“We don’t need no stinkin’ permit”

The word “permit” strikes terror in San Francisco homeowners, home sellers, and DIY landlords.

“What will a permit cost?”  “Will the inspector find a violation and fine me?”  “How long will it hold up my project?”

Such scary thoughts quickly lead to fantasy thoughts, such as: “Surely that doesn’t require a permit.”  “How would they know?”  “I bet the handyman could do that for cheap… and quietly.”

Well… number one: don’t take the chance.  But, number two: not everything needs a permit!

Here are 12 San Francisco Home Projects That Do Not Require A Building Permit:

  1. One­­­­­­ story detached accessory buildings such as sheds, workshops, and playhouses which have roof areas that do not exceed 100 sq. ft.
  2. Plastic, metal or wood fences no higher than 6 ft. that are located at the rear and side property line.
  3. Mobile cases, cabinets or partitions not over 5 ft. 9 in. in height. (kitchen cabinets do)
  4. Retaining walls not over 4 ft. in high from the top of the wall to the bottom of the footing. (not supporting weight). For example: terraced garden.
  5. Fences not over 3 ft. along the front of a lot.
  6. Re-roofing without the installation, repair or removal of roof sheathing, if the surface area of the roof being worked on does not exceed 25% of the entire surface area of the roof.
  7. Installations and replacements of floor covering not requiring the removal of floor sheathing, except bathrooms and water closets.
  8. Replacement of doors, except garage doors in all occupancy provided they are not required to be fire resistant assemblies.
  9. Platforms or walkway when not supporting part of an exit and not more than 30 in. above grade.
  10. No more than 200 sq. ft. of paving or ground cover (areas over 200 sq. ft. require a plumbing permit)
  11. Minor repairs to existing interior plaster when not part of a fire resistant assembly.
  12. Interior and exterior painting when not affecting a structural integrity of the building.