Do I Need A Permit?

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The answer is yes, in California, you more than likely do need a permit. A better question to ask is what doesn’t require a permit, outlined below. Whether or not you need a permit, we are here to help you navigate the process.

Some types of repairs are exempt, and some aren't.

A common statement heard at the counter after one has received a Stop Work notice is: “I was only doing repairs, and my contractor told me repairs don’t require a permit.” While we are sure that your contractor means well, he many not know Monrovia's code. It is always better to check with us before you being work. The following sections regarding repairs are taken straight from the code to clear up any confusion.

 (Warning: Boring Building Code language follows!)

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.

Ordinary Repairs 

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
  • The removal or change of any required means of egress
  • 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
  • Gas, Soil, Waste, vent or similar piping
  • Electric wiring
  • Mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.

In plain English instead of code speak, this means your repairs might very well require a permit.

Outside of repairs, the following types of work do not require a permit:


  • One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet. (note: any associated electrical, plumbing or mechanical work does require a permit.)
  • Decks not exceeding 200 square feet in area, that are not more than 30 inches above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling and do not serve the required exit door. (Note: Contact the Fire Department regarding decks in the high fire zone.)
  • Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route. (Note: Contact the Public Services division regarding any work in the public right of way.)
  • Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons and are installed entirely above ground.


  • Listed cord-and-plug connected temporary decorative lighting.
  • Reinstallation of attachment plugs receptacles but not the outlets themselves.
  • Replacement of branch circuit overcurrent devices (fancy terms for breakers) of the required capacity in the same location.
  • Electrical wiring, devices, appliances, apparatus or equipment operating at less than 25 volts and not capable of supplying more than 50 watts of energy (i.e. low voltage computer equipment)


  • The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe. If any concealed trap, drainpipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipes become defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with the new material, such work shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in the code.
  • The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures and the removal and reinstallation of water closets (fancy term for toilets), provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.


  • Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.