Residential Accessory Structures
Obtaining a Building Permit
Accessory structures are small utility buildings and structures associated with a residential parcel. They include but are not limited to:
- Pool house
- Pump/well house
- Guest house/cottage
- Fence taller than six feet high
- Retaining walls over four feet measured from the bottom of footing to top of wall
- Water tanks greater than 5,000 gallons
Accessory structures exempt from building permits:
If the accessory structure, with the exception of the guest house, is single story, detached, less than 120 square feet of floor area as measured from outside face of framing, has no electrical or plumbing installed, and used as a tool or storage shed, playhouse, and similar uses, it is exempt from a required permit. California Building Code §R105.2
If a deck does not exceed 30 inches above grade at any point, is not attached to a dwelling, less than 200 square feet in area, and does not serve the exit door required by Section R311.4 of the residential code, it is exempt from requiring a permit.
Accessory structures located in the Tahoe Basin:
If the accessory structure is located within the Tahoe Basin, a permit will be required to facilitate the review of
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) requirements for the proposed structure.
Other structures exempt from permits include:
- Water tanks on grade less than 5,000 gallons
- Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, and similar finish work
- Pre-fab pools that are less than 24 inches deep.
- Concrete sidewalks and driveways
- Window awnings projecting less than 54" and do not require additional support.
- Swings and other playground equipment.
- Retaining walls that are not over four feet measured from the bottom of footing to top of wall, unless supporting a surcharge.
- Fences not over 6 feet high.
Exemption from the permit requirement of the codes does not grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of the codes or county ordinances.