January 21, 2019

When and why building permits are required


  • A building permit is required by law and is intended to protect life and property. 
  • When you obtain a building permit, you have the comfort of knowing that your project is being reviewed and inspected by qualified personnel who are trained and experienced in this line of work. 
  • Most projects begin with a plan review before a permit is issued. A large majority of potential problems are discovered at this stage and resolved before the project even begins. This saves unnecessary construction delays, time, and money, as opposed to discovering the errors in the field after materials are delivered and/or installed. 
  • During the construction of your project, an experienced building inspector performs periodic inspections to verify the work is properly completed and meets code requirements. The inspector may also be able to provide suggestions or recommendations since they, most likely, have experienced similar situations in the past! 
  • Plan review and inspection fees for building permits are nominal and are a small price to pay when you consider the alternatives. Wouldn't you rest assured knowing that your construction project was approved by experts?


A building permit is required for any construction which physically changes or adds structures to your property or for work regulated by local Codes or Ordinances, such as:

  • New Buildings 
  • Additions-Room additions, patio covers, swimming pools, etc. 
  • Alterations-Re-roofs, garage conversions, exterior stucco, new 
  • Repairs-Replacement of water heaters or other plumbing fixtures, air conditioning units, new electrical service, and rewiring, etc. Moving or Demolishing a building. 
  • Installation of heating equipment, such as stoves, wall heaters and fireplaces.


A permit is not 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 one hundred twenty (120) square feet. 
  • Fences not over six (6) feet high. 
  • Movable cases, counters and partitions not over five (5) feet high. 
  • Retaining walls not over four (4) feet high measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall and not supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II, or III-A liquids. Contact your local Building Official for walls retaining soils in close proximity of the property line. 
  • Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity does not exceed five thousand (5000) gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed two to one (2:1). 
  • Platforms, walks or driveways not more than thirty (30) inches above grade and not over any basement or story below. Contact your local Building Official if the walks or platforms are accessible to the public. 
  • Painting, papering and similar finish work. 
  • Temporary motion picture, television, and theater stage sets and scenery. 
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall of Group R-3 or U-1 Occupancy when projecting not more than fifty four (54) inches. 
  • Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 Occupancy in which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade and if the capacity does not exceed five thousand (5000) gallons. (Note: Associated electrical work does require a permit.)


Unless otherwise exempted, separate plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits will be required for the above- exempted items.


Public Services Building
2700 M Street, Suite 570
Bakersfield, CA 93301-2370

Phone: 661-862-5100 
FAX: 661-862-5101 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.