Building Permit Information

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Building, electrical, plumbing, sewer, and mechanical permits are issued Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

A building permit may be issued to a California licensed contractor or an owner-builder residing in the single-family residence for which the permit is for. Permits for commercial, industrial or multiple residential projects (townhomes, condominiums, apartments, duplexes, etc.) are only issued to California licensed contractors.

Generally, any new construction, additions, alterations or repairs to an existing building, including re-roofs, fireplaces, swimming pools, carports, remodels, hardscapes, etc., requires a permit. Permits are issued at our Building counter in Downey City Hall, located at 11111 Brookshire Avenue Downey, CA.. We are pleased to announce that as of June, 2010, we are utilizing the Accela permitting system, which automates and improves how we deliver services to the public and maximize quality, timeliness, and cost-effectiveness.

You may refer to our "Building Handouts/Forms" section for General Handouts, Permit Forms, and Submittal Requirements.

Who can pull a permit?

Generally, only a California Licensed Contractor or the property owner can pull a permit. You can check with the CSLB (Contractor State License Board) to see if your contractor has a valid license. There are, however, a few exceptions to this basic rule. There are different categories, for example; General Building Contractors, Electrical Contractors, Plumbing Contractors, Re-roofing Contractors, and many others. By State law, these different types of contractors are limited as to the types of permits that they can pull. For example, a Plumbing Contractors cannot pull an electrical permit, and visa versa.

If the permit is to be pulled by someone other than the licensed contractor (the actual licensee listed on the contractor’s license) or the actual property owner (as listed in our Accela database) then you will need to review the question, "What paperwork do I need if I am not the property owner or the licensed Contractor?"

What paperwork do I need as a Contractor to pull a permit?

As a California licensed contractor, you will need the following paperwork in order to pull a permit:

  1. Your State Contractor’s License, generally the wallet card issued by the Contractors State License Board or other documentation that you are the licensee.
  2. Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Certificate. If you have any employees, then you are required by State law to show proof of coverage at the time of permit issuance.
  3. You will need a current City of Downey Business License. This could be paid for at time of permit issuance.

What paperwork do I need as the property owner to pull a permit?

As the property owner, you do not need any paperwork other than proof of identification, typically a state photo ID such as a Driver’s License. If you have recently acquired the property and the Assessor’s database does not yet show you as the owner, then you will need to bring in you original, recorded "Grant Deed" or "Trust Deed". Please note that a "Deed of Trust" is not the same as a "Trust Deed." If the original is not obtainable, we will accept a certified copy of the deed from the Registrar-Recorder's Office, located in the City of Norwalk.

If you are not the property owner, then you will need to have a notarized "authorized agent form" which lists you as being authorized to pull the permit on behalf of the property owner. We recommend that you read the notes from the California State License Board about the risks of becoming the Owner/Builder of your project.

What paperwork do I need if I am not the property owner or the licensed Contractor?

  • An agent may pull a permit on behalf of a licensed contractor however, an original, notarized letter of authorization on company letterhead from the license holder must be provided. The letter must not exceed one year from date of issuance.
  • An agent may pull a permit on behalf of an owner-builder living in a single-family residence however, the "Notice to Property Owner", "Authorized Agent Form", and an original notarized letter of authorization from the property owner must be received prior to issuance. The "Notice to Property Owner" and "Authorized Agent Form" can be found in our "Building Handouts/Forms" section.

Additional Information

For further information please contact the Building Division.

Building & Safety Division
11111 Brookshire Avenue
Downey, CA 90241
(562) 904-7142