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San Luis Obispo County, California

 > County of San Luis Obispo > Planning and Building > Permit Types > Construction Permit

Construction Permit

Construction Permits Do I need a Permit?

 The Construction Permit is needed when:

  • building a single-family or multi-family dewlling
  • adding a structure such as a barn, garage or carport
  • making an alteration such as a remodeling project
  • doing repairs such as re-roofing
  • building a commercial or industrial structure
  • grading or moving dirt
  • moving a building or mobilehome
  • demolishing a building

There are 4 different ways you can apply for a Construction Permit:  

1.  Standard Permit Application

The standard Construction Permit is used for single family and multi-family dwellings, commercial, industrial, alterations, demolitions, manufactured homes, moved buildings.  Download the Construction Permit Application Package and fill-in all requested information.  Your application must include the following: 

  1. Completed Construction Permit Application Package
  2. Property and Project Layout
  3. Three Complete Sets of Construction Plans (copies)   
  4. Verification of Water, Sewer and Fire Services.
  5. Other Requirements.   In some cases, additional information must be provided before a construction permit can be issued.  Refer to the information bulletin Users Guide to the Condition Compliance Process
  6. Filing Fee.   Fees vary based on what is being constructed and the size of any structures. The planning and plan review deposit portion of the total permit fee must be paid when the application is filed.  The balance is to be paid at the time the permit is issued.  Refer to the information bulletin Guide to Residential Permit Fees .

Use the Construction Permit Submittal Checklist to be sure you have everything you need. You must also visit the State Water Resources Control Board "GeoTracker"   on the web to verify whether your project is on a known hazardous waste and substances site (pursuant to AB3750).  This information must be disclosed prior to permit issuance.  Bring all the required plans, documents, information, and completed Construction Permit application to our permit center for submittal.

There are new State and Federal regulations pertaining to the abatement of lead based paints and other lead hazards in buildings. Most building constructed prior to 1978 are considered suspicious for having lead based paints, so if you are considering remodeling or demolishing an older building, you are now liable for testing the paints for lead content. Please click on the links below for more information.

2.  Fast Track

If your Construction Permit Application submittal is complete (see items listed above), and it’s a smaller project such as a garage, storage building, deck, carport, porch covering, small addition to existing building, foundation replacement/repair, your project may be considered a “Fast Track.” These projects can be reviewed within 10 working days from the time of submittal and initial fee payment.

3.  Over-the-Counter Permit Application

Over-The-Counter Permits are used for small projects that are not available with ePermits, such as electrical permits, skylight permits, water heater permits, etc.  They can be obtained in a single trip to our office without an appointment. Fill out the Construction Permit Application Package  and the  Over-the-Counter Construction Permit Supplemental document , and bring them in to our office (or obtain them at our office).  You will be required to pay the permit fees at the time of submittal.


4.  ePermits

You may apply for and obtain several permits online .  No need to come in to our office!  You'll need a valid major credit card, driving directions to the work site, and the ability to print your receipt and your building permit. Visit our Online Permit Application page to apply.  With ePermits, you can apply for:

  • Interior Drain Repair - For replacement of an existing sewer line inside a house, condominium or apartment.
  • Exterior Sewer Lateral Repair - For replacement of an existing sewer line between the house, condominium or apartment and the public sewer lateral line at the property line.
  • Water Heater Replacement - For replacement of an existing gas or electric water heater in the same location.
  • Water Piping Repair or Replacement - For replacement of existing interior or exterior water piping for a single family dwelling or auxiliary structures.
  • Electrical Panel Replacement - For replacement of the existing main electrical panel up to a maximum of 200 amps., in the same location, for a single family dwelling.
  • Forced Air Heating/Air Conditioning Unit Replacement - For replacement of the existing residential FAU, in the same location, for a single family dwelling.
  • Add or Repair Lighting, Switches and Receptacles - For new lighting or repair of existing lighting, switches and receptacles for a single family dwelling.
  • Finish Repair, Residing, Plastering, for Interior and Exterior Walls - For repair and/or replacement of exterior siding and exterior cement plaster wall finishes, as well as repairs and partial replacement of interior wall finishes for single family dwellings.
  • Residential Photovoltaic System - For installation of residential roof or ground mounted solar panels, using a micro-inverter.


Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the Permit Approval Process?

Below is an outline of the permit approval process. Many of these steps take place concurrently. You can also view our Step-by-Step Guide to the Permit Process document. 

Construction Permit Process   

How long will my application remain valid?

Your application for a construction permit is valid for 360 days from the date you submitted the application. 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.

When can I start work?

It is very important that no work be done on the building site until the permit is actually issued. This prohibition includes grading, all proposed construction, or moving a manufactured home onto the site. The first site inspection, completed prior to issuance, often reveals special problems that may require changes to the proposed plans. This is one reason why it is very important that no work be done to the site prior to issuance.

How long will the process take?

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 information.

Will I need more than one Construction Permit?

A permit is needed for each separate structure (e.g. house, detached garage, swimming pool). If your project requires major grading, a separate permit will required.

Community-Specific Information

Visit our Community guidelines page


Would you like to put a metal building or prefabricated barn on your property?

Read about Pre-manufactured Metal Buildings and get our project submittal checklist.

Would you like to build an Agricultural Building?

If you are building an agricultural building to house farm implements, hay, grain, poultry, livestock or other horticultural products, you'll need the Ag Exempt Application Form.

Would you like information about Energy Incentive Programs?

Read the document  Energy Incentive Programs for New Homes.

New State and Federal Regulations on Lead Hazards