Department of Planning & Development
Department of Planning & Development

Work Exempted From Permits

Work Exempted from permits are listed below for the following categories:


A. Exempted Work – Building

1. Single story detached accessory buildings used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the projected roof area does not exceed 120 sq. ft. Consult with Planning for zoning requirements.

2. Fences not over 7 feet in height. Consult with Planning for zoning requirements.

3. Movable cases, counters and partitions not over 5’, 9” in height.

4. Oil derricks.

5. Retaining walls, which 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 III-A liquids.

6. Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ration of height to diameter or width does not exceed two to one. Consult with Planning for zoning requirements.

7. Platforms, walks, and driveways not more than 30” above grade and not over any basement or story below. Consult with Planning for zoning requirements.

8. Painting, papering, and similar finish work.

9. Temporary motion picture, television, and theater stage sets and scenery.

10. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall of Group R, Division 3, and Group M Occupancies when projecting not more than 54 inches.

11. Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a single-family residence in which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade and the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons. Consult with Planning for zoning requirements.

12. Light standards that do not exceed 30 feet in height.

13. Playground equipment.


B. Exempted Work - Electrical

Work as itemized in Article 89-108.4.1 (b) of the California Electrical Code: 

1. Listed cord and plug connected temporary decorative lighting. 

2. Reinstallation of attachment plug receptacles, but not the outlets therefore. 

3. Repair or replacement of branch circuit overcurrent devices of the required capacity in the same location. 

4. Installation or maintenance of communications wiring, devices, appliances, apparatus or equipment. 


C. Exempt Work-Mechanical

1. A portable heating appliance, portable ventilating equipment, portable cooling unit or portable evaporative cooler.

2. A closed system of steam, hot or chilled water piping within heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code.

3. Replacement of any component part or assembly of an appliance, which does not alter its original approval and complies with other applicable requirements of this code.

4. Refrigerating equipment that is part of the equipment for which a permit has been issued pursuant to the requirements of this code.

5. A unit refrigerating system.

6. [For SFM} State-owned buildings under the jurisdiction of the state fire marshal.


D. Exempt Work-Plumbing

1. The stopping of leaks in drains, soil, waste or vent pipe.

Note: Should any concealed trap, drainpipe, soil, waste or vent pipe become defective and is necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, the same shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be procured and inspection made as provided in this Code.

2. The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures.**

3. Water closet removal and reinstallation.**


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Department of Planning & Development, 2120 Milvia St., Berkeley, CA 94704
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