applying building permit by yourself

8 Replies

I am planning on getting a building permit myself for a conversion I am planning on doing. From a living room to a studio apartment with bathroom and kitchen. Just wondering anyone had experience about apply building permit by themselves. I would love to hear more about it, such as what plans you submitted and so on.

Don't do it yourself.  You'll regret it.  Find a good contractor, highly recommended by fellow RE investors in your area.  Ask the investors if they would advise doing the work with or without permits.  Yes, I know the former is the right way to go, but sometimes it is more trouble than it is worth.  All depends on your municipality. 

I think it depends on where you are located.  I would suggest just going to the building department and talk to them about their needs.  I ended up doing plans myself for a renovation and all was fine -- but I had an ally at the building department and some experience in design/construction so that helped a bit.  I did have my electrician do an electrical plan overlay for the electrical in the kitchen, so that is one factor.

I will also say that there are crazy energy regulations in place in CA that can impact the electrical and HVAC.  If you need to do HVAC in particular you will need to hire someone outside regardless. 

So depending on your experience level may just be better to hire someone for plans!

 A couple of issues.....

No one knows where you are, all cities/counties are different.

Your zoning may not allow for a second unit, which this would be.

Owner issued permits are usually only for owner occupants, not for rental units.

First step, go down to your local zoning/building dept and see if this would be allowed.  If so, they’ll guide you on the possibilities of how you could do it.  Typically, plans stamped by an engineer or architect are required.

Hi @Kitty Tan , I've done it myself multiple times. However, I have a background in design. 

I've worked with 2 other investor friends this year who have permitted ADUs. They both needed full sets of drawings, including engineering. At that point, it was just easier for them to have their contractor pull the permit. Unless you yourself can do design drawings, you will basically be acting as a plan runner just visiting the city, and being the "middle person" could slow down the process. Hope that helps!

Thank you Lee and Stephanie for your information. I did all the drawings myself. And after I went to the building and safety office twice and some plan alterations, I got the building permit. 

@Kitty Tan

Are you planning to be your own general contractor?

Don't forget the in progress inspections by Building and Safety, and get it final and Certificate of Occupancy when it is done. Good luck.