Building Permits

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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 this code, or to cause any such work to be performed, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit. 

A Building Permit is required unless it is expressly exempted by the California Building Code. 

The list of exemptions can be found in Chapter 1, Section 105 Permits, of the California Building Code. Please do not start a project until you know your permitting obligations. Only properly licensed contractors or owner-builders may obtain building permits. A single building permit application may be filed for all work on a project, including building, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing. A separate permit will be created for each separate building on a given property, unless a staff member has considered the project and determined that a single permit is appropriate.

Summary of Process via Flow Chart for In-Person and Emailed Submittals (Application thru Inspection)

Before You Apply 

Planning Entitlements (if applicable)- Complete the discretionary review process (if required) prior to applying for the Building Permit. Entitlements must be approved unless concurrent review is pre-arranged and approved by the Chief Building Official. (e.g., Design Review, Conditional Use Permit, Sign, etc.) To find out if this is required, email [email protected]

Questions regarding building application submittal – If you have question and need to contact the Building Division about your submittal, email [email protected] or telephone (707) 543-3200. Staff may recommend an in-person appointment.

You can make an in-person appointment to meet with City staff to get answers to your questions and discuss your project before you submit any forms by calling the appointment request line 707-543-4623 or go online to QLESS to make an appointment.

How to Obtain a Building Permit

Step 1 - Prepare Application Forms

The below is the minimum required. Staff may request additional documentation for submittal as required to demonstrate the scope of work per the California Building Code.


Other items that may be required include:

Step 2 - Assemble Project Information

The checklists below were prepared to assist you with a correct and complete submittal. Staff may request additional documentation as required during review. Please see your project type. Not all permit types are represented here. If your project type is not here, and you are unsure of the submittal requirements, please contact the Building Division at (707) 543-3200 or [email protected]. (Number of plans sets required on these lists are for paper submittals).



Additional Information:

  • General Information - Go online here to view our building policies, procedures, project examples, brochures and more.
  • Resilient City Fire Rebuild – Go online here to view our rebuilding document library and access much more!
  • Water Demand Offset - Go here to learn about the requirements for complying with the Water Demand Offset Policy.

Step 3 – Submit Application

Once all necessary forms, documents, and plan set components have been compiled, you are ready to submit.

  • Electronic applications may be submitted, in .pdf format via email to [email protected]. A City of Santa Rosa employee will contact you regarding your fee payment when required. Do not combine different forms into a single PDF file. Provide all plans as a complete, collated, plan set (in one PDF file.) Only one set is required for electronic submittals. A link to a shared file is acceptable (e.g. Dropbox, WeTransfer, etc.).
  • Physical (paper) applications may also be submitted in person at City Hall (100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Room 3) by appointment only. Please visit Qless or call (707) 543-4623 to schedule an appointment. A minimum of three (3) plan sets are required, plus additional when required per the checklist above. Two (2) sets of supplemental documents are required (as applicable; e.g., structural calculations, energy calculations, soils report, etc.).
  • Limited permit types are available to be applied for online using the Citizens Portal:
    • Residential Addition/Alteration Projects needing plan review: Applications and plans may be submitted through the online Citizens Portal using the Digital Plan Room. This allows you to respond to plan check comments, pay fees, and received stamped approved plans online. Information about the Digital Plan Room and how to use its feature can be viewed online here.
    • Simple Trade Permits, Residential and Non-Residential, including but not limited to: main panel replacements, water heater replacements, HVAC units, Reroofs, etc. These permits (except for non-residential reroofs) can be auto issued only to account holders who are appropriately licensed through the California State Licensing Board (CSLB) and have a current Business Tax Certificate with the City of Santa Rosa. 

The City has an adopted fee schedule which is subject to revisions on January 1 and July 1 of each year. Please determine your application fees by viewing the Fee Schedule and be prepared to make the necessary payment following application submittal.


Once the building plans are reviewed and approved, applicants will be contacted with instruction on how to pay all remaining fees (view instructions on how to pay here), and sign additional documents required at time of issuance (e.g., Worker’s Compensation Declaration Form(s)). Contractors working in the city limits are required to have an active City of Santa Rosa Business License. Some projects have conditions of approval that must be satisfied prior to issuance of the building permit (e.g., encroachment permit, right-of-way dedications, etc). Please complete all required conditions of approval and pay all fees prior to notifying the City team that you are ready for issuance.

Applications issued in paper will require an in-person appointment for pick-up/issuance. Applications issued electronically will be provided by email or a shared file (size dependent).