Construction Permits

Who can use this service?

Property owners, their authorized agents, and state licensed contractors acting on behalf of a property owner can apply for a construction permit.

Is there a charge for this service?

Please refer to the Department of Planning & Building Fee Schedule for application fees.

What is the process?

Step 1: Schedule Meeting (Optional)

The applicant brings preliminary plans to the Department of Planning & Building for an informal review by staff.

Step 2: Acquire Allotment

If building a new residential structure, the applicant will likely be required to acquire an allotment before submitting their application.

Step 3: Finalize Plans

The applicant finalizes their plans based on applicable codes and ordinances and any direction received from staff during the optional pre-application meeting.

Step 4: Submit Application

The applicant submits a completed application package and pays initial application fees. Over-the-counter permits can typically be issued the same day, skipping steps 5-7 below.

Step 5: Perform Initial Review

Staff reviews the application to verify that the plans comply with all applicable codes and ordinances, determine remaining application fees, and ensure that the application is complete.

Step 6: Process Application

This step actually consists of three concurrent parts:

  1. The applicant coordinates with Cal Fire or other fire agency, service providers, and Environmental Health (if necessary).
  2. Staff performs an initial plan check (this typically requires between 10 and 30 working days).
  3. Staff coordinates with other county departments as necessary and performs the initial site inspection (this typically requires 2-4 weeks).

Step 7: Satisfy Conditions/Make Corrections

The applicant satisfies any outstanding conditions and makes any required corrections to the plans, based on the initial plan check.

Step 8: Issue Permit

Staff issues a construction permit once all fees have been paid. Once a permit is issued, work can begin and inspections can be scheduled.

When and where is this service offered?

This service is available throughout the year during regular business hours except during scheduled holidays.

Location, directions and hours of operation

Click on location name to show hours of operation, directions and phone information

Old County Courthouse Building

Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

976 Osos Street Room 200 San Luis Obispo, CA 93408

Tel: (805) 781-5600

Permits/Inspections: (805) 788-2076

Fax: (805) 781-1242

Atascadero Office

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM

6555 Capistrano Avenue Atascadero, CA 93422

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I fast-track my construction permit application?

Smaller projects are considered "fast-track" and may be reviewed within 10 working days if the application submittal is complete and initial fees have been paid. A non-exhaustive list of such projects include: new garages/storage buildings, decks, small additions to existing structures, and foundation replacement or repair.

Can I obtain a construction permit over-the-counter?

Over-the-counter permits may be issued the same day that the application is submitted for small projects if the application submittal is complete and all permit fees have been paid. A non-exhaustive list of such projects include: electrical permits, skylight permits, and water heater permits.

Do I need more than one construction permit?

A separate construction permit is needed for each structure to be built or altered. If your project requires grading, a separate grading permit may also be required.

Do storage sheds require a construction permit?

Storage sheds that are less than 120 square-feet, do not include any utilities, and are under 12 feet in height do not require a construction permit. Storage sheds that are 120 square-feet or larger, include utilities, or are over 12 feet in height do require a construction permit. Storage sheds of any size are required to comply with required setbacks. There may be additional design review requirements based on applicable plans and/or standards.

How do I start the rebuild process after a structure fire?
How long are construction permit applications valid?

A construction permit application is valid for 360 days from the date it was submitted. If a permit has not been issued within that time, the application will expire. An extension of 180 days may be granted upon written request. In order to renew an application after expiration, plans need to be resubmitted and new plan review fees need to be paid.

How long does it take to issue a construction permit?

Construction permits can usually be issued within two months of submittal if the application and plans are complete, and the applicant responds promptly to all requests for additional information.

What is the difference between a construction permit and a building permit?

There is no difference between a construction permit and building permit. The Department of Planning & building uniformly uses the term construction permit, while others may use the term building permit.

What is the difference between a secondary dwelling unit and a guest house?

Secondary dwelling units (sometimes called "granny units") can include a kitchen, laundry, and garage, are limited to 1,200 square-feet in size, and can be rented separately from the main house.

Guest houses differ from secondary units in that they cannot include a kitchen, laundry, garage, separate electrical meter, are limited to 600 square-feet in size, and cannot be rented separately from the main house.

A property is not allowed to have both a secondary dwelling unit and a guesthouse.

When can I start work on my construction project?

It is very important that no work be done until the construction permit is actually issued. The first site inspection, completed prior to issuance, often reveals special problems that may require changes to the proposed plans.

When is a construction permit needed?

A construction permit is needed for almost any project that involves building or altering a structure or its plumbing, mechanical, or electrical systems. If your project requires grading, a separate grading permit may also be required.

Who can prepare plans for a construction permit?

A property owner or a draftsperson may prepare plans for single family dwellings and alterations to single family dwellings that are classified as "conventional construction" by the building code. For non-conventional houses (at least the parts of them that are non-conventional) and virtually all commercial buildings, drawings must be prepared by a professional architect or engineer who is licensed in the state of California.