Quick Reference Guide

10 Most commonly asked questions

1. What type of work requires a permit?

The Building Division receives numerous phone calls with questions about what type of repair items require building permits.  There are only a few items in the Building Code that are allowed to be repaired or constructed without the benefit of a building permit.  These are as follows:

· Retaining walls less than three feet in height and three feet away from the property line or other structures.
· Sheds less than 120 square feet in area.
· Decks less than 30 inches above the ground.
· Flat concrete work. (Driveway work does require a permit)

Some of the items that require building permits and inspections are:

· Installation of a new roof.
· Installation of a furnace and/or an air conditioner.
· Installation of a water heater.
· Installation of vinyl siding.
· Installation of a new front door.
· Replacement and repairs to weather damaged siding.
· Installation of exterior stucco.
· Overhead patio structures (either attached or detached).
· Patio enclosures. 
· Storage buildings over 120 square feet.
· Carports for additional parking.
· Bathroom and kitchen remodel/repairs.
· Any electrical work.
· All plumbing except the repair of fixtures.

Any construction which adds to the floor area or volume of an existing structure. Area increases over 500 square feet require that school fees be paid.

Any structural modifications.
Any modifications to the weather/moisture protection of an existing structure such as disturbing the exterior finish to replace a window or the adding of stucco of an existing exterior siding. 
Any modifications to, the electrical wiring, the plumbing system or the mechanical system in a structure.

Any deck or patio over 30" above surrounding grade. Any masonry fences.

Any roof repair or replacement which involves more than 25% of the total area.

2. What repairs and or improvements need to be made at the time of sale of a building?

Smoke detectors.
Smoke Detectors need to be installed in all sleeping rooms, hallways leading to sleeping rooms, and on all levels for dwellings over one story. UBC 310.9.1.4

Spark arrestors.
Spark arrestors are to be installed on all solid fuel burning appliances. The device shall be of corrosion resistant material having a net free area of four times the chimney outlet. The openings shall be between 3/8" and 1/2" in diameter. UBC 3102.3.8.

Water Heater Seismic Strapping.
SB 304, (Rosenthal) added the retrofit for seismic bracing of water heaters at the time of sale effective January 1, 1996. It further added minimum standards for the types of bracing methods used. In general, water heaters up to 52 gallons require strapping top and bottom. Units up to 75 gallon require 3 straps and 100 gallon require 4. Rigid water line connections are no longer permitted.

Note that the platform requirement for water heaters installed in garages does not apply to the time of sale requirements. Platforms are still required at the time the unit is replaced.

3. Who Can Pull a Permit?

Can I do the work myself?
Yes. A homeowner can pull a permit to make improvements on their own house. You can do your own design and prepare your own plans as long as they show compliance with all the applicable codes for structural, energy, fire prevention, and life/safety items. You will be responsible for these items. Liability prevents the City from designing your project for you. 

Should I hire a licensed contractor?
It is recommended in most cases to use the services of a qualified professional. Licensed individuals must be bonded and provide their own workers compensation and liability insurance. This could potentially be a burden for a homeowner not normally covered for these types of exposure. It is recommended that you contact your insurance agent and review your coverage before taking on a project. See "Contractor" page for more details.

4. How do I file a complaint?

Problem with a contractor.
The control the Building Division has over contractors is limited at best; generally it begins and ends with activity on an active permit. A disciplinary action against licensed contractors after a job is complete is administered by the Contractors State Licensing Board (800) 321-2752. See "Contractor" page for more details.

Problem with a neighbor.
Disputes between neighbors are generally considered a civil matter that is decided in the courts. If work is being done without a permit, or a dangerous condition is being created, the Building Division has the authority to issue a stop work order. Conflicts with local zoning ordinances are resolved by the City Code Enforcement Officer.Contact the Code Enforcement Officer at (530) 661-5820.

5. How much does a permit cost?

Sample fee Tables.
See forms page for general examples of large projects. Contact the Building Division for specifics on your project.

6. How long is a permit good for?

Plan check expiration.
Plan review is valid for a period of one year. Contact the Planning Division for information of time extensions for projects reviewed by the Planning Commission.

Permit expiration.
Permits are valid for a period of 180 days from time of permit issuance. They may be extend once for an additional 180 days by contacting the Building Division.

7. What codes are currently adopted in City of Woodland?

The City of Woodland uses the following codes:

• 2016 California Building Code (CBC)
• 2016 California Plumbing Code (CPC)
• 2016 California Mechanical Code (CMC)
• 2016 California Electrical Code (CEC)
• 2016 California Residential Code (CRC)
• 2016 California Green Building Code
• Uniform Housing Code
• Uniform Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings
• Uniform Security Code
• City of Woodland Municipal Code 

It should be noted that these model codes are amended by the State of California and the City of Woodland to include various additional requirements. Standard code questions can be answered by Building Division staff; however, more complex design issues should be referred to a design professional such as an architect or engineer.

8. What is the seismic and wind zone for City of Woodland?

Woodland is in Seismic Category D.
Wind Speed is 85 mph.
Exposure is determined by terrain and chosen by the design professional, but typically within the City of Woodland is considered exposure B or C depending upon your location in the City.
No snow load requirements in City of Woodland.

9. Can I use a shake roof on my new or existing house?

Yes. Shake or any wood products roofing material shall be Class B or better. Treated shakes may be used for reroofing an existing home when installed as a Class B fire rated roofing assembly. Only one additional roof can be placed on an existing roof.

10. Are there any requirements for fences?

Yes. The maximum height of any fence is 6 feet or 8 feet with a permit. Fences located within the front yard of a residence (first 20 feet measured from behind the sidewalk) have a maximum height of 3 ft 6 in (42"). Fences located on the sideyard of a corner lot are required to be 5 feet behind the sidewalk.Contact the Planning Division for specific details at 530-661-5820.