Can I get started on the project before I actually obtain my permit?

In general, a project must be approved and the permit issued before the actual work can begin. The California Building Code does allow an exception for emergency work if City Hall is closed when the event occurs. This is applicable only if the emergency is of such a nature that repairs must be initiated or life and/or property would be threatened. A permit for such work shall be applied for on the next business day.

We will issue a demolition permit in certain cases. Usually, it is issued for specific structural exploratory work, where certain elements need to be exposed to determine the level of repair or reconstruction necessary, for inclusion into the submitted plans. Another situation is the demolition of an entire structure, which is often allowed before the permit for the replacement structure is approved and ready to issue.

If you have a particular situation where you feel demolition might be appropriate before the project is actually approved, it will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please be advised, however, that these cases are the exception rather than the rule. The multitude of factors and departments that are often involved in an alteration often preclude anything but specific, monitored areas of demolition.

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1. My neighbor's construction project is making a lot of noise - what is allowed?
2. Do I need a building permit?
3. What are the dangers of mold and mildew and whom do I call if I encounter this problem?
4. It seems like almost anything I improve, repair, or replace on my property requires a permit. Why is this?
5. OK, I think I’m ready to apply for a permit. What information does the City need to begin the process?
6. How long will it take before I can get my permit?
7. Can I get started on the project before I actually obtain my permit?
8. What are these additional charges that don’t seem relevant to the scope of my project? What is a Road Impact Fee? Drainage Fee?
9. Does my project need to be completed within a certain time?
10. I’m thinking about renting, purchasing, or renovating a commercial proper. What do I need to be aware of in regards to City requirements?
11. How far in advance do story poles have to be put up? How long do they stay up?
12. I don’t understand how getting a permit for my project will actually benefit me; it just costs me money. What happens if I just do the work, and don’t bother with a permit?
13. I’m a property owner and I'd like to get a copy of the original set of building plans for my house. Do I still need approval of the design professional?
14. Why should pools be maintained and what should I do if I know of someone with a pool that is not being maintained?
15. I’m a new business owner and will be replacing the old sign with my new name. Do I still need a sign permit?
16. What days are no-construction work days?
17. I’m considering a home improvement/repair project, and I’m not sure where to start. What’s my first step?
18. Is there any way to expedite my approval, especially if it is a small project?
19. What do I do if I own or know of a vacant, unsecured substandard structure?
20. How does the inspection process work?
21. How do I report a code violation?
22. I can’t decide whether to hire a licensed contractor, or be my own contractor and manage the project myself to save money. What are the pros and cons of each?
23. RBR (re-sale) inspection - If unpermitted work or expired permits are discovered, what do I do?
24. How much will my building permit cost?
25. I am concerned about hoarding – what do I do?