What Home Remodeling Requires a Permit in Mountain View, California?

Stepping off into a remodel or addition to your home can be an exciting adventure.  But, it can also be a minefield waiting for a misstep.  One of the first considerations any homeowner needs to make is whether their home remodeling project requires a permit from the local building codes administration.  Living in Mountain View, California, does require you to have a permit to perform certain kinds of work.

What home remodeling requires a permit in Mountain View, California? Mountain View, California, requires a building permit for:

  • Water heater replacement
  • Reroofing
  • recessed lighting
  • repiping a well
  • Kitchen,
  • bathroom
  • laundry new A/C
  • new gas pipe
  • removal or alteration of a building

If you are remodeling or altering your single-family home or duplex, you will need a permit for the listed additions or renovations to your home.  Mountain View California has several different types of permits that can be obtained online.  Figuring out which permit you need and what other Mountain View building services may be required can be daunting.  Hopefully, the information here can help guide you.

Mountain View, California, Permit Types

The building and codes department of Mountain View, California, issues three types of building permits for single-family and duplex remodeling.  The type of work determines which permit you need.  In general, the permits break down as:

Simple Permits

Simple permits cover many repairs that homeowners perform themselves or who subcontract a portion of the repair.  Some of the types of repairs and renovations that can be done with a simple permit are:

  • Water heater replacement or repair
  • Reroofing your home
  • The installation of new recessed lighting fixtures
  • Repiping your water or sewer service

Typically, projects completed with a simple permit don’t require drafted plans to be submitted with the permit application.

Remodel Permits

If you are planning an addition to your home or a major remodel of certain areas of the structure, a remodel permit may be required.  The scope of such projects usually involves hiring a contractor who may or may not hire several subcontractors.  Typically, such a project requires multiple inspections for work done by plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and HVAC technicians.

If you are planning one of the following major home remodeling projects, you will probably need a home remodel permit.

  • Any remodel that involves changing or adding electrical service, water service, sewer service, or HVAC to any area of your home may require a home remodel permit. These projects can include
    • Kitchen remodel projects
    • Bathroom remodel projects
    • Laundry remodel projects
    • Installing a new HVAC system
    • Repairing or installing a new gas service pipeline to your home
  • If you are hiring a contractor to do the work, more than likely, you will need a home remodel permit. Before you sign any contracts, you should discuss who is responsible for pulling the permits for the work.
  • The work you are planning may or may not require drafted plans to be submitted with the permit application. You can check with the building permit office for the exact requirements for submitting drafted plans.

Demolition permits

Demolition permits are required if you intend to demolish a residential structure in Mountain View, California. This is usually a project that is beyond the scope of most homeowners and requires a licensed demolition contractor.

A demolition job requires the filing of several reports such as

  • A permit application
  • Letters from the environmental control authorities
  • Letters from utility companies
  • Plans for truck routing from the job site to the dump lo
  • A letter from the demolition company
  • A letter showing PCB removal compliance

The list of requirements that must be submitted with the demolition permit application is somewhat overwhelming.  A demolition company will have the experience and background to meet the compliance requirements and an understanding of the process, which can be a confusing labyrinth of forms, laws, and agencies for the average homeowner.

Other Requirements That May Affect your Project

There are many laws, regulations, and codes that govern remodeling work in Mountain View, California.  These are local ordinances and state laws that can add time, effort, and costs to your project.   You should be aware of these other conditions that can affect the permitting of your project.

  • The fire department must review any permit applications on homes that exceed 4100 square feet. Check with the permit department for instructions on how to submit your permit application and any drawings to the fire department for review.
  • If the work for which you are pulling a permit is valued at more than $1,000, the State of California requires you to install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home as part of your building project. The installation will probably need to be inspected.
  • Permit costs are determined based on the project. Your estimated value of the project, the dimensions of any additions to the home, and any additional inspections that may be required all factor into the cost of the permit.
  • Every permit that is issued must have at least one inspection. This can occur when the work is completed.  However, if there is work performed that requires other permits such as electrical work, plumbing work, or structural changes, each portion of this work may require a separate inspection.

Acting as the Contractor

California law and Mountain View ordinances both allow a homeowner to act as the contractor for any work that is planned to their single-family home or duplex.  However, there are some things to consider if you want to act as your own contractor for your project.


When you sign off to act as your own contractor, you are assuming all of the liability for the work that is to be performed on your home, as well as any liability associated with hiring laborers or sub-contractors.  This can make you responsible for financial liabilities that can include

  • Workman’s compensation insurance
  • Payment of all federal, state, and local taxes
  • All permit, inspection, and certification fees that may be required.


When you assume the responsibility of a contractor for your project, you also agree to maintain a safe worksite for anyone who you may employ as either a laborer or sub-contractor. These responsibilities can include

  • Compliance with all federal, state, and local workplace safety rules.
  • Providing safety equipment in some situations to workers and sub-contractors
  • Maintaining the proper liability insurance not just for workers and sub-contractors but for any damage that may occur to your neighbor’s home or property or public services such as streets or utilities.

Quality of Work

You also assume the responsibility of ensuring the quality of work meets the minimum standards for the building industry and local building codes.  Normally, the contractor you hire would be responsible for compliance with minimum standards.  If you chose to be your own contractor, you have no where to turn if the end-product does not meet your standards or the standards of the local building inspector.

Where to Go for More Information

The best place to ask questions is the local building inspection department or permitting office.  In Mountain View, California, you have several options

You can contact the Mountain View, California Building Division by calling (650) 903-6300 during regular business hours.

You can go online and access the Mountain View, California Building Division through the Mountain View Website.  This link will take you to the webpage.

As You Begin

Starting a new addition to your home or simply remodeling an aging bathroom or kitchen can be an experience that is rewarding or terrifying.  Whether you choose to hire a contractor, act as your own contractor, or do the work yourself, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the requirements of the local building authority.

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