FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
TLMA > Building & Safety > General Information > FAQ
Click one of the questions below to view the answer.
What is a permit?
A building permit is a document issued by the Department of Building and Safety that allows or permits the property owner to construct a new building or structure or to alter an existing building or structure. Building permits provide the means for Code Officials to inspect construction to ensure that minimum standards are met thus reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction, and therefore, ensuring the public health, safety and welfare.
When is a permit required?
A permit is required before constructing, enlarging, altering, repairing, or demolishing a building or structure or installing or altering any equipment which is regulated by the model codes adopted by the County of Riverside.
Some Examples of when a permit is required:
Install exterior siding
Finish an unfinished attic or area
Replacing water lines, sewer lines, or a water heater
Replacing a furnace or central air conditioning unit
Installing new electrical circuits or equipment
Any roof repair or replacement which involves more than 25% of the total area of the roof
Pools and spas (except vinyl pools installed above grade with a capacity of 5,000 gallons or less and which have no electrical or gas equipment)
Decks and patio covers
If you are unable to determine if your work requires a permit, you may contact the permit counter during regular business hours at 955-1800.
How much will it cost?
Building permits fees can be viewed under the general information tab. Please read any notes associated with the permit fee shown. The total permit fee of structures can't be calculated, because the Green Building Fee and SMIP Fee are based on the square footage of the proposed structures. These additional fees usually add an additional cost of $5 to $100; depending on the size of the structure(s).
Who may apply for a permit?
Permits may be applied for by the owner or their agent, or by the licensed professional engineer, architect, or contractor (or their prospective agents) employed in connection with the prospective work.
May I obtain a permit by phone or mail?
At this time permits may only be obtained in person or in some cases, by mail. You can view which permits are available by mail by visiting our Permits By Mail Process.
Can I do the work myself or do I have to hire a contractor?
In most cases we recommend that you hire a licensed contractor and that they be required to obtain the permit as part of the project agreement. This is simply because the permit holder is the party responsible for the work and complying with the codes and regulations. A reputable contractor should have no problem obtaining a permit. You can verify a contractor's state license and registration by visiting the Contractors State License Board.
If you are planning on doing the work yourself and possibly hiring someone to assist, you may have to purchase Workers Compensation Insurance, which is available from a variety of agencies. If you won't be hiring anyone, we will ask you to sign an Owner- Builder Statement to this effect. We can't issue you a permit without either insurance or the completed Owner-Building Statement.
How long is a permit good for?
A permit remains valid for as long as the work is proceeding. If the work is halted or abandoned for a period of at least six months, the permit may be suspended. Extensions may be granted for cause by the Building Official if the applicant has requested an extension in writing prior to the permit expiring.