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The Building Services Division administers and implements the City’s Building, Health and Safety Codes primarily by reviewing development plans and issuing building permits. City staff will answer questions, take in plans for initial review, and assess any building permit fees once those are determined. The initial review will also determine the types of permits that might be required based on project scope and location. If your project requires more than one permit or requires broader Planning or Engineering review and considerations, then click here for more information: Construction & Development Services.
- Building Services Division Forms & Handouts
- Current Building Codes
The City of Solana Beach has adopted the following State of California building codes for all construction and remodeling. See SBMC Title 15 or amendments.
- 2022 California Building Code
- 2022 California Residential Code
- 2022 California Plumbing Code
- 2022 California Mechanical Code
- 2022 California Electrical Code
- 2022 California Energy Code
- 2022 California Green Building Code
- 2022 California Fire Code
The Uniform Administrative Code, 2022 Edition, copyrighted by the International Conference of Building Officials, applies to the above California Codes.
These Codes and local amendments were adopted by the City of Solana Beach and are effective January 1, 2023.
- Solar Photovoltaic Systems & EV Chargers
Do You Need a Permit?
Any owner or owner's authorized agent who intends to repair, add to, alter, relocate, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or to repair, install, add, alter, remove, convert, or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by the Solana Beach Municipal Code, or to cause any such work to be performed, shall first make application to the code official and obtain the required permit.
Building Permit Application Process
If you have any questions about this process, please do not hesitate to contact our Staff directly for clarification.
- Step 1: Application Submittal & Initial Planning Review
- For any building, electrical, plumbing or mechanical projects, please submit a completed Building Services Permit Application and project plans electronically to Counter@cosb.org. Depending on the scope of work, the application and plans will be routed to the Planning Department for initial planning review. Plans should be no larger than 24 x 36.
- If your application is incomplete, the Planner will send corrections and it is the applicant’s responsibility to resubmit corrected plans for another round of review.
- Once initial planning review has been approved, the building permit technician will provide the applicant with plan check submittal instructions.
- The entire jurisdiction of Solana Beach is within the Coastal Zone and all development applications within the City of Solana Beach must obtain approval from the California Coastal Commission (CCC). Coastal Development Permits (CDP), waivers and/or exemptions are reviewed and approved by CCC, not the City of Solana Beach. It is the applicants responsibility to provide the City with the CCC approval letter. If you have questions about the CDP process or requirements, please email SanDiegoCoast@coastal.ca.gov or visit their website.
- If your property is located on a Coastal bluff: The initial planning review (Step 1) will not be approved until the CCC approval letter is submitted to the City for review.
- If your property is not on the bluff: Please confirm with Planning Staff if CCC approval is required. If CCC approval is required, you will need submit the CCC approval letter prior to building permit issuance. We recommend that you submit to CCC once the initial planning review has been approved.
- For single trade permits such as Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical, or Reroof permits: Some single trade permits do not require CCC approval. Please submit your building permit application to the City to confirm if CCC approval will be required.
- Step 2: Plan Check
- Plan check typically requires submitting three to four hard copy plans, two sets of any supporting documents, and payment for plan check.
- During plan check, the plans will be reviewed by Planning, Engineering (Public Works Department), Fire Prevention, and Building Services Division.
- The building code review and inspections are managed by Interwest, an independent firm that provides plan check services to the City of Solana Beach.
- The building permit technician will work with the applicant to assist with the plan check resubmittal and permit issuance process.
- Step 3: Building Permit Issuance & Fee Payment
- After plan review is complete, your application and plans will be reviewed and processed for issuance.
- The Contractor on file will need a valid California State License and City of Solana Beach Business Certificate prior to permit issuance.
- Depending on the scope of work, other documents may be needed prior to issuance from SDG&E, San Diego County Department of Environmental Health, California Coastal Commission, Water/ School Districts, etc.
- Final fees will then be calculated.
- Once all pending items are complete, an invoice for the balance due will be sent to the applicant. The property owner or contractor may then request an appointment for payment and issuance.
- Step 4: Construction Inspection
- Once your permit is issued, you may start work.
- To request for a building inspection, please call (858) 720-4455. As long as you call before 4:00 PM, your inspection will be scheduled for the next business day. Should you need confirmation or a 2-hour window, please call (858) 720-4451.
- Each state of work must be left exposed for inspection and must be approved before covering or closing.
- Depending on your scope of work, inspections from other departments may be required. They will be indicated on your inspection job card provided at issuance.
- Step 5: Final Inspection & Approval
- When the job in complete, the Building Inspector will sign off the building permit Inspection Card with a Building Final Inspection. The inspector will not sign off until all other pending inspections are complete.
- The City of Solana Beach does not issue Certificates of Final Completion and Occupancy. The Inspection Card serves as the Certificate of Occupancy when the inspector has approved and signed the final building inspections.
When is a Permit NOT Required?
Exemptions from permit requirements shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of State or City building codes or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction. Permits shall not be required for the following:
- One single-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area is not greater than 120 square feet (11 m2).
- Fences not over 6 feet (2134 mm) high
- Oil derricks.
- Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet (1219 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II or IIIA liquids.
- Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity is not greater than 5,000 gallons (18 925 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width is not greater than 2:1.
- Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route.
- Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
- Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.
- Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy that are less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep, are not greater than 5,000 gallons (18 925 L) and are installed entirely above ground.
- Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems.
- Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one- and two-family dwellings.
- Window awnings in Group R-3 and U occupancies, supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
- Nonfixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches (1753 mm) in height.
- Repairs and maintenance: Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.
- Radio and television transmitting stations: The provisions of this code shall not apply to electrical equipment used for radio and television transmissions, but do apply to equipment and wiring for a power supply and the installations of towers and antennas.
- Temporary testing systems: A permit shall not be required for the installation of any temporary system required for the testing or servicing of electrical equipment or apparatus.
- Portable heating appliance.
- Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.
- Portable heating appliance.
- Portable ventilation equipment.
- Portable cooling unit.
- Steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code.
- Replacement of any part that does not alter its approval or make it unsafe.
- Portable evaporative cooler.
- Self-contained refrigeration system containing 10 pounds (4.54 kg) or less of refrigerant and actuated by motors of 1 horsepower (0.75 kW) or less.
- The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe, provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drain pipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, such work shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in this code.
- The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures and the removal and reinstallation of water closets, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.
- Emergency Repairs
- Where equipment replacements and repairs must be performed in an emergency situation, the permit application shall be submitted within the next working business day to the building official.
- Application or notice to the building official is not required for ordinary repairs to structures, replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles. Such repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load-bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.