Frequently Asked Questions

PERMIT QUESTIONS - FAQ

► When do I apply for a Building and Safety Permit?

▼ I have obtained my building permit. At what stages of construction do I need an inspection?

In general, an inspection will be required prior to covering up or concealing any completed work.

The following is a list of typical construction inspections and the general sequence in which they should occur. All required erosion control measures shall be in place, inspected and approved prior to commencing any building construction activity.

  • UNDERGROUND/UNDER SLAB PLUMBING: Prior to any footing or foundation inspection, rough underground waste plumbing to be in place and a water test provided (cap all ends and openings and provide a 10 foot head of water).

    Measurements from building forms to property lines will be verified at this time to ensure the approved building setbacks are maintained. Setback certification (if required) shall be provided to the inspector.
  • FOUNDATION INSPECTION, CONCRETE SLAB GRADE OR UNDER-FLOOR: To be made after all ground plumbing has been approved and backfilled. All required reinforcing bars, hardware, and holdowns are in place. This inspection must be performed and approved before placement of concrete slab or floor sheathing.
  • ROOF SHEATHING AND SHEAR WALL INSPECTION: To be made after all roof sheathing is in place and nailed as per the approved plans, but before any roofing materials are applied or loaded on the roof. All required plywood shear panels on exterior walls must also be nailed per the approved plans and inspected before being covered by exterior finish materials. Roof Framing and Truss systems will also be checked for compliance with the approved plans.
  • COMBO INSPECTION (ROUGH ELECTRICAL, MECHANICAL, PLUMBING, & FRAMING INSPECTIONS): To be made after all framing and roofing is completed (tile roofing need not be complete if the roof has been made substantially weather tight, but tile must be loaded on roof). All rough plumbing (including fire sprinkler piping, if required), mechanical and electrical installations must be in place. Water supply piping (hot and cold) shall be under pressure and any second story shower and/or tubs shall be filled with water along with all drain, waste and vent piping below the overflow level of the tubs. Shower pans are built/installed and filled with water for testing. Fireplaces must be installed. Stucco paper & lath must be in place and nailed as per approved plans. Window frames and exterior door frames must be in place and properly flashed.

    Note: Fire Department rough inspection must be approved prior to Building & Safety’s Combo inspection.
  • INSULATION INSPECTION: To be made after all required insulation is in place, openings caulked and required sealing done. Vapor barrier on walls and ceiling to be in place in climate zones 14 & 16 (Mountain & Desert regions).
  • DRYWALL INSPECTION: To be made after all drywall (or interior lath) and all attachments are fastened in place per the approved plans. To be approved before scratch-coat is applied and before any drywall mud is applied.
  • SEWAGE DISPOSAL & WATER SERVICE FROM METER TO HOUSE INSPECTION: To be made after trenches are dug, piping is in place and the appropriate test is applied. The general contractor is responsible for supplying the inspector with an accurate as-built drawing showing locations of these lines. This inspection must be done before any piping is covered or trenches back filled. Septic tank and disposal fields (leach field or seepage pits) must be complete and exposed for inspection. Septic tanks are to be filled with water for leak testing.
  • GAS LINE AIR TEST: Indoor, Outdoor, and Underground gas lines must be under an air test using a maximum 15lb gauge and not lose any pressure for 15 minutes. This inspection can be completed after cabinets and molding are installed in the building.
  • FINAL INSPECTION: To be made when structure is ready for occupancy. This shall include proper lot drainage, post construction erosion control measures, permanent address posted, all plumbing fixtures connected and operable, all electrical fixtures and devices in place and electrically connected, insulation certificate posted, structure clean of debris or stored materials, wall finishes complete per approved plans, HERS Rater report on-site, etc.

    Please be advised that all final inspections must be cleared (in writing) before utilities are released and a Certificate of Occupancy is issued. This includes final clearance from not only the Building & Safety Division but also Planning, Land Development, Public Works Roads, Fire Department and Solid Waste Construction Waste Management Plan, (CWMP) Clearance. All outstanding fees owed to these departments must be paid prior to approving a final inspection and granting a Certificate of Occupancy.

    Note: The general contractor/owner-builder or his duly authorized representative is responsible for verifying that all work is complete before requesting an inspection. This authorized representative shall also be responsible for walking with the inspector on all inspections and for coordinating all of his/her subcontractor duties relevant to correction items cited by the inspector. Re-inspections will be made as requested after all corrections have been made.

    Please provide a sufficient temporary address so that the inspector can easily identify your property.

► How do I schedule an inspection?    

► What is a Virtual Inspection?
► I have a question; can I speak with my inspector?
► What needs to be on the job site to complete an inspection?
► My project is complete, what do I do with my plans and job card?

▼ What is a homestead/recreational cabin?

As a means to distribute disposable public land, the federal government enacted laws such as the Small Tract Act of 1938. The law made it possible for a citizen to obtain certain public land, typically in the desert areas, at a minimal cost, as long as a structure was built on the parcel. No water or power was required and the structure could be relatively small. The County Assessor’s Office classifies these structures as a “Rec Cabin”.


► How do I know if I own a Rec Cabin and not a home?
► Can I live in a homestead cabin?
► I would like to live in my homestead cabin, but it does not meet the minimum code requirements. What can I do?
▼ I would like to rent out my homestead cabin on a short term basis, is this allowed?

The County of San Bernardino currently allows short term rentals in the mountain areas only. No short term rentals are allowed in the valley or desert regions. All short term rentals in the mountain area are required to obtain a special use permit from Code Enforcement, and the structure must meet the minimum requirements of the building, fire, and development code. The application for a short term private home rental permit can be found at the following website:

http://cms.sbcounty.gov/Portals/5/CodeEnforcement/Short%20Term%20Rental%20062215.pdf


► I don’t currently have water service; can I haul water to the site?
► Do I have to connect to a public sewer?
► Can I add on to or alter my cabin?
► Do I need inspections?
► How can I schedule an inspection?
► I have a question; can I speak with my inspector?
► What needs to be on the job site to complete an inspection?