Building Permits FAQ's
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When do I need to get a permit?
Generally, permits are required for all electrical, plumbing, mechanical or structural projects you may want to perform. Installing water heaters, dishwashers, garbage disposals; re-roofing, remodeling, repairing stairs, replacing windows, adding any improvement to your home requires a permit. Building retaining walls, garden walls, patio covers, decks, BBQ’s, pools/spas, water fountains all require permits. Building permit fees are collected to pay for the services of plan checks and inspections to make sure the project meets compliance with building codes and local ordinances.
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How do I get a permit?
The first step is to prepare a drawing or create a blueprint of what you propose to do. If your property is subject to Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R’s) and you belong to a homeowner’s association, most projects require their approval first prior to submitting plans to the City. Your drawing or blueprint will be reviewed by any and all City departments affected by your project. In most cases simple exterior improvements need only be reviewed by Building and Planning Divisions and can often be plan checked over the counter during our walk-in hours. Walk-in hours are 7:30-12:30 in the morning and 2:30-5:30 in the afternoon and 8:00-12:30 and 2:30-5:00 on alternating open Fridays. Your first contact with the City will be at the Building Division located at 910 Calle Negocio, Suite 100, San Clemente, (949)361-6100.

What is the difference between a homeowner and a contractor obtaining the permit?
Contractors are required by law to be licensed and bonded by the State of California. Building Division staff secures the contractor’s current status with (1) the State Contractor’s License Board, (2) the City’s Business License, and (3) Worker’s Compensation Insurance. When a homeowner obtains the permit, he/she will be asked to complete an Owner-Builder Verification form and state whether or not he/she will be performing all the work on the project. If not, the homeowner needs to identify the sub-contractors that will be hired to do the job and confirm their Worker’s Comp Insurance. A homeowner must obtain a Worker’s Compensation Insurance policy if the sub-contractor does not have it. A copy of the insurance policy must be made available to the Building Division before a permit can be issued. State Health and Safety Code states: Building permits are not required to be signed by property owners unless they are personally performing their own work. Information about licensed contractors may be obtained by contacting the Contractors’ State License Board at (800) 321-CSLB (2752) or via Internet address:

What forms will I need?
Several forms must be completed depending on the extent of the project. They include: Permit Application; Homeowner’s Verification Form; and Owner-Builder Verification Form (not applicable if a contractor obtains the permit). Building Division staff will help you to understand the requirements of the applicable forms.

How much will it cost?
Permit fees vary based upon what work is being done. A minimum permit fee costs about $25.00 for very simple electrical, plumbing or mechanical work. Most walls, re-roofs, patio covers, small decks, portable spas will cost about $200. Additions, remodeling, pools/spas, large decks can range from $300 to $2,000 depending on the size and scope of the work. The building permit fees for new construction or re-build of single family residences can average about $1.50 per square foot, and for non-residential construction can average about $2.00 per square foot. However, there are many variations of development (impact) fees depending on the size and location of the proposed project, so that total permit costs for some homes can be as much as $7.00 per sq. ft. and commercial buildings about $10.00 per sq. ft. It is always a good idea to get a cost estimate from the Building Division before beginning a project. There are additional fees from Engineering Division for grading work and/or from Planning Division for work done within Coastal Zones or where a zoning and/or historical variance or landscaping design may be required.

How do I schedule an inspection?
As long as the inspection request is called or submitted before midnight, an inspection may be performed the very next working day. No inspections are performed during the weekends or during a “closed” Friday. When a permit is issued, an Inspection Record is also issued. This Inspection Record or “job card” states the items needed for an inspection. To request your inspection, you may call our automated phone number (949)361-3366 ext. 9002 or use our online permitting system at San Clemente ONLINE e-TRAKiT click on Permits. If a job does not have any approved inspections in 180 days, the job is considered abandoned and the permit expires and would need to be re-activated by renewing the permit and paying more permit fees.
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Is it less expensive for a homeowner to acquire the building permit?
The fees for a building permit are based on the valuation of the project and will be the same fees whether a homeowner or a contractor picks up the permit. However, a contractor may ask the homeowner to pay for his time spent at the Building Division office.

