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 Inspection 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 2010 California codes are effective since January 3, 2011. Besides enforcing the 2010 California Building, Residential, Green Building Standards, Electrical, Plumbing and Mechanical Codes, City of Santa Clara also enforces the following code amendments adopted by City Council:
2009 International Building Code
2009 International Residential Code
2009 Uniform Plumbing Code
2009 Uniform Mechanical Code
2008 National Electric Code
2009 International Existing Building Code
Refer to Ordinance 1873 and Resolution 10-7811 for City’s amendments.
California has adopted two brand new codes in the 2010 codes:
- Residential Code
All one- and two-family dwelling units have to comply with the 2010 California Residential code together with the City’s amendments.
- Green Building Code
All new residential, commercial, or industrial buildings have to comply with the mandatory requirements in the 2010 California Green Building Standards Code. There is no City’s amendment to the Green Building 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 non-residential checklist is required to be submitted with all new building permit application.
Certified Facility List (PDF)
2010 Residential Green Checklist (PDF)
2010 Commercial Green Checklist (PDF)
New Energy Standards Must Be Met In All Building Permit Applications
All building permit applications submitted to the City Building Department must comply with new emergency energy standards set by the California Energy Commission.
The goal is to ensure maximum reductions in wasteful, inefficient consumption of energy in residential and nonresidential buildings. Information of the new standards can be obtained from the Energy Commission website.