well as other departments such as Planning, Fire, Utilities and Engineering, will perform a mandatory code compliance plan check for all submitted plans.

Depending on the type and complexity of the project, the City may:

- Approve the permit over the counter

- Identify additional information needed to continue the process

- Route plans for review. When plans are approved, the applicant will be notified the permit is ready to be issued.

Upon the approval of the plans by all departments, and obtaining any necessary site clearance approval from the Engineering Department, a building permit can be issued.

  • When May I Pick Up My Building Permit?
    Processing your building permit application varies with the seasonal work load and the complexity of your project. Normal processing takes two to four weeks. The plans will be checked for compliance with the California and local codes, Zoning Ordinance, and the Health Codes, etc. Any remaining fees, including the building permit fee, are payable prior to issuance of the building permit. Be advised that for building additions of 500 square feet or more, a developmental fee is payable to the local school district. If needed, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical permits can be issued with the building permit.

  • What building codes are enforced?
    The City enforces the California codes and has adopted and amended the following codes:

    - 1997 Uniform Housing Code
    - 1997 Uniform Administrative Code
    - 1997 Uniform Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings

    Please also refer to the City's amendments to the adopted Codes.
    - Resolution 07-7473 (Building Permit Fees)
    - Resolution 07-7472 and Ordinance 1828 (Amendments to Uniform Administrative Code, Uniform Housing Code and Uniform Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings)

The 2013 California codes became effective on January 1, 2014. Besides enforcing the 2013 California Building, Residential, Green Building Standards, Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical Codes and the 2013 California Energy Code (effective 7/1/14), the City of Santa Clara also enforces the following code amendments adopted by the City Council:

2012 International Building Code
2012 International Residential Code
2012 Uniform Plumbing Code
2012 Uniform Mechanical Code
2011 National Electric Code
2012 International Existing Building Code

Refer to Ordinance 1916 and Resolution 13-8088 for City’s amendments.

All new residential, commercial, or industrial buildings have to comply with the mandatory requirements in the 2013 California Green Building Standards Code.Compliance with City of Santa Clara Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling program will meet the Construction waste reduction requirement in the Green Building Code. A Green Building residential/Green Building commercial/non-residential checklist is required to be submitted with all new building permit applications.

2013 Residential Green Checklist (PDF)

2013 Commercial Green Checklist for New Buildings (PDF)
2013 Commercial Green Checklist for Alterations and Additions (PDF)

Energy Standards Must Be Met In All Building Permit Applications
All building permit applications submitted to the City Building Department must comply with energy standards set by the California Energy Commission. The 2013 standards became effective on July 1, 2014.

The goal is to ensure maximum reductions in wasteful, inefficient consumption of energy in residential and nonresidential buildings. Information about the standards can be obtained from the Energy Commission website.

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