Can I get a permit for work already done?
An applicant needs to submit plans and necessary documents for the project as normal. Plans will be reviewed by different departments and once the plans are approved for work already done, the Building Division will issue an “As-Built” building permit. However, much of the work that was performed without benefit of a permit and inspections needs to comply with the current building codes, so the work may have to be exposed for the inspector to see at the site. In addition, some work may have to be certified by a licensed structural or civil engineers prior to final inspection approvals. There may be penalty fees assessed to that project in addition to the normal permit fee.

How long will it take to process my permit?
The length of time for processing a permit depends mostly on the scope of work being done. Simple walls, spas, underground gas or electric lines, patio covers, re-roofs, window replacement and such can be reviewed over-the-counter. If the project is approved a permit can be issued immediately. Other projects involving large decks, remodeling, additions may take a few weeks to review and approve depending upon the size of the improvement and/or number of corrections that may be needed on the blueprints. New construction of a home or commercial building requires extensive reviews by different divisions (Planning, Engineering, Water/Sewer, O. C. Fire Agency, Public Health, etc) and may require a longer period of time for review. Any required grading work must be done and approved by the Engineering Division prior to a building permit being issued.

How do I contact the Building Permit Department?
Building permits are issued by the Community Development: (949) 361-6100

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Building Staff

Building Staff

Customer Service Email

Susan Mathieu

Customer Liaison (949) 361-6100


Gina Borchers

Information Systems Technician (949) 361-6163




Plan Check Staff


Dave Federoff

Senior Plan Check Engineer (949) 361-6179 Email

Conrad Clouse

Plans Examiner (949) 361-6167 Email

Davis Zellner

Community Development Specialist (949) 361-8240 Email



Permit Processing Staff

Nancy Vrooman

Senior Permit Technician (949) 361-8311


Kathy Ainsworth

Permit Technician (949) 361-6165




Inspection Staff

Willie Tullius

Senior Bldg Inspector (949) 361-6168 Email

Robert Ferguson

Senior Bldg Inspector (949) 361-6147


Will Yarbrough

Building Inspector (949) 361-6148




Building Department

Mike Jorgensen

Building Official (949) 361-6170 Email

Lauren Gentle-Zents

Administrative Assistant (949) 361-6162 Email
Additional Contact Information:
Fax (949)-361-8281
Mail/Walk-In Address Building Division
910 Calle Negocio Suite 100
San Clemente, CA 92673
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General Submittal and Informational Handouts
  • Understanding the Permit Process

  • Do I need a Building Permit

  • What do you need to obtain a Permit for ...

  • Building Permit Application

  • HOA Confirmation Form

  • Common Property Line Fence Agreement

  • Garden Block Wall (if applicable)

  • Waste Management Plan

  • Pollution Prevention for Construction

  • Typical Plot Plan

  • Project Intake List

  • Building Permit Information
  • Applications

  • Building Codes & Regulations

  • FAQs

  • Building Fees

  • General Submittal Requirements

  • Inspection Requests

  • Submittal Requirements - Commercial

  • Submittal Requirements - Residential


  • Other Agencies / Associations

  • Permit Status

  • Plan Review Status

  • Solar Requirements

  • Swimming Pools and Spas

  • Video Tutorials

  • Online Permit Access
    * Request an Inspection
    * View Inspection Results
    * Check Plan Review Status
    * Review Permits associated with an Address
    * Search Business Licenses
    * Verify Contractor Status
    * Download Forms
    CLICK HERE to go to Online Permits
    * NEW Online Building Videos
    CLICK HERE to see "Overview of the Building Permit Process"



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    City of San Clemente
    City Hall | 100 Avenida Presidio, San Clemente, CA 92672 | Phone (949) 361-8200  |  FAX (949) 361-8285
    Community Development | 910 Calle Negocio, Suite 100, San Clemente, CA, 92673 | Phone (949) 361-6100  |  FAX (949) 361-8281
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