Building & Construction Permits

Permit Placeholder photo

Building permits are typically required for any construction improvement, repair, alteration, construction, or demolition project, including pool or spa installations, sandblasting, most excavation and the erection of temporary structures such as temporary power poles. Permits are also required for re-roofing projects and improvements to plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems. When some portion of the proposed work includes construction or alteration of the sidewalk, alley or public street, a construction permit is also required from the City’s Public Works Department.

Some common improvements are exempt from building permit requirements, including:

  • One-story detached tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses if they do not contain utilities and are less than fourteen feet in height and one hundred twenty square feet in floor area
  • Exterior freestanding walls and fences not over six feet high, when measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall
  • Retaining walls measuring less than four feet from the top of the wall to the bottom of the foundation, with level backfill and not supporting an adjacent building, pool or driveway
  • Finish work including carpeting, wall papering and painting
  • Addition of window awnings
  • Fixing stoppages and leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures without replacing materials
  • Concrete or asphalt patios or driveways constructed on natural grade
  • Decks less than 30 inches in height when constructed on level grade
  • Movable cases, counters, and partitions not over five feet nine inches high

Although some common improvements are exempt from building permit requirements, the work must comply with applicable City municipal laws including building codes, zoning regulations and parking design standards. For a complete list of exceptions and building permit requirements, see [SMMC 8.08.050].

Who can pull a Building permit?

Property Owners, State of California Licensed Contractors, or Agent for property owner/ contractor may pull a permit with the following paperwork. Complete paperwork must be present each time a permit is pulled.  A summary of the requirements to pull a building permit are detailed in the Who Can Pull a Building Permit handout, which also includes the additional documentation needed for a residential property owner to pull an Owner-Builder permit. 

Property Owners

  • Proof of identification (Driver’s License, State Issued ID card, Alien Registration Card or Passport – Photo ID’s only)
  • Proof of ownership if there has been a recent of transfer of ownership (Grant Deed, Property Tax Statement or closing statement from Escrow)
  • Please read the Owner-Builder Acknowledgement and Information Verification form
  • Notice to Property Owner Form which is on pages 2 and 3 of the Who Can Pull A Building Permit handout. The property owner signature must be notarized if owner is not present at time of building permit issuance
  • Agents of residential property owners will also need to provide a notarized Authorization of Agent to Act on Property Owner’s Behalf, which can be found on page 4 of the Who Can Pull A Building Permit handout 
  • If the property is owned by a Trust, you will need to provide a copy of the trust paperwork showing the trustee or executor.
  • If the property is owned by a Corporation, LLC or Partnership you will need to provide a copy of the paperwork verifying the President, Vice-President, CEO, partner, or managing member.
  • If the property is overseen by a Homeowners Association and the scope of work is in the common area or exterior of a condominium building, a letter of authorization (signed by the HOA president) is required, along with the HOA minutes to verify the president.

Contractors

  • Proof of Identification (Driver’s License, State Issued ID card, Alien Registration Card or Passport – Photo ID’s only)
  • Current City of Santa Monica Business License
  • Proof of current State of California Contractor’s License & classification (pocket card)
  • Proof of valid or current Worker’s Compensation Insurance
    • If the property is overseen by a Homeowners Association and the scope of work is in the common area or exterior of a condominium building, a letter of authorization (signed by the HOA president) is required, along with the HOA minutes to verify the president.
    • Agents will also need the following paperwork:
      • Letter of Authorization on the Contractor's letterhead authorizing a person (not a business) to pull the building permit.

Note: A tenant of a building cannot pull a permit unless they are an agent for either the Property Owner or Contractor