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Permit Process for a Bathroom Remodel in Santa Monica, CA

I have to address the issue of permitting because it is a question that I run across weekly from prospective clients. When it comes to permitting in Santa Monica, there are 3 primary questions that I get:

  1. Do I need a permit for this job?
  2. How much will the permit cost?
  3. Can I pull the permit myself?

Let’s address the questions in order of operation. Most bathroom remodels require a permit. Often times, out of the area contractors will try and talk the home owner out of pulling permits. I can only speculate that the out of the area contractor is trying to avoid paying the Santa Monica city licensing fee. The city license fee is required by any business entity doing business in the City of Santa Monica.

  • How much will the permit cost? This cost is independent of plan check and building permit fees. Plan check and building permit fees in Santa Monica, CA can range from $$800- $1,500 for a bathroom remodel. The permit fees are based on the reported job cost of the project.

  • Can I pull the permit myself? Yes, it is called “Owner/builder” can pull the permit in their personal name. It has to be the person on the title of the property. Every once in a while a prospective client will try to contract us to do work under a permit that they have pulled. It is absolutely legal to do so but there are substantial drawbacks to doing this. By law, the person that pulls the permits (contractor of record) acts as the contractor. That carries a tremendous amount of responsibility. I had a bad experience last year by letting a pushy client pull the permits in their name. I would prefer to pull the permit, handle the inspections at appropriate times, and get the job finalized by building and safety. I no longer want the change of custody of inspection blurred between contractor and homeowner. 

free bathroom remodel estimate 

***Warning: If while interviewing contractors you come across a company that is trying to talk you away from pulling permits…run! Local, south bay contractor should have the local city licenses and can pull permits as a matter of process with every new job they take on. On large projects these inspections are there for the protection of the home owner. Inspection days add to the length of the job but they are a necessary part the of the construction process. Hiring a reputable local contractor will go a long way towards a smooth construction project.


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