Skip navigation links

Construction Permits

Project proponents must submit for and be issued one or more construction permits prior to initiation of construction activities. The type of  activity will determine the type of construction permit(s) required.

Each permit request must be accompanied by a completed permit application form, required plans and documents and respective permit fee(s) . City staff will review the application package for completeness and adherence to city codes, standards and permit requirements. Minor permit types may be issued across the counter if they are found to meet all city requirements. Major permit types will require more detailed review and may be circulated to various responsible city departments for review and comment. Applications will be returned for correction if the submittal package is incomplete or there are issues to resolve. Once all corrections are made, the permit(s) are issued.

Depending on the type of permit issued, the applicant will either be handed the permit across the counter or will receive the permit during the preconstruction meeting with the assigned project inspector held on the project site. Most projects will require inspection by city staff. Inspection requirements are detailed more thoroughly on the permit issued by the city.

Building permits are required pursuant to Carlsbad Municipal Code Chapter 18.04.015 to ensure that minimum construction standards are complied with to safeguard life and property.

Building permits are generally required for any work that physically changes or adds structures to a property. There are many exemptions from building permits. Project proponents to encouraged to contact building department staff to inquire as to whether a permit is required before initiating construction activities. Building permits are obtained from the building department located at the City of Carlsbad Faraday Center office during normal working hours.

Property owners may obtain building permits and complete the work without need for a contractor if the structure or improvement is not intended or offered for sale within one year following construction (referred to as owner-builder permit).

A general contractor may also apply for and obtain a building permit on behalf of a property owner. All contractors must have a valid City of Carlsbad business license in order to perform work in the city. Someone acting as an agent, such as an architect or designer, may apply for an owner-builder permit, but the property owner must still sign an owner-builder disclaimer certificate before the permit is issued.

Although certain accessory structures do not require a building permit, project proponents should contact the planning department for information on setbacks from property lines and other zoning regulations that apply to accessory structures.

The following types of permits are issued by the engineering department at the City of Carlsbad Faraday Center office during normal working hours:

  • Grading permit: required for any grading work including clearing and grubbing of vegetation pursuant to Chapter 15.16 of the Carlsbad Municipal Code (CMC)
  • Right-of-way permit: for work done within city easements or public rights-of-way pursuant to Chapter 11.16 of the CMC
  • Encroachment permit: when private improvements encroach into city easements or public rights-of-way pursuant to Chapter 11.16 of the CMC
  • Haul route permit: when required by the city engineer prior to hauling soils, materials and construction waste to and from construction sites
  • Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan permit: required to reduce and eliminate potential construction pollutants from entering creeks, lagoons and/or ocean
  • Storm Water Management Plan Permit: required for projects meeting “priority” storm water criteria to reduce and eliminate potential pollutants from entering creeks, lagoons and/or ocean after construction is completed
  • Blasting permit: required for the use of explosives during the construction process
  • Oversize load permit: for movement of an oversized vehicle or load along city streets required pursuant to Chapter 10.33 of the CMC
  • Waste water discharge permit: for discharge of industrial waste within the city sewer service area

Project proponents should contact the engineering department during normal working hours to answer questions regarding exemption and processing requirements for any of the permits listed above.


The city does not issue a landscape construction permit. The project proponent may initiate construction of landscape and irrigation work immediately upon signature of the landscape plan by the city unless the work includes grading and or public improvements for which a grading permit or right-of-way permit is otherwise required. 

Project proponents should contact the planning department during normal working hours to notify the City that landscape work has commenced or to answer questions regarding landscape inspection requirements.


Fire prevention permits are required for the installation of fire sprinklers and alarms. In addition, fire prevention staff review most new construction, remodels and tenant improvements for compliance with fire safety codes. For specific fire prevention permitting and inspection requirements, please contact fire prevention staff at 760-602-4665.

Contact Information

Development services office
760-602-2719  Building
760-602-2750 Engineering
760-602-4666 Fire Prevention
760-602-4610 Planning
1635 Faraday Ave.
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Get directions

Inspection service contacts

General Information

Business hours
Monday Thursday
7:30 a.m. 5:30 p.m.
8 a.m. 5 p.m.