Building Permits

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City ordinances and California state statutes require that building permits be issued, prior to the start of any work.

The California Building Standards Code (Cal. Code Regs., Title 24) require any owner or owner’s authorized agent who intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by the applicable codes, or to cause any such work to be performed, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit.

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 California Building Standards Code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction. Permits shall not be required for the following:

  • Cosmetic Work such as painting, papering, replacing floor coverings, trim work, and similar finish work not regulated in the California Building Standards Code.

    Note: Approval from the Planning Division may be required for exterior painting depending on the zoning district of the property. Contact a planner at the Permit Center or (707) 647-4336 for more information.

  • Fences not exceeding 6 feet in height; not of masonry, concrete or similar materials of construction.

    Note: Contact Planning Division for zoning and setback requirements for any fence. Contact a planner at the Permit Center or (707) 647-4348 for more information.

  • One-story detached accessory structures (e.g. tool and storage sheds) that do not exceed 120 square feet of floor area, and do not have any utilities connected (e.g. plumbing, electrical, mechanical, etc.) and shall not be used for any living or sleeping occupancy.

    Note: Approval from the Planning Division may be required depending on the location and height of the accessory structure. Contact a planner at the Permit Center or (707) 647-4336 for more information.

  • Walks and driveways not over a basement or story below, less than 30 inches above the adjacent grade, and not part of a disabled accessible route or parking lot.

    Note: Repair or replacement of public sidewalks or driveway curb cuts requires review and approval by the Public Works Department. Contact an engineer at (707) 647-4558 for more information.

  • Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet 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. Additionally, when no other structure is attached to, or is dependent upon the support, by the retaining wall.

    Note: The City of American Canyon does not allow wood retaining walls.

  • Prefabricated swimming pools at a single-family house or duplex meeting all of the following criteria:
    • Installed on a single family or duplex property,
    • Is less than 24 inches deep,
    • Is entirely above ground, and
    • Does not exceed 5,000 gallons.

      Note: If the max capacity of the water level is over 18 inches in depth, a protective barrier is required. Please refer to the City of American Canyon municipal code, and Building Standards Code, and applicable California state laws. Contact a Building Inspector at the Permit Center or (707) 647-4339 for more information.

  • Swings and other playground equipment accessory to a detached one- or two-family dwelling.
  • Window awnings attached to single-family homes and duplexes that are supported by an exterior wall, do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall, and do not require additional support.

City ordinances and state statutes require building permits. If you do not get a building permit when it is required, the city can legally fine you for the violation. Projects not done according to code may affect your home's insurability and potential future sale. Property owners and prospective buyers can check the city's building records….Public Records Request

Work that has commenced or that was completed without first obtaining required permits is a violation of the State Building Code and is considered unlawfully constructed work. There are no statutes of limitation on unpermitted work. Change of ownership does not make unpermitted work legal. If any work was done illegally in the past or without valid permits, the passage of time or a change in ownership does not absolve the current owner of the responsibility to correct the illegal construction.

In order to legalize the work, one must comply with the current codes regardless when the un-permitted work was done.

If you discover that you have un-permitted work on your property you will need to submit a building permit application which shall include a set of complete and adequate construction documents / plans for the work. A homeowner, their authorized agent and contractors licensed by the State of California can obtain building permits. It is recommended that a licensed contractor conduct work on your project. You can research information on any contractor by logging onto the Contractors Licensing Board's Website or you may contact them at (800) 321-CSLB (2752).

Building permits must be applied for at the Community Development Department offices.

If you are applying for a residential building permit, you may print out and complete the Building Permit Application.

If you have project specific questions or you would like additional information, you can call (707) 647-4581, or visit our office. 

Building Permit Submittal Requirements