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Building Permitting

State law requires all cities (and counties in areas where there is no city) to administer and enforce the California Building Standards Code. The California Building Standards Code contains statewide standards for the design, construction/improvement, and demolition of buildings and structures. New editions of the California Building Standards Code are adopted by the California Building Standards Commission every three years with additional, supplemental updates adopted in intervening years. As a result, projects constructed today are likely to be required to comply with standards different than projects constructed in previous years and under previous versions of the California Building Standards Code.

While homeowners associations may choose to require their own permit-type approvals, conduct plan reviews, and perform inspections, those requirements are in addition to, and are not a substitute for, the City’s obligations under state law. Though requirements may appear to be similar, homeowners associations generally focus on ensuring compliance with their own rules, rather than compliance with the California Building Standards Code. As is the case everywhere in California, buildings and structures subject to a homeowners association are still required to comply with the California Building Standards Code.

Before starting any construction or demolition, please contact the City to inquire about building permit requirements. The City’s permit counter is open from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (closed 12 to 1 p.m.), Monday through Friday (closed holidays), and by appointment. Please call City Hall at (949) 639-0500 to confirm hours of operation or schedule an appointment. Telephones are answered beginning at 8 a.m.

Beware of unlicensed contractors! State law requires anyone who contracts to perform work on a project that is valued at $500 or more for combined labor and materials costs to hold a current, valid license from the California Contractors State License Board.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the City's turnaround time standards for plans that are taken in?

The City’s turnaround time standards for plans that are taken in vary based on the type of proposed construction. Maximum turnaround times are as follows:

  • Residential New Construction
    • Initial Review: 7 days
    • Subsequent Reviews: 5 days
  • Residential Additions and/or Accessory Building
    • Initial Review: 5 days
    • Subsequent Reviews: 3 days
  • Residential Remodels
    • Initial Review: 5 days
    • Subsequent Reviews: 3 days
  • Commercial/Non-Residential New Construction
    • Initial Review: 10 days
    • Subsequent Reviews: 5 days
  • Commercial/Non-Residential Additions
    • Initial Review: 7 days
    • Subsequent Reviews: 5 days
  • Small Commercial/Non-Residential Remodels and/or Tenant Improvements
    • Initial Review: 7 days
    • Subsequent Reviews: 5 days
  • Large/Complex Commercial and/or Non-Residential Projects
    • Initial Review: 10 days
    • Subsequent Reviews: 5 days

For the purpose of calculating turnaround times, a “day” is defined as Monday through Friday excluding only federal holidays and holidays observed by the City, generally beginning on the first weekday following the date that the City takes in plans.

Building Permit Resources

Expedited Processing Information

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