Required Permits and Work Exempt from Permits

(Building, Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical)

Except as detailed below, any owner or authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect or install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by the California Code of Regulations, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the Building Official and obtain the required permit.

Note: although a Building Permit may not be required for work listed below, there may be conditions or restrictions on such work by an outside agency, Planning Division, Fire Department, or the Public Works Department. You must review your project with these departments to determine if it is permissible.

When any owner or authorized agent is required to have approval from an outside agency such as, but not limited to:
• Health Department
• Bay Area Air Quality
• Third party lead testing

All approvals must be received prior to applying for a Building Permit.


WORK EXEMPT FROM PERMIT: A permit shall not be required for the types of work in each of the separate classes of permits listed below. Please Note: Exception from the permit requirements of the California Code of Regulations shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of the codes or any other laws or ordinances of the City of Benicia.


CA BUILDING CODE - Permits: A construction permit shall not be required for the following:
1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses, and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet and the structure contains no plumbing, electrical or heating systems or appliances.
2. Fences not over 7 feet high. (Except masonry fences more than 3 feet high, shall require a permit) (Residential max fence height is 6 feet).
3. Oil derricks.
4. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding flammable liquids.
5. Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2:1.
6. Sidewalks and driveways, decks, or platforms, which are less than 30" above adjacent grade plane, and are not a part of the means of egress for an occupied building, not over any basement or story below and not part of an accessible route.
7. Single family dwelling decks not exceeding 200 square feet in area, that are not more than 30 inches above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling and do not serve the required exit door.
8. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, counter tops and similar finish work, except that striping or restriping of parking lots shall require a permit.
9. Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery. (See Fire Code for requirements)
10. Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to single family dwellings that are less than 24 inches deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons and are installed entirely above ground.
11. Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems.
12. Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one-and two-family dwellings.
13. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require additional support of single-family dwellings and garages.
14. Nonfixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counter tops, and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches in height.

Unless specifically exempted below, separate plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits may be required for the above exempted items.


1. Repairs and maintenance: Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.
2. Radio and television transmitting stations: The provisions of this code shall not apply to electrical equipment used for radio and television transmissions but do apply to equipment and wiring for a power supply and the installation of towers and antennas.
3. Temporary testing systems: A permit shall not be required for the installation of any temporary system required for the testing or servicing of electrical equipment or apparatus.
5. Reinstallation of attachment plug receptacles, but not the outlets, therefor.
6. Residential repair or replacement of branch circuit overcurrent devices of the required capacity in the same location.


CA RESIDENTIAL CODE - Single Family Dwelling Electrical:
1. Electrical wiring, devices, appliances, apparatus, or equipment operation at less than 25 volts and not capable of supplying more than 50 watts of energy.
2. Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.
3. Listed cord and plug connected temporary decorative lighting.


1. Portable heating appliance.
2. Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of the equipment or make such equipment unsafe.


CA RESIDENTIAL CODE - Single Family Dwelling Gas:
1. Portable heating, cooking or clothes drying appliances.
2. Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.
3. Portable-fuel-cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.


1. Portable heating appliance, portable ventilating equipment, a portable cooling unit, or a portable evaporative cooler.
2. Steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by the Mechanical Code.
3. Replacement of any part that does not alter its approval or make it unsafe.
4. Self-contained refrigeration systems containing 10 pounds or less of refrigerant and actuated by motors of 1 horsepower or less.


1. The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste, or vent pipe, provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drainpipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, such work shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in this code.
2. The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures, and the removal and reinstallation of water closets, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes, or fixtures.