Building Permits

Apply for a Commercial Permit

Building Permits

Apply for a Pool Permit

Building Permit

Apply for a Residential Permit

Building permits are generally required for most types of construction. The Building Code states no building or structure regulated by this code shall be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished unless a separate permit for each building or structure has been obtained from the building official.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Do I Need a Permit?

Building permits are required whenever a structure is erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished.


Projects that require a permit:

  • Air Conditioner or Water Heater Installations
  • All Electrical Work
  • All Plumbing Work
  • Alterations/Remodeling
  • Covered Patios
  • Decks over 30 inches high
  • Demolition of existing buildings or portions of
  • Detached Structures more than 120 sq. ft.
  • Fences more than 6 feet in height
  • Furnace
  • New Home Construction
  • Permanently Affixed or Free-Standing Signs
  • Re-roof
  • Retaining Walls over 4 feet high from bottom of footing to top of wall
  • Room Additions
  • Sewer
  • Siding
  • Solar Units
  • Swimming Pools & Spas
  • Termite Repair/Dry Rot

When Don't I Need A Permit?

  • Above-Ground pools less than eighteen (24”) inches in depth that do not exceed five-thousand (5000) gallons
  • Cabinet Replacement
  • Concrete Walkways and Patios that are not part of an accessible route
  • Detached/portable sheds, playhouses or similar structures that do not exceed one-hundred and twenty (120) square feet in size (must comply with zoning requirements for setbacks and height. The exemption does not include patio covers)
  • Floor Coverings
  • Movable Cases, Counters and Partitions under five feet (5') in height provided they are not part of an accessible counter
  • Painting/Wallpapering interior spaces (Painting of Exterior Surfaces may require planning approval)
  • Retaining Walls that do not support a surcharge or liquid that are four feet (4') or less in height from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall
  • Window Coverings

Be sure to check with the Building Division prior to beginning your project if you are not sure about permit requirements and exemptions.

The permit exceptions listed do not exempt a person performing construction activity from Homeowners Association Requirements, City Zoning and/or Grading Requirements or other ordinances or regulations of the jurisdiction.

Why Do I Need a Permit?

Permits serve to protect health and general welfare, as well as to protect your investment in your property and to help obtain financing from lending agencies. Permits are required by State law to control the codes, laws and ordinances adopted by the City of Lincoln. These regulations have been enacted by the State of California and your City Council after careful consideration.

Fire and liability insurance damages may not be paid in some cases where permits were not obtained and improvements do not meet regulations.

How Much Do Permits Cost?

There is no single fee for the various permits. Fees are based on the valuation of the project and the number of plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems. The building and planning plan check fee will be collected at the time the plans and documents for the structure are submitted for plan check. The permit fees will be collected at the time the permits are issued.  For more information on fees view the Building Permit Fees.

Who Can Obtain a Permit?

A permit will be issued to the property owner, licensed contractor or a certified agent of the property owner.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Permit?

Small projects can sometimes be handled and a permit issued over the counter (water heaters, re-roofs, etc.).

Larger projects need to have plans submitted for plan check, some of these may be complete within two weeks, and more complex projects will take longer.

What is Plan Checking?

Plan checking is required to determine the compliance of the drawings and specifications prior to the issuance of a construction permit. It assures you that to the best of our ability your plans meet the codes and ordinances. Major projects and projects that require engineered calculations must be submitted to the City for review. Very minor projects may be reviewed over the counter if time permits.

Can I Do the Work Myself?

Property owners may do the work on their own residence, with few exceptions.

What if I Use a Contractor?

The contractor must

  • possess a current City of Lincoln business license
  • have current workman's compensation
  • must be bonded
  • all subcontractors must have City of Lincoln business licenses and be bonded.

How Do I Verify a Contractor is licensed?

You can verify a contractor's license by calling the Contractors State License Board at 1-800- 321-2752 or go to the Contractors State Licensing Board's Website

What Are Zoning & Setback Requirements?

The City has different zone areas, so please consult the Planning Division for the lot setbacks required in your area.

How Do I Get An Inspection?

It is the duty of the person doing the work to schedule Building Inspections. Inspections are required:

  • prior to placing concrete or grout in masonry
  • before electrical
  • mechanical or plumbing is covered
  • before interior walls or floor framing are covered
  • before taping of drywall
  • before stucco is applied
  • prior to the connecting of gas lines
  • electrical, water and sewer services

Other inspections may be required depending on the complexity of your project.

What Happens If I Build Without a Permit?

If you begin construction without the required permits, a “Stop Work Order” will immediately be issued by an Inspector. You will then be required to apply for the permits and pay additional fees.

If approved, a permit will be issued and you may be required to uncover any work that has not been inspected. In some case, regulations and codes may not permit the type of construction that has been done. In this case, you may be required to replace or restore the area to its original condition prior to construction.

What If I Have a Permit But Never Called for Inspections?

Your permit will expire after one year. Before the year is up you may apply for 180-day extension, stating your reasons for the extension. If your permit expires with no extension, and there has been no final inspection you are in violation of the code and additional fees will be assessed to restore your permit. Contact the Building Division for more information.

What Are the Design Criteria for this Area?

  • Seismic Design Category “D”
  • Exposure “B”
  • Soils capacity of 1,500 psf
  • No frost line or snow load
  • 85 MPH Basic Wind Speed
  • 2.5” per hour max. rain fall
  • Climate Zone 11
  • Roof live load of 20 psf

What Rooms Can I Convert or Use as Bedrooms?

The California Residential Building Code states that each habitable room must have an area of not less than 70 sf. and there shall be no habitable room with dimensions of less than 7'0” in any dimension other than kitchens.

The conversion of a garage into living space is strictly prohibited. Any of the following

alterations constitute a garage conversion:

  • installation of carpeting
  • placement of beds or couches
  • electrical and/or plumbing additions
  • structural changes such as a false garage door or wall

Not only is a garage conversion a violation of the Lincoln Municipal Code, it is a violation of the California Residential Code, Fire Department Regulations. The same holds true for any type of rear yard shed that has been converted to a habitable room. In some cases, the shed itself may be illegal.


Contact Underground Service Alert (U.S.A.) before you dig.

Call 811 or 800-642-2444

Still Have Questions?

You are welcomed and encouraged to email the Community Development Department or by calling (916) 434-2470, Monday-Thursday, between 9am - 3pm or Friday, between 12pm - 3pm.


Please keep in mind that these codes change occasionally. Check with the City for the most current information. Currently, 2019 California Code of Regulations Title 24.