Is a permit required?
Per the 2016 California Building Code, section 105.2, the following is a list of work that is exempt from permits. All work, including work exempt from permits, is required to be done in compliance with applicable codes and ordinances.
Building work exempt from permit:
1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area is not greater than 120 square feet.
2. Fences not over 7 feet high.
3. 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 or impounding Class I, II or IIIA liquids.
4. Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity is not greater than 5,000 gallons (18 925L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width is not greater than 2:1.
5. Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route.
6. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
7. Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.
8. Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy that are less than 24 inches deep, are not greater than 5,000 gallons and are installed entirely above ground.
9. Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems.
10. Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one- and two-family dwellings.
11. Window awnings in Group R-3 and U occupancies, supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
12. Nonfixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches in height.
First, start by checking how the zoning regulations influence the value of your property.
Electrical work exempt from permit:
1. Repairs and maintenance: Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.
2. Radio and television transmitting stations: The provisions of this code shall not apply to electrical equipment used for radio and television transmissions, but do apply to equipment and wiring for a power supply and the installations of towers and antennas.
3. Temporary testing systems: A permit shall not be required for the installation of any temporary system required for the testing or servicing of electrical equipment or apparatus.
Mechanical / Gas work exempt from permit:
1. Portable heating appliance.
2. Portable ventilation equipment.
3. Portable cooling unit.
4. Steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code.
5. Replacement of any part that does not alter its approval or make it unsafe.
6. Portable evaporative cooler.
7. Self-contained refrigeration system containing 10pounds or less of refrigerant and actuated by motors of 1 horsepower (0.75 kW) or less.
Plumbing work exempt from permit:
1. The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe, provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drain pipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, such work shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in this code.
2. The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures and the removal and reinstallation of water closets, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.