Development Review and Permitting

Santa Monica’s Permit Services Center processes, reviews, and approves building permit applications to provide the legal permission to construct, alter, or add to a structure. Building permit applications may require review by multiple City agencies outside the Planning & Community Development Department depending on the scope of work for the project, including the Fire Department, Civil Engineering, Transportation, and Resource Recovery and Recycling, among others.  

It is essential that prior to submitting a building permit application to the Permit Services Center, all required land use entitlement and design approvals should be secured from City Planning. These may include approvals from the Architectural Review Board, Landmarks Commission, and/or the Planning Commission.  Please visit the City Planning web site for additional information, or contact the City Planning Division at 310-458-8341. 

Building & Construction Permits 

Building and construction permits are typically required for new development, as well as any home or commercial tenant 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, as well as improvements or replacements to plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems.

Commercial Interior Non-Structural Demolition Permits (Soft Demo)

A soft demolition permit is for the interior non-structural demolition of a commercial space to restore it back to a “raw” space (commonly referred to as a shell) for purposes of leasing and marketing to potential tenants, and to prepare the space for a future tenant improvement. The work allowed as part of a soft demolition permit shall be for interior work only and does not authorize any occupancy of the commercial space for a specific land use. A separate and subsequent building permit is required for a tenant improvement associated with the occupancy of a commercial space. A soft demolition permit can be issued the same day that the application is submitted to the City, subject to containing all the required information and content on the plans, as identified in the Commercial Interior Non-Structural Demolition Application

Electronic Permit Availability

City staff is working to expand the number of permits available using the online ePermits system. Currently the ePermits system may be used to apply for a number of construction permits. Before starting the application process please read the detailed ePermit Application Requirements to see if your project qualifies for the online submittal process. Online Applications improve communication between staff and applicants, and helps applicants avoid lines at the Public Counter.