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Planning and Community Development Department

  • Permit Center - Permit Information

    The Permit Center processes many types of permits.  Most are directly related to development; however, we also process permits to film in Pasadena, hold a garage sale, or erect a tent for your garden wedding.

    Construction Permits 
    Non-Construction Permits 

    If your project will require submittal for plan review, please review our

      Plan Submittal Requirements  

    If your project is complex and meets our complex project thresholds, then you will want to visit our project planning section  for more detailed information about the entire review and approval process.


    How to Obtain A Building Permit

    In order to obtain permits, applications and fees must be submitted to the Permit Center at 175 North Garfield Av. Pasadena, during our business hours, (Monday - Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.). For information on how to obtain a construction related permit, please read the following:  


    The Plan Review Process

    The primary purpose of the plan review process is to verify that buildings and structures will be constructed in compliance with all Federal, State, and City laws and ordinances. Projects necessitating a plan review include: new structures (residence, commercial, industrial building); room additions; remodeling; tenant improvements; among others. In some cases, plans are not necessary for some work (e.g., upgrading electrical service, replacing a water heater).  A site plan may be required for any equipment placed outside. 

    How to Prepare for the Plan Review Process

    Make certain you bring all required documents (Plan Submittal Requirements) and a list of all your questions. Required documents depend upon the nature of your project. If you are the property owner and you plan to build a patio, a detailed drawing (e.g., plot plan, footings, materials) is sufficient. If you are a contractor and you want to add a room, you will need the appropriate licenses and insurance; in addition to a plot plan, floor plan, elevations, structural plan, etc.

    What to Expect

    First, state your project description to our receptionist who will suggest the correct application to fill out and direct you to the appropriate counter.  If your project meets our over-the-counter thresholds, you will present your documents/plans to various departments and divisions, whom will review the material you have presented at the counter.  Depending on the complexity of your project and the completeness of your plans and adherence to codes, the Plans Examiner and/or Planner may be able to process your permit over-the-counter. If your plans are more complex, you will need to submit them for a behind-the-counter review. If your plans are approved over-the-counter, you will be directed to our permit processing counter where our staff will process your permit application, collect the permit fees due, and issue your permit.

    Submitting Your Plan

    Complete the Building Permit application form. To speed up the process, you may wish to print out a copy from here and bring it with you completed to the Permit Center when you are ready to submit your plans.

  • If your project requires plans, please bring them to the counter when you apply for a permit. If you are a contractor, you must be certain to have the proper license to obtain a permit. If you are a home or property owner and plan to do the work yourself, you do not need a contractor's license.

    If you do not have plan(s), a Plans Examiner will be happy to assist you with some helpful information to create one. The Building and Safety Division has informative handouts (which can save you a lot of time and effort) for selected projects. For example: block wall, pilaster, and swimming pool and spa.

  • Residential projects (R-3 Occupancy)  do not require a licensed architect or engineer stamp and signature on the plans. The law requires all other plans be prepared by licensed architects/engineers. If you have any questions, please call our plan review staff at 744-6901.

    A plan review fee will be collected at the time of submittal. If you would like an estimate prior to submittal, you may fill out our Fee Estimate Worksheet, fax it to us at (626)744-3979 and we will fax back (or call you back) with an estimated amount based on the accuracy of the questions you answered. The worksheet is just that, and the fees are subject to change after official review of the plans by the Building Plans Examiner. An activity number identifying your project will be issued to you when you submit. Please keep this number handy, for this will speed up our ability to obtain project information for you.

  • At any time in the process, if you have questions, please contact The Permit Center.  A representative will be happy to help you.  

    Determining The Right Number and Type of Plans to Submit

    Upon submittal the Building Plans Examiner will review your application to determine if you have the essential documents to begin the plan review process. The Plans Examiner will request any additional information that is necessary to begin the plans submittal for your project. We require a complete submittal before we begin the plan review process.  We have available to you our most commonly applied for project plan submittal requirements. Please review them for an accurate submittal.  If you have any questions about the requirements, please call the department requesting the information. If your project does not fall into one of these categories, please call Building & Safety Division for information at (626)744-4200.  This will save you time.


    • Site/Plot plan (lot dimensions, where the building, swimming pool/spa will be situated within property lines, etc.).
    • Architectural and Structural Plans (include plans for floor and roof, exterior elevation, foundation, cross sections, and structural and framing details for buildings, patios, etc.).
    • Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) for installing or replacing heating and cooling units, etc.
    • Energy Requirements and Calculations (e.g., wall insulation, efficient windows, high efficacy lighting)
    • Details of how building elements are constructed (e.g., footings, framing, in-ground pool).
    • Information regarding applicable codes and type of construction.

    Various Permit Applications:


    Plans Examiners, Planners and Engineers Review Your Plans 

    Simple projects that meet our over-the-counter thresholds can be reviewed over the counter in as little as 5 to 10 minutes. If your plan is complex, such that it must be submitted for review, you may expect this process to take approximately two to four weeks. The reason for this is that your plan will be reviewed in prioritized order of receipt. Plans Examiners try to review as many plans as possible over-the-counter. When they are not conducting over-the-counter reviews, they are reviewing more complex plans submitted for review. This process can take some time because of the plans review schedule. 

