Building and Safety FAQs

Q: When is a building permit required?

A: Permits are required for the erection, construction, enlargement, alteration, repair, moving, improvement, demolition or conversion of any building or structure, except as follows:

 Per California Building Code Chapter 2 Section [A] 105.2:

  1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area is not greater than 120 square feet (11 m2).

  2. Fences not over 7 feet (2134 mm) high.

  3. Oil derricks.

  4. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet (1219 mm) 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 liquids.

  5. Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity is not greater than 5,000 gallons (18 925 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width is not greater than 2:1.

  6. Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route.

  7. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.

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

  9. Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy that are less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep, are not greater than 5,000 gallons (18 925 L) and are installed entirely above ground.

  10. Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems.

  11. Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one- and two-family dwellings.

  12. Window awnings in Group R-3 and U occupancies, supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.

  13. Nonfixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches (1753 mm) in height.

Fresno County Title 15 Section 15.08.020 adds:

Item No.14: Flagpoles, radio and TV antennas less than thirty-five feet (35’) in height and without receiving dishes.

Item No.15 : Ground mounted satellite receiving dishes less than twelve feet (12’) in height, serving a R-3 occupancy.

Item No. 16: Transportable gypsum and fertilizer storage tanks for agricultural use.

Item No. 18: Detached one-story accessory structures as classified by a Group U occupancy not exceeding 240 sq. ft. floor/column area and 380 sq. ft. roof area, limited to a maximum ten-foot wall or post height. Shade structures with single- or two-point post bearing members not included. All persons claiming an exemption under this section shall comply with section15.08.030 of this Title. (See below for more information on Item No. 18.)


Q: How do I apply for an exemption for a structure under 240 sq. ft. in floor/column area?

A: These exemptions can be applied for like a normal construction permit through our Citizens Portal. 

You will be required to provide the following:

  1.  A detailed site plan

  2. An elevation sheet (there is a 10' plate height maximum for these structures)

  3. An operational statement clarifying the use of the building

  4. An owner-builder disclosure or a valid contractor's license number is required for permits

The cost for the permit will be a $70.00 Special Service fee for inspections and $62.00 County Processing Fee + an additional $7.50 Workers Comp and $1.00 fee required by the state for all building permits issued by our office. 

You will also be subject to additional fees if it is determined that a grading voucher/permit is required.

Williamson Act clearance may be required for parcels under an agricultural contract. 

A waste management plan will be required. This paperwork will be provided when we issue permits and you must submit completed paperwork to our Resources department.


Q: Can water piping and electrical conduit / cable be installed in the same trench?

A: Yes, no physical separation is required as long as the trench is deep enough to provide the minimum burial depth of the electrical conduit/cable.


Q: What is the minimum separation between a septic system and a water well?

A: A 50-foot minimum separation is required between the tank and any water well.
     A 100-foot minimum separation is required between leach lines and water wells.


Q: What is required to be completed for a final inspection?

A: All work must be complete except the following:

  1. Painting
  2. Floor Covering
  3. Interior Doors and Finish

For additional information, please contact us at (559) 600-4560 or Email Building Inspectors