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Can I convert my garage to a living unit?

You may be able to convert you garage but only after obtaining the necessary permits and providing additional off-street parking that may be required.  Call the Community Development Department at (707) 441-4160 for more information on zoning and parking requirements.

Can I draw my own plans or do I need an architect draw my plans?

You may draw your own plans.  However, this is limited to residential structures not containing over 4 residential units.  It is also based on the type of project. The Building Official may require plans, computations and specifications to be prepared and designed by an architect or engineer licensed by the state to practice as such even if not required

Do I need a permit for a fence?

A fence not over 6 feet in height does not require a building permit.  However, it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure your fence is located on the property line and meets the City’s sight obstruction clearances.  For more details you can either access the Sight Obstruction handout on line or call the Building Department at (707) 441-4155.

How do I obtain a Building Permit?

The Building Division issues building permits for non-exempt work in the City of Eureka.  You can submit an application for a building permit by visiting the Building Department located on third floor of City Hall at 531 K Street.  The Building Department is open from 8:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday excluding holidays. 

A plan check fee is required at time of application.  Fees are based on the value of the structure being built. For additional plan submittal details you can refer to handouts and forms on-line or contact the Building Department at (707) 441-4155.   

The amount of time that it takes for permit issuance is dependent upon the complexity of the project.  Minor construction projects such as small block walls, simple patio covers, and minor plumbing, mechanical or electrical work may be issued over the counter. 

How long does a plan review take from the date of application?

Plan review for new commercial or residential construction projects are typically completed with fifteen (15) working days.  Smaller projects may be eligible for our three day plan review. 

How many sets of plans and/or calculations are needed to submit for plan check?

Residential construction projects require 3 sets of plans. 


Commercial construction projects require 5 sets of plans, two of the plans sets must be wet signed by the architect or engineer and include two sets of structural calculations and energy compliance forms.

Note:  For more details you can access the handout on line by going to Forms/Handouts.

Is a permit needed to build a shed in my back yard?

If your shed is a one-story detached accessory building used as a tool or storage shed, playhouse or similar use, and the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet, a Building Permit is not required.  However, you must still comply with the setback requirements based upon your zoning.  (Contact Community Development at 441-4160 for zoning questions.)  Additionally, electrical work in any shed permitted or not, requires an Electrical Permit.

Is a permit needed to replace a water heater?

Yes, Water heaters located in the garage also need to be elevated 18 inches above the garage floor.  All water heaters must be strapped to the adjacent wall, to protect against earthquake damage to water pipes and gas lines.  To obtain a permit, visit the Building Department at 531 K Street, third floor of the City Hall.

Is a permit needed to replace my main water line or a sewer lateral?

Yes, a plumbing permit is necessary.  To obtain a permit, visit the Building Department at 531 K Street, third floor of the City Hall.

What Building Codes are currently adopted by the City?

The City adopted the 2013 edition of the California Building Code (Title) 24, which adopts by reference the:

2013 California Building Code, based on the 2012 International Building Code

2013 California Plumbing Code, based on the 2012 Uniform Plumbing Code

2013 California Mechanical Code, based on the 2012 Uniform Mechanical Code

2013 California Electric Code, based on the 2011 National Electrical Code

California Energy Code, 2013 Edition

California Fire Code, 2013 Edition

What happens if I build without a permit?

If you begin construction without the required permit(s), a “Stop Work Order” will immediately be issued by an Inspector.  You will be required to apply for the permit(s) and pay an investigation fee equal to the building permit fee. After the permit has been properly issued, you will then be required to uncover any work which has been covered so that it may be inspected prior to the release of the Stop Work Order.  In some cases, regulations or codes may not permit the type of construction that has been done.  In this case, you may be required to replace or restore the area to its original condition prior to your construction. 

What information should be included on the plans?

Plans need to provide enough information to accurately describe the work being done, where the work is occurring, drawn on a minimum size 11” x 17” paper and include the following:

  • Site/plot plan
  • Foundation plan
  • Roof & floor framing plans
  • Construction sections
  • Floor plan

What types of permits may be issued over the counter?

The following permits are typically issued over the counter:

  • Re-roofs
  • Miscellaneous plumbing, electrical or mechanical
  • Siding and windows.  Note:  If your home is listed on the Local Historic Register additional review may be required.

When is a building permit required?

Building permits are required for any structure that is constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished.  However, the following structures DO NOT require a permit: 

  1. One-story detached accessory buildings used as a tool and storage sheds, playhouses, and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet.
  2. Fences not over 6 feet.
  3. Oil derricks.
  4. Movable cases, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches.
  5. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II or III-A liquids.
  6. Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2:1.
  7. Platforms, walks and driveways not more than 30 inches above grade and not over any basement or story below.
  8. Painting, papering and similar finish work.
  9. Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.
  10. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall of Group R, Division 3 (single family residence), and Group U (private garage) Occupancies when projecting not more than 54 inches.
  11. 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.

Where can I report a Code Enforcement violation?

Contact the Building Department at (707)441-4155 or submit a request on-line.

Who can take out permits for work on a residence?

An owner doing the work can take out the permit.  If a contractor is doing the work, it is recommended that the contractor obtain the permit.  For more information, contact the Building Department at (707)441-4155.

Who do I call for an inspection?

Once you have obtained your permit(s), you may call the inspection request line at (707) 441-4043 to request an inspection for the following business day or thereafter. You may also call our regular business line at (707) 441-4155.

Why are building permits required?

To insure health and safety through adequate inspections of structures used and/or occupied by you, your family and the general public.  For more information about which permits your project may require, contact the Building Department at (707) 441-4155.

How do I rent a hangar at the Eureka Municipal Airport in Samoa?

Contact the Property Manager at (707) 441-4194 to have your name added to the waiting list.  Current wait time is 5 to 10 years, and current rental rates are $75.00 per month.

How do I report a problem with my water/electric/gas bill?

Water bill inquiries can be made by contacting the City's Water/Sewer Billing Division at (707) 441-4119 or (707) 441-4267, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Electric and gas inquiries should be directed to PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.

I have no heat or hot water.

PG&E provides gas to local residents and can be reached at 1-800-743-5000.  Contact PG&E for assistance.