Building Permits Questions

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What is the purpose of the Building Division?

  • Provide fire, structural and safety protection for the occupants of new and existing structures through the use and enforcement of adopted construction codes.
  • Preserve the integrity of neighborhood environments resulting in a higher quality of life.
  • Maintain a spirit of cooperation with the business community through compliance with license requirements.

The Building Division administration includes the activities of:

  • Enforcing State-mandated laws and uniform codes.
  • Checking building plans for code compliance.
  • Permit issuance.
  • Providing customer service at the counter.
  • Collecting fees.
  • Maintenance of permit records and plans.
  • Preparing reports to State, County, City agencies and emergency responses.

The Inspection program includes the activities of:

  • Ensuring building construction compliance with State safety laws and City ordinances through inspections.
  • Responding to complaints about code violations, illegal construction, business license inspection requests, and structural damage assessments.

For a list of forms available online, please click:

How do I contact the Building Permit Department?

We are located at 910 Calle Negocio Suite 100, San Clemente, CA 92673.

Please excuse our dust as we are currently renovating to serve you better. During the construction process, the building department entrance has been temporarily located in the back of the building. Parking is still available in both the front and rear of the building.

We are open: 

Monday                               7:30AM to 5:30PM

Tuesday                              7:30AM to 5:30PM

Wednesday                         7:30AM to 5:30PM

Thursday                             7:30AM to 5:30PM

Alternating Fridays              8:00AM to 5:00PM

 

Please note:

Closed for Lunch                 12:30PM to 1:30PM     

Appointments only               1:30PM  to 2:30PM

 

2019 Holiday and Dark Friday Calendar

If you have any questions, you are welcome to call us at (949) 361-6100.

For information on the current Building Codes and Fees, click here:

How do I get a permit?

The first step is to prepare a drawing or create a blueprint of what you propose to do. If your property is subject to Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R’s) and you belong to a homeowner’s association, most projects require their approval first prior to submitting plans to the City. Your drawing or blueprint will be reviewed by any and all City departments affected by your project. In most cases simple exterior improvements need only be reviewed by Building and Planning Divisions and can often be plan checked over the counter during our walk-in hours.

What forms will I need?

Several forms must be completed depending on the extent of the project. They include: Permit Application; Homeowner’s Verification Form; and Owner-Builder Verification Form (not applicable if a contractor obtains the permit). Building Division staff will help you to understand the requirements of the applicable forms.

How much will it cost?

Permit fees vary based upon what work is being done and are proportional to the scope of the project. You can review the building permit fee schedule to get a general idea of the cost of your permit, however many projects are subject to fees from other Divisions or State surcharges.  Because of this, it is always a good idea to get a cost estimate from the Building Division at (949) 361-6100  before beginning a project. They may also be other approvals and permits required beyond the building permit including those from Engineering Division for grading work and/or from Planning Division for work done within Coastal Zones or where a zoning and/or historical variance or landscaping design may be required.

How do I schedule an inspection?

As long as the inspection request is called or submitted before noon, an inspection may be performed the very next working day. No inspections are performed during the weekends or during a closed Friday. When a permit is issued, an Inspection Record is also issued. This Inspection Record or job card states the items needed for an inspection. To request your inspection, you may call our automated phone number (949)361-3366 or use our online permitting system eTRAKIT.

Here is the link to schedule inspections online: www.san-clemente.org/eTRAKIT.

Please note that if a job does not have any approved inspections in 180 days, the job is considered abandoned and the permit expires and would need to be re-activated by renewing the permit and paying more permit fees.

Is it less expensive for a homeowner to acquire the building permit?

The fees for a building permit are based on the valuation of the project and will be the same fees whether a homeowner or a contractor obtains the permit. However, a contractor may ask the homeowner to pay for his time spent at the Building Division office.

Can I get a permit for work already done? 

It is always best to obtain a permit prior to doing any work. Contractors are required by law to obtain permits prior to performing work under their license. However, in order to bring more buildings up to the proper safety codes, the City is willing to work with owners to validate work done without permits, if possible.

Owners would still need to go through the normal requirements and paperwork process to apply for a permit. The application will be reviewed by all departments and agencies as if no work had been performed. Owners would also need to submit formal blueprints for the work completed. 

Once the plans have been approved (for work already done), the Building Division would issue an “As-Built” building permit. However, work that was performed without the benefit of a permit and inspections, still needs to comply with the current building codes. So the work would need to be formally inspected. That may require the work to be exposed for the inspector to see at the site.

In addition, some work may have to be certified by a licensed structural or civil engineers prior to final inspection approvals. There may be penalty fees assessed to that project in addition to the normal permit fee. 

If approval for the work is not given, the work may have to be corrected, altered or even removed. In some cases the Code Compliance Division may have to work with the owner to ensure that all building codes have been met. 

How long will it take to process my permit?

 The length of time for processing a permit depends mostly on the scope of work being done. Simple walls, spas, underground gas or electric lines, patio covers, re-roofs, window replacement and such can be reviewed over-the-counter. If the project is approved a permit can be issued immediately. Other projects involving large decks, remodeling, additions may take a few weeks to review and approve depending upon the size of the improvement and/or number of corrections that may be needed on the blueprints. New construction of a home or commercial building requires extensive reviews by different divisions (Planning, Engineering, Water/Sewer, O. C. Fire Agency, Public Health, etc) and may require a longer period of time for review. Any required grading work must be done and approved by the Engineering Division prior to a building permit being issued.

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