The Building Division receives numerous inquiries about what types of replacement or repair items require building permits. There are only a few items that are exempt from the permit process and with each there are exceptions. 

The International Building Code requires that no building or structure regulated by the Code shall be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, removed, improved, converted, or be demolished without first obtaining a separate permit for each building or structure. 

The following are examples of items that require a permit: 

 Some examples of work not requiring a permit are:

  • One-story detached accessory structures (e.g., tool and/or storage sheds or playhouses) under 120 square feet of floor area. (Additional restrictions most likely exist for fences only three feet high or made of transparent materials)*
  • Fences not over 6 feet in height (provided setback requirements met).*
  • Retaining walls not over 4 feet in height (as measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II or IIIA liquids).*
  • Sidewalks and driveways that are not:
    • more than 30 inches above adjacent grade;
    • above any basement or story; and
    • part of an accessible route.
  • Residential sprinklers and security systems.
  • Painting, tiling, carpeting, and similar finish work.

Permit Applications
To complete a permit application, you will need to provide the following information: 

  • Description of work project location (street name and number)
  • Name, address, and telephone of legal owner
  • Proposed valuation of work (includes material and labor) 

Contractors will also need to provide the following: 

  • State contractor license information (Contractors State License Board; 1-800-321-2752)
  • State-mandated bonding information
  • Proof of general liability and workman’s compensation insurance
    (Homeowners should also check with their own home insurance carrier prior to entering into a contract)
  • Current City business license 

The property owner is responsible for ensuring that the appropriate permits are obtained for work being done on their property. The owner, an authorized agent, or a licensed contractor are the only persons who can legally sign the building permit application. Upon approval of the application and issuance of the permit, the applicant/contractor has 180 days to commence work on the project before the permit expires. 

Permit Fees
Fees are charged for each type of permit issued. There are currently five types of standard permits issued: 

  • Building
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Insulation 

The permit fee is based on the valuation of the work to be done. All fees are calculated in accordance with the International Building Code Fee Tables as adopted by the City of Hercules City Council. The fees provide for plan checking and time to perform adequate inspection for code compliance, materials, and methods of construction. Fees may be paid by cash, check, credit card, or money order. Some fees may be paid by fax when using a credit card. 

Planning Requirements
Some permits may require approval from the Planning Division before the Building Department can issue the permit. Each piece of property within the City is part of a designated zoning district. The zoning district specifies the permitted land uses, such as residential, commercial, or industrial. The district also specifies the minimum distances or setbacks from the property lines for buildings, accessory structures, etc. All applications that are submitted for new structures, replacement structures, exterior alterations, solar, and any other work that will alter the outside of the structure will need to be reviewed by the Planning Division before a permit can be issued. 

Please contact the Building Department for more information before you get started. 

If you reside in a subdivision that has a homeowners association, you will need to provide a stamped approval letter from their office before any permits can be issued.