How Do I Submit a Building Permit Application Form?

We accept permit application form by mail, email, or fax. An applicant can also bring in the application form to our Building Division counter during normal business hours: (Monday – Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm)

The required submittal documents include:

    • The completed Building Permit Application Form
    • Three (3) Set of Plans
    • Two (2) copies of the required supporting documents (photos, plans, calculations, etc.); and
    • Pay all the fees by cash, check, or credit card

It is highly recommended that you contact this office for complete submittal requirements depending on the scope of your project.

How Long Does My Building Permit Remain Valid?

Your building permit will remain valid for twelve (12) months from the date the permit is issued. Each time your project is inspected, and passes the inspection on your city Job Card, the expiration date is automatically extended six (6) months from that inspection date.

If work has yet to start, or progress on the project has stalled and the permit is still active, you may request in writing with a detailed timeline of proposed project completion, an extension.

What is EXEMPT from a Building Permit?

For an exhaustive list, please click HERE.

When Do I Need a Demolition Permit?

A permit is required to be issued by the Building and Safety Division, whenever a building is being demolished. This is to assure that construction debris has been removed, sewer or septic lines have been properly capped, and the site is restored to a safe condition to ensure that all health and safety hazards have been removed. Demolition permits are usually issued over-the- counter at the Building and Safety Division and the permit fees are minimal.

Demolition permits for buildings or structures that appear on a Federal, State, or local historical register as well as those that are determined to be historically significant, may require additional review prior to issuance.

California State Law also requires that all contaminants, such as asbestos, lead, and soil contaminants, be properly disposed of. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that all demolition permit applicants first obtain clearance from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, prior to applying for a demolition permit from the City of Big Bear Lake. This may include a requirement to have the property tested for lead, and/or asbestos by a certified testing agency.

For further information, please contact the Building and Safety Division at (909) 866-5831 ext. 140 for additional information regarding demolition permits or stop by our counter at City Hall.

Do all Building Permits Need Inspections?

Yes. After your permit is issued, a series of inspections will be required. Depending on the scope of your project, inspections may be required for foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical and similar work. The City requires a final inspection on all building permits.

Do All Permits Need a "Final" Inspection?

Yes. All work completed under a building permit issued by the City of Big Bear Lake must pass a final inspection by the Building Inspector. Even though a contractor may have taken out a building permit for a property owner, it is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner to see that a final inspection is attained for each building permit. Failure to have a final inspection could result in withholding approval of any future permits and/or expiration of the permit, subjecting the property owner to additional financial obligations or legal liabilities.

Do I Need to Hire an Architect or Engineer for My Project?

Per the California Business & Professions Code, section 5537, an unlicensed person may prepare plans for projects that conform to conventional construction as specified in the building code. For residential structures, the conventional construction paramters are very challenging to comprehend and show on the drawings unless the draftsman has a thorough understanding of the applicable building codes.

If the construction will deviate from these standards, a licensed Architect or Engineer will be required to prepare, stamp and sign the drawings.

There are several reasons to hire an architect, even for smaller projects. Licensed Architects are highly trained in all aspects of creating a safe and livable building, not just the artistic aspect. The licensing process requires education, training and testing, as well as an apprenticeship requirement. The process takes many years. A do-it-yourselfer, designer or contractor will simply not have the depth of understanding of a licensed Architect. Be aware that by law, only a licensed professional can call themselves an “Architect.” If someone calls themselves a “designer” or other designation, they are not an Architect.

5537. (From the California Business & Professions Code) This chapter does not prohibit any person from preparing plans, drawings, or specifications for any of the following:

    • Single-family dwellings of wood frame construction not more than two stories and basement in height.
    • Multiple dwellings containing no more than four dwelling units of wood frame construction not more than two stories and a basement in height. However, this paragraph shall not be construed as allowing an unlicensed person to design multiple clusters of up to four dwelling units each to form apartment or condominium complexes where the total exceeds four units on any lawfully divided lot.
    • Garages or other structures appurtenant to buildings described under subdivision (a), of wood frame construction not more than two stories and basement in height.
    • Agricultural and ranch buildings of wood frame construction, unless the building official having jurisdiction deems that an undue risk to the public health, safety, or welfare is involved.
    • If any portion of any structure exempted by this section deviates from substantial compliance with conventional framing requirements for wood frame construction found in the most recent edition of Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations or tables of limitation for wood frame construction, as defined by the applicable building code duly adopted by the local jurisdiction or the state, the building official having jurisdiction shall require the preparation of plans, drawings, specifications, or calculations for that portion by, or under the responsible control of, a licensed architect or registered engineer. The documents for that portion shall bear the stamp and signature of the licensee who is responsible for their preparation. Substantial compliance for purposes of this section is not intended to restrict the ability of the building officials to approve plans pursuant to existing law and is only intended to clarify the intent of Chapter 405 of the Statutes of 1985.

