Does Your Work Require Permits?

In general, permits are required for most construction or repair activities regulated by code. Exceptions are listed below. In such cases, the work must still conform to all technical codes and applicable city, county, and state ordinances. Please also consult with your Homeowners Association to see if your project is allowed within your association's CC&Rs.

Common projects are grouped and categorized below. 

If you have any questions, please contact the Permit Processing Center at 949-724-6313.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Permits are not required for

  • Painting, papering, and similar finish work.
  • Replacement windows and doors having the same dimension as those being replaced and not requiring any change to the structural frame or opening size. Such replacements must still conform to all technical codes and applicable city, county and state ordinances relating to weather proofing, security and energy efficiency. For questions relating to these requirements, please call 949-724-6313.
  • Movable cases, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches (1753 mm) high.
Projects on the Building Exterior

Permits are not required for

  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall of Group R, Division 3, and Group U Occupancies when projecting not more than 54 inches (1372 mm).
  • One-story detached buildings accessory on a single family home site used as tool and storage sheds, or playhouses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet (11.15 m2). Note: This exception does not apply to patio covers which are subject to permit regardless of size; be sure to contact the Development Assistance Counter for specific setback requirements at 949-724-6308.
  • Fences not over 7 feet (1829 mm) high. Be advised, however, that height limitations of the City of Irvine Zoning Code are still applicable. Contact the Development Assistance Counter at 949-724-6308 for assistance in defining height limitations.
  • Retaining walls which 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 flammable liquids.
  • Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R, Division 3 Occupancy in which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade and if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18 925 L). Note: A 2 foot minimum setback is required from any associated pool equipment and any property line.
  • Platforms, walks and driveways not more than 30 inches (762mm) above grade and not over any basement or story below.

Permits are not required for

  • Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18 925 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2: 1.
  • Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.

Permits are not required for

  • Replacement of toilets, sinks, garbage disposals, and dishwashers provided such work does not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes, or fixtures
  • The stopping of leaks in drains, soil, waste or vent pipe, provided, however, that should any concealed trap, drain pipe, soil, waste or vent pipe become defective and it becomes 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 per code
  • The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures provided such work does not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes, or fixtures

Permits are not required for

  • Replacement or repair of fixed electrical appliances
  • Portable motors or other portable appliances energized by means of a cord or cable having an attachment plug end to be connected to an approved receptacle when that cord or cable is permitted by the Electrical Code.
  • Repair of fixed motors or transformers
  • Temporary decorative lighting. This does not include exterior commercial lighting except for short term holiday lighting.
  • Repair of current-carrying parts of any switch, contactor or control device.
  • Reinstallation of attachment plug receptacles, but not the outlets therefore.
  • Repair of any overcurrent device of the required capacity in the same location.
  • Repair of electrodes or transformers of the same size and capacity for signs or gas tube systems
  • Removal of electrical wiring.
  • Installation of  telecommunications lines
  • Installation, alteration or repair of electrical wiring, apparatus or equipment or the generation, transmission, distribution or metering of electrical energy or in the operation of signals or the transmission of intelligence by a public or private utility in the exercise of its function as a serving utility.

Permits are not required for

  • A portable heating appliance.
  • Portable ventilating equipment.
  • A portable cooling unit.
  • A portable evaporative cooler.
  • A closed system of steam, hot or chilled water piping within heating or cooling equipment regulated by the California Mechanical Code.
  • Replacement of any component part of assembly of an appliance which does not alter its original approval and complies with other applicable requirements of the California Mechanical Code.
  • Refrigerating equipment which is part of the equipment for which a permit has been issued pursuant to the requirements of the California Mechanical Code.
  • A unit refrigerating system as defined in the California Mechanical Code. Unless otherwise exempted, separate plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits will be required for the above exempted items.
Construction Activity Reminders

The City of Irvine Municipal Code restricts construction activities to the hours of 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday, and 9 am to 6 pm on Saturdays.

Construction activities are prohibited on Sundays and Federal Holidays.

Construction activities in the public right-of-way are not permitted unless inspections are arranged in advance. Please check with the appropriate inspection supervisor in advance of any of these days for which inspection or work to in public right of way is desired.