    Informing You of the Status of Your Plans

    If your plans are approved, the Plans Router Coordinator will notify you by phone or email. You may then speak with our permit processing staff to determine fees due.

    If your plans are not approved, you will be notified by that department/division and you will be asked to make the necessary revisions and resubmit them for review. If you had an over-the-counter review, you may request to have your plans reviewed over-the-counter once again. If your plans were submitted for a review, they probably need to be submitted for behind-the-counter review once again, it usually take less time to review these resubmitted plans. Again, plan complexity and completeness, in addition to work load, determine the amount of time it will take to review your plans.

    Note: Typically, projects will average three (3) plan submissions (one initial submission and two revisions). This includes the Plans Examiner’s request for modifications in order to ensure code compliance.  To keep the number of plans revisions to a minimum, we highly recommend that you submit complete plans.

    Finally, please note that if your plan revision also includes a change to the square footage (resulting in changes to the initially estimated materials, fixtures and labor), permit fees (e.g., building, electrical) will be changed accordingly to reflect your plan changes.

    Our Permit Processing Staff Issues You a Permit Once Your Plans are Approved

    Our Permit Processing staff will issue you a permit based upon whether you are a contractor or property owner. If you are a contractor you must present a valid contractor license and a current City of Pasadena business license (you may apply for one at our permit processing counter or at Municipal Services which is located at 100 N. Garfield, room 121 if you haven’t obtained one already. Licenses are issued and renewed on an annual basis to Pasadena based contractors. Outside based contractors may purchase or renew either a 3 month, 6 month or annual license. Fees are based on state license classification and the length of time purchased). You must also carry the appropriate workmen’s compensation insurance. Finally, the permit processing staff will check that you are an authorized individual to use the contractor license you have presented. The information you provide will be verified through the California Contractors State License Board.

    Property owners applying for permits to do the work themselves can obtain a permit without the same requirements for contractors. Additionally, property owners who obtain permits and then hire unlicensed workers will be required to provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance and are subject to other liabilities. The Permit Center highly recommends that you hire a licensed contractor.

    A copy of the permit and an inspection card/folder will be given to you at the time of issuance. This card/folder and the copy of the permit must be posted on the job site at all times so that it is available to the inspectors who make inspections at your job site. 

    Starting Construction

    Once you receive your permit, you may work on the project within the permitted scope of work. Depending upon the complexity of your project while building, remodeling, or improving, you will need to call the Building Inspector to inspect your work as you complete various stages of your project.

    Inspection Requests

    You will need to phone in your inspection requests at 626-744-4200 twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the day you wish to have an inspector on your job site. Our cut off is 12 noon the day prior to the day you want the inspection. If you call in after 12 noon, your inspection will be scheduled the day after the next day. When you make your request, please have your activity number (found on inspection card/folder) available, as this will expedite the scheduling process. We also need the type of inspection you are requesting as well as a contact person and telephone number.

    Final Inspection/Certificate of Occupancy

    A Certificate of Occupancy is required for new single family residences, multi-family residences, new and additions to commercial, institutional or industrial buildings, and tenant improvements once the project has been finaled.

    Final inspections are required before the Certificate of Occupancy can be issued. There is a green stamp and sticker adhered to the approved plans where it is indicated in the final inspection box which departments & divisions require a final inspection.

    A final inspection can be requested by calling each department/division requiring an inspection directly.  The phone number is located on the green stamp and sticker adhered to the approved plans.

    Once the departments and divisions requiring a final inspection have been contacted, the inspector will conduct a final inspection. The inspection card will be signed by all the inspectors once all requirements have been met. If the project is complete and the inspection card has been signed by all appropriate City agencies a Certificate of Occupancy can be applied for.

    No fees are required for the Certificate of Occupancy, however any outstanding inspection or permit fees will be collected before the certificate is issued.

    Temporary Certificate of Occupancy

    If the project has not met certain requirements and does not pass final inspection you have the option of applying for a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO). A TCO may be issued if there are no outstanding life/safety issues as determined by the Building inspector. Once this is determined all departments will conduct an inspection and indicate approval for a TCO on the building inspection card/folder.

    A processing fee will be collected at the time the TCO is issued. If the project has not been completed by the expiration date you will be required to pay additional charges for an extension.

    In some instances a deposit may be collected to ensure completion of outstanding requirements. The City will use the deposit to complete the work if the permit holder fails to do so. The amount of the deposit will be determined by the City and is due upon issuance of the Temporary Certificate of Occupancy. A refund of the deposit and less any additional charges will be processed at the time of Certificate of Occupancy issuance.

    Please bring inspection card/folder for verification, and visit the Permit Center to apply for a TCO. The Temporary Certificate of Occupancy will be issued within 24 hours of final approval.

  • Permit Expiration

    Permits are valid for 180 days from the date of issuance. Regular inspections keep your permit valid. Our Building Official may grant one extension, based on the circumstances of the request. Requests must be made in writing, prior to the expiration date.

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