No person, firm, or corporation shall erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert or demolish any building or structure regulated by this title, or cause the same to be done, or install or connect any equipment regulated by this title, or perform any work regulated by this title, without first obtaining the necessary permits from the county building official.
According to the California Building Code (CBC) the only type of construction work exempt from a permit is as follows:
Exemptions from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction. Permits shall not be required for the following:
- One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet (11 m2).
- Fences not over 6 feet (1829 mm) high.
- Oil derricks.
- Retaining walls that are not more than three feet in height, measured from the top of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or ground slope exceeding 1:2 or impounding class I, II, or III-a liquids.
- Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18 925 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2:1.
- Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route.
- Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
- Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.
- Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy that are less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons (18 925 L) and are installed entirely above ground.
- Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems.
- Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one- and two-family dwellings.
- Window awnings supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support of Group R-3 and U occupancies.
- Nonfixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches (1753 mm) in height.