San Jose Building Permits: Frequently Asked Questions

San Jose building permits are necessary for various projects, but they also can raise many questions. The purpose of building permits is to ensure buildings, structures, and systems are built according to code. Laws and regulations establish building codes to ensure the safety of residents.

Building permits can be daunting with so many rules, so as experienced contractors, we’ve answered several frequently asked questions regarding San Jose building permits below:

What is a building permit?

A building permit is an official authorization by a municipal that grants the ability to complete remodeling or building projects. Building permits help ensure projects are completed according to local building codes and regulations for the safety of current and future residents.

How much is a building permit in San Jose?

The cost of your building permit will depend on the type of project. San Jose building permit costs are listed on the city’s website. The total cost of your San Jose building permit will include an issuance fee, a review fee, and an inspection fee.

How long does it take to get San Jose building permits?

A San Jose building permit is usually approved within two weeks, but it could take longer. Errors in your application or an increase in permit applications can affect the approval of your permit. We recommend you have a contractor apply for your permits to reduce the chance of errors.

How do you get a building permit?

Depending on the building permit you need, your process may look a little different than what we outline below. However, the typical process of obtaining a San Jose building permit is as follows:

  • Step 1: Fill out and submit a permit application. You can find permits here on San Jose’s website. If you are working with a contractor, they should be handling all the necessary permits for the project.
  • Step 2: Prepare a site plan for the project. If you are working for a contractor, they’ll develop and submit the plans.
  • Step 3: Schedule an appointment to have plans reviewed. This process can take some time as the city could take a few days or even weeks. You may also have to make corrections per the city’s orders.
  • Step 4: The San Jose building permits are approved, and you can begin construction.
  • Step 5: Inspections are necessary at certain stages of the project, so make sure you schedule them at the right times, or your contractor takes care of them.
  • Step 6: Complete the final inspection and get a sign of approval from the City of San Jose.

Again, the process outlined above will vary depending on the type of permit you need and if you’re working with a contractor or not. For homeowners, we highly recommend working with a contractor to make the process much simpler on your end.

San Jose Building Permits for Residential Projects

How can you avoid building permits?

Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid San Jose building permits if the project requires them. You can change the scope of your project to avoid needing a building permit. For example, if you had plans to move a wall or increase the size of a window, you can eliminate those plans since they would require building permits. Otherwise, you’ll have to take the time to apply for permits and schedule the inspections.

Are building permits public records?

Yes. San Jose building permits are open to the public to view since they are recorded and filed by the municipality.

Do I need a permit to build a shed?

A San Jose building permit is required for sheds and other accessory buildings if they are 120 square feet or greater. No matter the size, you will also need a permit if you plan to add plumbing or electrical.

Do I need a permit to build a fence?

No, as long as your fence is less than 7 feet tall.

Have Questions About San Jose Building Permits?

Visit the City of San Jose’s website for more details on projects that don’t need San Jose building permits and projects that do. If you have questions or concerns about your project, contact DreamHome Remodeling & Builders. We can help you obtain the permits and develop a building plan to submit.

Call our team at (415) 650-2586 or visit our contact page to send us a message. Our team is eager to help you plan and build your dream home!

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