Frequently Asked Questions

When is a permit required?

According to the California Building Codes, no building or structure regulated by the code shall be constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished unless a separate permit for each building or structure has first been obtained. Review work that is exempt from a permit.

Please keep in mind that while some projects do not require permits, they may be governed by the Zoning Code of Elk Grove. The Zoning Code regulates items such as height and size of structures, where they can be placed on a property, how far they need to be setback from adjacent property lines as well as the use of these structures. If you need additional information regarding Zoning, please contact the City of Elk Grove Planning Department at (916) 478-2265 or please visit the web page.

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How do I apply for a permit?

You can apply for a permit electronically as the City of Elk Grove is going paperless. Permit applications are available on-line, just click the Forms & Handouts page. You can submit for a permit on our website as well, just click Plan Review and Permits. On that page you can find two places to submit your application. The City of Elk Grove has an online portal for permits that are considered over the counter or you can utilize the Electronic plan review drop box for bigger submittals. You can also apply for a permit in person at the City of Elk Grove Building Department for minor over the counter permits.

While the City of Elk Grove office is open until 5:00pm, we strongly recommend arriving 30 minutes prior to closing time to allow adequate time to process your permit or take in your plan submittal. If you are unable to arrive by 4:30pm, we are open promptly at 8am daily Monday through Friday for your convenience.

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Can I obtain a permit over the counter?

Yes; over the counter permits are permits that are issued immediately upon permit application submittal and approval. These types of permits include but are not limited to;

  • Re-roofing (non-tile only)
  • Water Heater replacements
  • Furnace and/or Air Conditioning replacements
  • Electrical service upgrades (residential only)
  • Vinyl Siding/Stucco
  • Replacement of Sewer lines and/or water lines
  • Water softening equipment
  • Attached patio covers
  • Swimming pools
  • Window retrofit changeouts
  • Miscellaneous plumbing repairs
  • Miscellaneous electrical repairs

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Can permits be obtained online?

Yes; permits are available online. The City of Elk Grove permit application can be obtained through the City’s website, please visit the Forms & Handouts page. The application collects information such as the job address, owner information, contractor information, scope of work and the cost of performing the permitted work. Completing an application prior to submitting for a permit is highly recommended.

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What type of information and documentation is required for permits that require a plan review and how long does it take to get plans reviewed?

The City of Elk Grove has developed an Electronic Plan Review program. All projects that require a plan review can be submitted electronically. Several handouts regarding plans submittals are available on our website, please visit the Forms & Handouts page for project specific requirements and plan review timelines.

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How will I know when my plan review is complete?

You will be contacted by staff through email when your plan check has been completed. If your plans have been approved, you will be provided with information and instruction on making payment and receiving your approved documents and permit. If your plans have plan review comments you will be notified through email explaining that you have plan review comments and that your plans require additional information. The mail will contain the redlined plans, plan review comments, and a list of requirements that may be necessary for the issuance of the permit.

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Once my permit has been issued, how do I schedule an inspection?

Inspection requests can be made 24 hours a day by phone on our inspection appointment line. Inspection appointments may be called in as late as 5am the morning of the requested inspection date by calling the inspection appointment line at (916) 478-2225. Our message will guide you through the information we will need in order to complete your inspection request. You are also welcome to call the building department main line at least 24 hours prior to the required inspection date. Please note that the cutoff time for calling an inspection in to the office is 5pm. The building department main line is (916) 478-2235.

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Will my permit expire?

Yes, under certain conditions. An application for a building permit is valid for 180 days (approximately 6 months). Once issued, a Building Permit is valid for one (1) year when no inspection has been performed or extended for 180 days with the first approved inspection, whichever comes first.

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Who is responsible for making sure that the proper inspections are performed?

The property owner or permit holder is ultimately responsible for ensuring that inspections are performed. Some contractors will arrange the inspections for the homeowner. If you are using a contractor, consult with your contractor to clarify who will be scheduling the inspections.

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How do I get my project finalized?

When all inspections have been completed and signed off, please schedule a final inspection. If the final inspection is approved, the inspector will sign off or “final” the permit card. Keep the permit card and any documents or plans related to the project in a safe place. If you sell or refinance your home, you will be able to demonstrate that permits were obtained, inspections were performed and that the project was given a final inspection.

It’s always best to discuss these steps with your inspector prior to covering any work. When your project is substantially completed and all sub-category inspections are satisfied, you can schedule a final inspection. If approval is granted the Inspector will finalize your permit as complete. For new Commercial or Residential buildings and other structures, separate department approvals may be required. For example: Planning, Public Works or Engineering.

Additionally; some permit categories require outside agency approval. For example, Health Department and CSD Fire. When all approvals are verified by the City Inspector a Certificate of Occupancy may be issued.

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How do I get information regarding licensed contractors?

The State of California Contractors Licensing Board licenses and regulates contractors in 47 classifications that constitute the construction industry throughout the State of California. You may visit their web site at for more information. Always confirm that you are contracting with a contractor who is licensed and in good standing with the California State License Board. It is common to ask contractors for their license number and references. Also make sure that anyone working on your property is covered by Worker’s Compensation Insurance as indicated in the CSLB website.

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Do I have to hire a contractor, or can I perform the work myself?

You can perform the work yourself and/or use sub-contractors do the work. If you choose to do the work yourself, you will be asked to complete and sign an Owner-Builder Verification Form. Please click on the link or visit our Forms Handouts Page for a copy.

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Do I need an architect or engineer to prepare my plans?

Plans for projects such as room additions and small remodels can usually be drawn up by a draftsman or residential design professional. The California Building Code and the Business and Professionals code 5537 & 6737.3 does design documents to be prepared under the direct supervision of a licensed design professional. The plans shall also be sealed and signed by the respective designer along with the license number, signature and expiration. Using a qualified professional is highly recommended. If you wish to find out more you may visit the City of Elk Grove Forms & Handouts page.

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How may I get more information?

For more information please call (916) 478-2235 or email [email protected]. Our Building Division staff of Permit Technicians, Plans Examiners and Building Inspectors will be happy to assist you.

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