Permit Exceptions

As stated in 2019 California Building Code (CBC) Section 105.2, certain projects do not require permits:

Building Projects

  • Projects for 1-story detached accessory structures provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet (11.15 millimeters) do not require a permit. However, be sure to contact the Planning Department Counter for specific property line setback requirements at 909-864-8732 extension 258.
  • Masonry or concrete fences, NOT over 3 feet (1829 millimeters) high measured from the lowest adjacent finish grade. Wood, vinyl, or chain-link fences NOT over 6 feet (1,829 millimeters) high measured from the lowest adjacent finish grade, and are not part of an existing swimming pool barrier fence. Be advised, however that height limitations of the City of Highland’s Zoning Code are still applicable. Contact the Planning Department Counter for the defined height limitations at 909-864-8732 extension 258. 
  • Movable cases, movable counters, and partitions not over 5 feet, 9 inches (1,753 millimeters) high do not require a permit.
  • A permit is not required for retaining walls which are not over 4 feet (1,219 millimeters) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall unless supporting a surcharge, supporting a sloped backfill with a slope greater than 2:1 or impounding flammable liquids. 
  • A permit is not required for water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18,925 liters) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2 to 1.
  • A permit is not required for platforms, sidewalks, and driveways not more than 30 inches (762 millimeters) above grade and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route.
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops, and similar finish work do not require a permit. A permit is required if the project involves the removal or replacement of sinks, electrical related items, or drywall is involved. Be sure to contact the Building Department Counter for specific requirements at 909-864-8732 extension 232.
  • A permit is not required for a temporary motion picture, television, and theater stage sets and scenery.
  • A permit is not required for window awnings supported by an exterior wall of Group R, Division 3, and Group U Occupancies when projecting not more than 54 inches (1,372 millimeters) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
  • Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R, Division 3 Occupancy that are less than 18 inches deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons (18,925 liters) and are installed entirely above ground. Be sure to contact the Planning Department Counter for specific setback requirements at 909-864-8732 extension 258.
  • Decks not exceeding 120 square feet in area, that are not more than 30 inches above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling and do not serve the exit door required by Section R311.4.
  • Unless otherwise exempted, separate plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits will be required for the above exempted items.

Electrical Projects

  • A permit is not required for a project involving portable motors or other portable appliances energized by means of a cord or cable having an attachment plug end to be connected to an approved receptacle when that cord or cable is permitted by the Electrical Code.
  • A permit is not required for repair or replacement of fixed motors, transformers, or fixed approved appliances of the same type and rating in the same location.
  • A permit is not required for temporary decorative lighting. This does not include exterior commercial lighting except for short-term holiday lighting.
  • Repair or replacement of current-carrying parts of any switch, contractor, or control device does not require a permit.
  • A permit is not required for the reinstallation of attachment plug receptacles, but not the outlets therefore.
  • A permit is not required for repair or replacement of any overcurrent device of the required capacity in the same location.
  • A permit is not required for repair or replacement of electrodes or transformers of the same size and capacity for signs or gas tube systems.
  • Taping joints do not require a permit.
  • A permit is not required for the removal of electrical wiring.
  • Temporary wiring for experimental purposes in suitable experimental laboratories does not require a permit.
  • The wiring for temporary theater, motion picture, or television stage sets does not require a permit.
  • Electrical wiring, devices, appliances, apparatus, or equipment operating at less than 25 volts and not capable of supplying more than 50 watts of energy do not require a permit.
  • Low-energy power, control, and signal circuits of Class II and Class III as deemed in the Electrical Code do not require a permit.
  • A permit shall not be required for the installation, alteration or repair of electrical wiring, apparatus or equipment or the generation, transmission, distribution or metering of electrical energy or in the operation of signals or the transmission of intelligence by a public or private utility in the exercise of its function as a serving utility.

Mechanical Projects

  • A permit is not required for a portable heating appliance.
  • A permit is not required for portable ventilating equipment.
  • A permit is not required for a portable cooling unit.
  • A permit is not required for a portable evaporative cooler.
  • A permit is not required for a closed system of steam, hot, or chilled water piping within heating or cooling equipment regulated by the Mechanical Code.
  • A permit is not required for replacement of any component part of assembly of an appliance which does not alter its original approval and complies with other applicable requirements of the technical codes.
  • A permit is not required for refrigerating equipment which is part of the equipment for which a permit has been issued pursuant to the requirements of the technical codes.
  • A permit is not required for a unit refrigerating system as defined in the Mechanical Code.

Plumbing Projects

  • A permit is not required to stop leaks in drains, soil, and waste or vent pipe. However, if any concealed trap, drainpipe, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, the same shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be procured and inspection made as provided in this code.
  • A permit is not required to clear stoppages or repair leaks in pipes, valves, or fixtures. A permit is not required also for the removal and reinstallation or replacement of water closets, sinks, garbage disposals, or dishwashers provided such work does not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.

* In such cases, the work must still conform to all technical codes and applicable city, county, and state ordinances.