Home Owners Information
Successful home improvement projects have been the pride and joy of many homeowners who take the time to organize their projects.
An important part of your improvement project is good planning. This means developing construction drawings and obtaining a building permit before beginning construction. Obtaining the permit helps to protect the safety of your family, as well as enhancing the value of your property. This will also be advantageous if you wish to sell your home, apply for a home equity loan, or make a claim against your homeowner’s insurance.
The City of Glendale’s Development Services Center is dedicated to helping homeowners successfully complete their home improvement projects in the most efficient, cost-effective manner. Some of the services that the Development Services Center provides are:
- Answer homeowners’ questions on the phone and at the counter at City Hall regarding
the Zoning Ordinance, building codes, and the city’s building permit process.
- Assist the homeowner in assembling building permit packages for formal submittal.
- Review plans and issue permits for single-family homes, mobile homes, residential additions and alterations, garages, storage buildings, swimming pools and spas,
- Acts as a liaison to the Planning and Zoning Department by answering customers’ questions regarding the Zoning Ordinance, providing zoning case files to the public, initiating service requests to the planning department, and selling zoning publications.
- Supports the Engineering Department by explaining regulations regarding the extension of water and sewer lines, septic system requirements, underground power requirements, working in the city right-of-way, and selling the engineering design guidelines.
Do I need a permit?
Building permits are required for new buildings, remodeling, additions to a home, and improvements to a property. For example, a new room or patio roof, a fireplace, a swimming pool or spa all require a permit. Other projects that require a permit include a landscape irrigation system, a new air conditioning unit, a new furnace, a new water heater, or any other change or repair made to an existing mechanical, plumbing and electrical system.
A permit is required to enclose a carport to convert it into a garage or a room. A permit is also required for a storage shed, playhouse or gazebo if it has over 120 square feet of floor area, or if it is attached to the house.
Work that is started without a permit will result in the charge of an investigation fee in addition to the building permit fee. Also, if the work does not comply with the building codes, it would have to be removed or rebuilt, which would prove even more costly. It is our goal at the City of Glendale to help you do it right the first time so that you will gain the most from your efforts.
Types of permits
There are many different types of building permits. Building permits provide for reviews of the structural, fire safety and life safety of your project, based on the building, mechanical, plumbing and electrical codes, and City of Glendale code amendments and engineering standards. Examples of permits are as follows:
- Custom homes
- Tract homes
- Room additions
- Mobile home installations
- Swimming pools and spas
- Congregate care homes
- Landscape irrigation systems
- Fences & retaining walls
- Commercial building
- Tenant improvement
- Temporary banners
- Grading & drainage
- Fire alarm system
- Fire sprinkler system
- Plumbing repipe
- Electrical panel replacement
- Air conditioner replacement
- Hot water heater replacement
- Electrical rewiring
- Water softener installation
- Water & sewer taps
- Utility trenching
- Street lights
- Street paving
- Sidewalks, curb & gutter
Applying for a permit
The homeowner, architect or a licensed contractor may apply to the City of Glendale for a building permit. The applicant must provide enough information to describe the project fully and clearly.
In some cases, this can be done in a few words, such as, "Upgrade existing electrical service from 100 to 200 amps, " or "Replace 3/4 inch copper water service line."
However, in most cases, construction drawings shall be required. For commercial projects, these are usually prepared by an architect. For a home improvement project, the homeowner may prepare the drawings, provided that the drawings are accurate, legible and complete.
You may hire an architect or a drafting service if you choose. Of course, they will charge you for their services, but you may find that it is worth the cost if they save you time, or save you money by knowing the most economical design to achieve what you want. If you hire a contractor, you will also find that some of them will provide the drawings and include the cost in their total bid for the construction work.
Preparing a complete set of construction drawings will benefit you in several ways.
It will help you to picture how the parts of you project will fit together, and to plan the sequence of the construction work. This can prevent unpleasant surprises and last minute changes during construction.
Construction drawings will allow us to do a faster and more thorough plan review, to provide you with better service by anticipating code problems in advance, and to help you find solutions.
The drawings will give your contractor, if you choose to hire one, clear instructions regarding what the finished product should be. This will help protect you from misunderstandings and disputes.
Finally, construction drawings will give up a written and graphic record of the job to keep on file if there are future problems, as well as plans that will be useful if you decide to do another project in the future.
Your drawings will be reviewed to check that they comply with the Zoning Ordinance and Building Codes. You may be asked to make corrections or provide additional information. Two copies of each drawing are required. When the drawings are approved, and the building permit is issued, you will be given one set of approved plans to keep on the jobsite.
The fee for a building permit depends on the type and size of your project. Usually, the fee will be based on the square footage of the construction area. You may call and ask the Development Services Department for an estimated permit fee.
Your building permit will remain valid for six months from the date of issuance. Once you start work, and pass your first inspection, your permit will remain valid as long as you continue to work, and call for inspections. If you stop work for more than six months, your permit will expire. So, if you experience unexpected problems with your project, such as construction delays, or a loss of income, please let us know. Your permit may be extended free of charge or renewed for a fee, depending on the circumstances. However, if you let more than a year pass by, then a new permit with new plans and full fees will be required.
Inspections are as important to your new home improvement project as good planning and construction drawings are. The building inspector is an experienced and objective observer. Inspections are the benefit you receive in return for the fees you paid for your permit. An inspection "red tag" is your opportunity to correct a problem before it becomes permanent. It can save you time, money and aggravation for years to come. It can even save your life if it alerts you to a serious hazard. An inspection "green tag" is your assurance that the construction work complies with building, mechanical, plumbing and electrical codes. It is your signal to proceed to the next step. No portion of the work may be concealed or put into use until it has been passed by the building inspector.
If you manage the project yourself, you will call for inspections as the job progresses. You will be given written inspection instructions with your permit. Try to plan ahead so that the job will be ready for inspection. You may want to be there to talk with the inspector, but this is not required. Just make sure that you provide the inspector with access to the work, the jobsite permit card, and the approved jobsite plans.
CLICK HERE for a list to help you determine how and when to call for the necessary inspections.