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The Department of Planning and Building Permit Center is open by appointment only for limited building permit intake, correction returns/pick-up and to schedule virtual meetings. To submit electronic Building Permit or Land Use Permit Applications please visit  our website.

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Interactive Maps (Land Use View)

Our interactive Land Use View mapping application can be used to look up property information by assessor parcel number (APN), plan or permit number, or address.

Launch Land Use View Application


Online Services (CSS)

The County of San Luis Obispo provides online services through our Citizen Self-Service (CSS) Permit Portal to submit building permit and planning applications, request a building inspection, research permits and property information, and to pay fees.

Launch CSS

New Electronic Construction Application


The Department of Planning and Building Permit Center is closed to the public until further notice. Many services are available virtually. Please refer to our website for more information.  

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.

Re-Submittals for Applications Under Review 

All permit applications submitted with hardcopy plans will be processed and issued in that format. We are not able to switch to electronic submittal after processing begins. If you have questions, please contact your designated plans examiner, land use technician, or their supervisor.  

What is the process?

Step 1: Construction Permit Application

Complete Construction Permit Application.  Permits will not be processed until a completed application has been received. 

Please note: If an Architect or Engineer has designed the plans and an agent is processing the permit, please include the Registered Design Professional Permissions form signed and dated by all responsible parties.   

Step 2: Email Completed Application

Email completed application to [email protected]  and include the following information in your email: 

  • Project Address 

  • APN 

  • Complete Project Description (Scope of Work) that includes floor areas for all new, remodeled, addition areas, grading quantities, length of retailing walls, etc. (link to our Permit Submittal page) 

  • Contact Name and Phone Number

  • Email Address that must be used consistently throughout the permit process

WAIT : After application is received by County Staff, applicant will receive an email with instructions to upload plans online and a permit number. (This could take 24-48 hours during business hours.) 

Step 3: Upload Plans

Wait until you have received an email from County Staff. Using instructions found in the email, upload the plans into the Citizen Self-Service Permit Portal (CSS) using the proper naming conventions. See the Naming Convention Guide for assistance and see Attaching Documents to a Permit on how to attach the plans via CSS. Email County Staff contact when you have uploaded the plans

Please Note: All applicants need a CSS account. If you do not have an account, you will need to register by selecting “My Account.” Contractors should begin by selecting “Guide for Contractors.” For more information, please use the Quick Reference Guide

  • Once all plans and supporting documentation has been uploaded, staff will route application to Planning for a zoning clearance and estimate the fees for the building permit.
  • The applicant will receive a confirmation email with the invoice number. 

Step 4: Pay Invoice

Pay the invoice (1st installment) through our online payment system (CSS). For help, CSS Payment Guide

When payment is made, please send an email to your county staff contact. (Review will not start until payment is made and confirmed.) 

Step 5: Plan Review

Once the plans have been reviewed, you will receive an email that will include details of corrections, conditions, school fees, and remaining fees as applicable. 

  • Please review this information and resubmit the corrected plans and supporting documentation into the CSS portal under your projects assigned permit number. 

  • Please remember to follow the naming convention that was sent to you at the start of the project as this will help us facilitate moving the project along. 

Step 6: Permit Issuance Report

Once all previous steps are completed, you will receive an email with the Permit Issuance Report.  

  • Please sign the appropriate areas and initial each page on the bottom left corner where indicated.  

  • Scan or take photos of each page and email them to the staff contact in a single file.  

Once all steps are completed, you will receive email notification that the approved plans are ready for download within the CSS portal.

The applicant will need to print the plans and supporting documentation to have available onsite at time of inspections. Also, an inspection card and site ID card will be email to applicant / contractor. 

Is there a charge for this service?

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

When and where is this service offered?

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

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.

Interactive Maps (Land Use View)

Our interactive Land Use View mapping application can be used to look up property information by assessor parcel number (APN), plan or permit number, or address.

Launch Land Use View Application


Online Services (CSS)

The County of San Luis Obispo provides online services through our Citizen Self-Service (CSS) Permit Portal to submit building permit and planning applications, request a building inspection, research permits and property information, and to pay fees.

Launch CSS