Work Exempt from Building/Fire Permits



Exemptions from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction. 

  1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area is not greater than 120 square feet. Consult with Planning for separate zoning requirements. (Note: If you are adding electrical to the proposed structure, a permit will be required.)  
  2. Wood fences 6 feet or less in height. Consult with Planning for zoning requirements.  
  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 Class I, II or II-A-liquids.  
  5. Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2:1. Consult with Planning for zoning requirements.  
  6. Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route. Consult with Planning for zoning requirements and Public Works for off-site improvements requirements.  
  7. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops and similar finish work. (Kitchen and Bathroom cabinet replacement requires a permit. Exterior painting of anything other than a single family residence or duplex will require Planning approval.)  
  8. Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.  
  9. Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy (single-family residence) that are less than 24 inches deep, are not greater than 5,000 gallons and are installed entirely above ground. Consult with Planning for zoning requirements.  
  10. Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems.  
  11. Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached One-and-Two Family Dwellings.  
  12. Window awnings in Group R-3 and U occupancies, supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require additional support. Consult with Planning for zoning requirements.  
  13. Non-fixed movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches in height.  
  14. Roofing repairs less than 100 square feet (one roofing square).  
  15. Window replacements in the same opening, when window opening is not modified and there is no framing construction required. Consult with Planning for zoning requirements.      

For questions, please contact the Building Division at 650-903-6313 or