FAQ’s for Building Permit Information

Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to Building Permit Information

A: Building Permits are simply administrative tools used for documenting that a construction project has been reviewed and inspected to ensure that all applicable requirements are substantially in compliance with the law. The Building Permit gives the “green light” for a contractor or builder to commence construction.

The Building Permit tracks and documents the required fees, agency clearances, inspections, and permitting requirements for the project.

Once construction is complete, the permit record is kept as part of the building’s permit history, permanently, for the life of the structure, in Building and Safety’s permit record archives.

Building Permits are required by law. So they also serve as a legal document used by lending institutions, insurance companies, and others to confirm that the building and related improvements are legal.

Investors, realtors, and property owners also rely on these records to ensure the property in question is not only legal but also safe to occupy.

A: The time it takes to receive a building permit varies widely. Many determining factors can have an effect on the total time it takes to receive a permit, such as:

  • Where is the project located? Is it in a flood zone, fire zone, or geologically hazardous area?
  • What is the size and complexity of the building?
  • How experienced are the designer, project manager, and other members of the design team?
  • Are public utilities readily available at/near the site to serve the building? Or is a private well and septic system needed, and electric service brought in from an off-site location?
  • Is any grading required to create the building pad? Or is the building pad already graded?
  • Is the building pad on level ground or on a hillside?
  • What is the current level of permit activity at the Building and Safety office?

The answers to these and other questions can affect the actual amount of time needed to receive a permit. Most homes and projects need several months to receive a permit. Larger and more complex projects can take longer.

Building and Safety will usually complete the first review of the plans in about three to four weeks from the date a complete application is accepted, which includes a complete set of plans, related design documents, and payment of plan review fees. Follow-up reviews are done in one or two weeks in most cases. You should plan your project schedule on the basis that you will need two or three B&S reviews and enough time for your designer to answer questions, make plan revisions, correct errors, etc. Also, include an adequate amount of time for the review and approval of the project by other agencies.

A: If your project is located in the unincorporated areas of Ventura County, you can obtain your permit at one of the two B&S permit offices. The main B&S office is in Ventura. We also have a Building and Safety office on the east side of the County, in Simi Valley.

If your project is located within the City limits of an incorporated city in Ventura County, such as Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Oxnard, Ojai, Santa Paula, Fillmore, etc, then the permit will be issued by that City. You can contact that City directly for their address, contact information, as well as permitting guidelines and instructions.

A: Most construction projects are required to have a valid permit before construction begins. Some small projects, repairs, and minor improvements are exempt from permits. To learn if your project is exempt, see the work that is exempt from Building Permits.

A: For projects in the unincorporated areas of Ventura County you can use the Fee Estimator Tool to get a fee estimate for your proposed project. This tool does not give you an estimate of permit fees or development fees collected by other Departments or Agencies. It will list only fees collected by Building and Safety.

A: Building Permit applications expire 12 months following the date of the application if the permit has not been issued by that date. These expired applications can usually be extended for a period of an additional six months, but extensions granted may be conditioned on having the design revised when a new Building Code is adopted and became effective after the application was due to expire.

A: Building Permits expire if the work described on the permit has not commenced 12 months from the date the permit was issued. Permits can be extended for a period of an additional six months, but extensions granted may be conditioned on having the design revised when a new Building Code is adopted and becomes effective prior to extending the permit.

Permits will also expire if the work is commenced, but later suspended or abandoned for a period of six months from the date of the last inspection conducted by a County Building Inspector. These permits may also be extended for six months but the remaining work that remains to be constructed and/or inspected may be required to be updated to the current Building Code in effect at the time of the extension.