Building Department

*New Online Permitting Portal*

Please be aware: You must create an online account before applying for a permit. If you are a contractor, you must have an active City of Clearlake Business License before applying for a permit.


Obtaining a Building Permit

Requirements & Process

To obtain a building permit, either the property owner or licensed contractor can submit the application and proposed building plans via our ONLINE PORTAL (Link Above). As with most jurisdictions in the State of California, applications will no longer be accepted by mail, email or in-person/over the counter. If corrections are needed, you will be contacted promptly in an email with a list of required items. Once the revised plans have been submitted, they will be re-reviewed. (Please note, if multiple plan reviews occur, you may be subject to additional fees) Once the submission is complete, staff will determine the permit cost and send an email "request for payment". The fees can be paid in the online portal with a credit card (3% fee) or you can bring a check into the office along with your printed invoice. Once payment is received you can print the permit from the portal and commence work.

**Please see our Building Department Forms and Resources at the bottom of the page for detailed information and instructions. In addition you will find forms on the Planning Department page about what you can build in your zone. After reading through all these forms if you still have questions please call or email the departments for more information or clarification.

TIME FRAMES: Initial Submittal & Review 2-4 weeks, Re-review (if needed) 1-2 weeks, Payment Request & Permit Issuance 1-2 weeks

COSTS: Permitting and construction costs cannot be quoted prior to submission due to variables in the scope of work and applicable jurisdiction fees. Not all fees apply to all projects and need to be reviewed to provide an accurate cost. Fees may include (but are not limited to):

INSPECTIONS: For Building (BLDG) inspections please request through your portal. Inspections are Tuesdays & Thursdays only.   If you have any issues please call (707) 994-8201  **Inspection requests are not granted through email or voicemail messages unless you have received a confirmation       (currently 1- 2 weeks out so call ahead)

Owner-Builder vs. Contractor Submittal

If the application is being submitted as an "owner builder" the owner will set up the online portal and submit the application accordingly. An owner can hire contractors but must abide by applicable workers compensation and/or insurance requirements per the State of California (click here for more information on the Owner Builder Requirements in the State of California).

Contractors may authorize an employee to sign building permits.  This authorization must be given in writing. Contractors must also possess a current contractor’s license and have a current City of Clearlake business license at the time of permit issuance.


For Demolition Permits, we require a plot plan to be accompanied with the permit application. The plot plan should have the building/structure that is to be demolished with the exact square footage being demolished.

Please be aware that ALL Demolition Permits require Lake County Air Quality approval prior to issuance (see form below)

Examples of projects that REQUIRE a building permit:

  • Water heaters (new or replacement)
  • Window replacement(s) (replacing same size does not require a permit)            
  • Re-roofing (greater than 100 square feet)
  • Exterior wall coverings and water-proofing, (siding, stucco, etc.)
  • Stairs/ balcony/ decks/ guardrail/ handrail replacement or repair
  • Patio covers (solid roof or lattice)
  • Retaining walls greater than 4 ft. high, or walls supporting a surcharge
  • Bathroom and kitchen remodels, new lighting
  • Additions / alterations
  • Demolition, including lead and asbestos remediation documentation
  • Heating/ ventilation/ air conditioning units (new or replacement)
  • Tenant improvements (commercial/ retail)

Examples of work EXEMPT from a permit:

  • Detached accessory structures; provided the floor area does not exceed 120 sq. ft.
  • Painting, some tiling, carpet, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work
  • Window awnings that do not project more than 54 inches from an exterior wall
  • Decks not exceeding 200 sq. ft. in area; decks that are no more than 30 inches above grade at any point
  • Temporary decorative lighting (cord and plug connected)
  • Portable heating, ventilation or cooling units
  • The stopping of leaks in drain, water, waste or vent pipes; provided the piping is not replaced

**Please Note: Building Permit applications will ONLY be accepted via the online portal. Applications submitted via mail, email or in person/over the counter will not be accepted. For assistance with submissions or the online portal, please contact the Building/Planning Department directly. For FREE WiFi, internet and computer assistance visit your local library (click here)