Do I Need to Post My Permit on a Window?

No, however, it is necessary for each inspection that the set of approved stamped plans, calculations and the original Building Permit job card be available to the Building Inspector at the time of each inspection. The inspector will check the actual construction against the approved plans and sign-off on the back of the Building Permit job card. A Correction Notice will be issued if anything is observed that needs further attention.

Does My Contractor Need a License?

California State Contractors License
In California, anyone who contracts to perform work that is valued at $500 or more for materials and labor must hold a current, valid license from the Contractors State License Board. There are 43 different types of contractor licenses, including general and specialty contractors. You can check on contractors and obtain valuable information for your project at the CSLB website.

Big Bear Lake Business License
Anyone who does business in the City of Big Bear Lake is required to have a current City of Big Bear Lake Business License, including contractors and subcontractors. To obtain a business license, please contact the Business Licenses Division at (909) 866-5831 ext 140. You may also be required to present a certificate of workers’ compensation and proof of liability insurance coverage.

What are Construction Hours?

Construction-related activities* are permitted between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday - Saturday. Work shall not be permitted on Sundays or national holidays, except as approved by the Chief Building Official.

*includes all preparation, clean-up and material delivery.

What Drawings are Required?

The drawings or architectural plans required can vary depending on the scope of your project. Contact the Building and Safety Division regarding your specific project. Drawings that may be required include:

    • Site Plan – This plan clearly shows an “aerial” or “birds-eye” view of your house, property lines, adjacent streets and properties and setbacks. This plan is mainly for the Planning and Building Divisions to assure proper setback and other requirements are met. On this plan, it should be clearly noted exactly what is existing and what is proposed to be built.
    • Floor Plan – This plan clearly shows the interior of the building. Walls to be removed, new walls, windows, doors, etc. should all be clearly noted on this plan. Again, as with the site plan, what is existing, and what is proposed to be built should be clearly noted.
    • Exterior Elevations – This plan shows the exterior details and finishes of the structure.
    • Foundation Plan – This plan is required to show size and location of new foundations and footings for your project.
    • Roof Framing Plan – This plan clearly indicates the size of roof rafters and ceiling joists. Typically, roof slope and roofing materials are called out on this plan.
    • Floor Framing Plan – This plan clearly indicates this size of all floor framing members. Floor joists, beam and subfloor size are customarily called out on this plan.
    • Cross Sections – These drawings show the building from a “cut-away” view and clearly illustrate all ceiling heights, wall construction, roof pitch, etc.
    • Construction Details – This is a set of enlarged construction assembly details showing connections of structural elements, waterproofing and flashing assemblies, and/ or project specific conditions.
    • Energy Calculations – These documents are required by the California Energy Commission to be submitted with your building plans. What these documents verify is the compliance of the structure (new and existing) to meet State energy standards. It is recommended that a professional energy consultant be utilized for this stage of your project. Also, a second energy consultant (provided by the applicant) will be required to check the original documents.
    • Structural Calculations – Structural calculations may be required if your project is large or of unusual shape. Also, it is safe to assume if your project is two stories, calculations will be required. These calculations are to verify that structural elements are adequately sized and connected at critical areas.

Typically, three (3) sets of plans are required at the time of submittal. The Plan Review process can take several weeks.

Once we receive the plans back with corrections, the applicant will be notified to pick up the plans at the Building Department counter and make any necessary corrections, and resubmit the originally submitted plans (Mark-ups) and three (3) new sets of plans, and any other supporting documents to the Building Department. Rechecks usually take one (1) week from the Wednesday following resubmittal of the corrected plans.

Once we receive the plans back with approval from the plan reviewer, the plans will be routed to the Planning Division for final approval. Once the plans are returned to Building & Safety with approval, the applicant will be notified that the permits are ready to be issued.

What is required for a Spa?

If you plan on placing your spa on a wooden deck, please refer to the Wooden Deck/Spa Requirements handout.

What Will the Inspector look for at for the "Final" Inspection?

The inspector will look to see that all work is done in conformance with the approved plans and applicable building codes. In addition, it is a state requirement that for permits over $1,000 in value requires the inspector to verify that smoke detectors/ carbon monoxide sensor are located in each area required by the California Building Code. If you need more information on smoke detectors, please contact the Building Department, or download the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Retrofit Verification Form.

When My Project is Done, What Do I Do With the Permit?

Your contractor should leave the approved plans and Building Permit Job Card with you for your files and future reference. This will serve as your permanent record that the work was completed in accordance with all applicable codes.




Email Building & Safety

Main Office:
Phone: (909) 866-5831 x 203
Fax: (909) 866-7511

Office Hours
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Physical Address
39707 Big Bear Boulevard
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315

Mailing Address
City of Big Bear Lake
PO Box 10000
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315