Buildings & Code Enforcement FAQs

City Hall Location and Hours

Q. Where is the Building and Code Enforcement Division counter located?

A.  We are on the 1st floor of Winters City Hall, 318 First St., Winters, CA.95694.  (530) 794-6708

Q.  When is the counter open?

A. Counter hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Building Permits

Q.  When do I need a building permit?

A. A Building Permit for that work is required Before a structure in the City of Winters can be built, enlarged, altered, removed, demolished, and/or repaired.  This includes but is not limited to single-family homes, multi-family residential buildings, and commercial buildings.

  • Some examples of construction activity that require a permit include:
  • Construction of new buildings
  • Construction of tenant improvements
  • Additions and remodels
  • Installation of signs
  • Upgrading or replacement of electrical service panels
  • Adding or moving outlets, lights, switches, or other electrical equipment
  • Adding or moving registers, ducts, or mechanical equipment
  • Adding or moving plumbing lines or plumbing fixtures - including lawn irrigation (sprinklers)
  • Demolition, Patio covers, enclosures and decks, Pools/ hot tubs and spas
  • Retaining walls supporting a surcharge
  • Fences over 6 ft. in height
  • Block or masonry walls
  • Photovoltaic systems
  • Sheds, playhouses, or similar uses, provided the floor area exceeds120 sq. ft. and/or the roof is over 10 ft. in height
  • Re-roofs
  • Re-pipes
  • Water heater and water softener change-outs
  • Window and door change-outs
  • Drywall replacement
  • Repairs of damaged areas
  • Stucco and siding

There are other work types that require a permit and are not on this list. Please contact the Building and Code Enforcement Division prior to starting a project if you have any questions.

Q. When is a building permit not required?

A. Building Permit shall not be required for the following; however, compliance to applicable codes and set-backs are necessary:

  • Painting, wallpapering, and similar work
  • Movable cases, counters, and partitions not over 5feet- 9inches
  • Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to Group R-3 occupancy less than 24 inches deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons, and are installed entirely above ground
  • One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet.  Please contact the Planning Department for required setbacks
  • Walkways (not in a public right-of-way) and driveways not more than 30 inches above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route.  Please contact Public Works if you have questions
  • Temporary motion picture, television, and theater stage sets and scenery
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches from the exterior wall and do not require additional support from Group R-3 and U occupancies
  • Fences less than 6 feet high. Contact Planning regarding setback information.

Q. What other permits and licenses are required with a Building Permit?

A. When applying for a building permit, the counter staff will review your proposed project and inform you if additional permits are necessary, such as electrical, plumbing, or mechanical and other related permits, including grading permits and/or encroachment permits (issued by the Public Works Department) and fire sprinkler permits.  Unless the property owner is acting as his/her own general contractor, the project’s general contractor and subcontractors will require the appropriate classified state contractor’s license and worker’s compensation insurance coverage.  All contractors and subcontractors performing work in the City of Winters must possess a current City of Winters business license.

Q. How do I find out the building requirements for my project?

A. For your convenience, the Building and Code Division has various helpful information handouts available at the counter to assist you.  There are also planning, zoning, and grading requirements that may apply to your project.  Staff in the related departments at City Hall are available to discuss the requirements for your project and answer questions in their area of expertise.

Q. How do I obtain a Building Permit?

A. Permits that do not require plan checks, such as water heater change-outs, meter panel upgrades, and re-roofs, may be issued over the counter at the Building and Code Enforcement Division.

Q. Who may apply for and obtain a Building Permit?

A. A building permit may be applied for and obtained by the parcel owner, licensed contractor or with an authorization letter and proof of current Workers' Compensation insurance from either the parcel owner or licensed contractor.

Q. Can I submit an application for a Building Permit by mail or email?

A. Yes, currently over-the–counter permit applications may be either faxed, mailed or e-mailed to our department.  This allows us to complete the proper paperwork prior to your coming to the office thus reducing your waiting time.  Please note: Building permits must be obtained prior to starting work.

Q. Can I consult Building/Planning about land-use restrictions and submittal requirements while my project is still in the planning stage?

A. Yes.  This is part of the normal development process for projects.

Q. What is required to obtain a re-roof permit?

A. A building permit for a re-roof can be issued over the counter if no structural calculations are necessary.  However, roof materials weighing 6 lbs. or more per square foot require a plan check of engineered structural calculations.  A minimum class B roof is required. Required 2016 California Building Energy Efficiency Standards forms must be submitted.

Q. How long does it take to get a Building Permit?

A. With a complete, proper submittal application, some permits can be issued over the counter while you wait.

Over the Counter Permits Include:

  • Plumbing: Water line, sewer line, gas line, water heater and water softener replacement/installation.
  • Electric panel/sub panel change out
  • Window & sliding door replacement
  • HVAC: Heating, A/C, split system, ducting & insulation replacement/installation
  • Roofing
  • Demo
  • Fence over 6 Ft.

For projects that require plan checks, typical times are as follows:

  • Minor projects- 5-10 working days
  • Major projects 15-30 working days
  • Complete and proper submittal will help your project move in a timely manner

Q. How can I find out the status of my permit and/or plan check?

A. You will be notified when your plan check process has been completed.  You may also contact the Building and Code Enforcement Division at 530 794-6708.

Q. What is a sub-list?

A. A sub-list is short for contractors list.  The sub-list is a form that lists all subcontractors used for a project.  If a project is completed by a homeowner, a sub-list would indicate, “No subcontractors were used”.  The sub-list must be submitted and approved by the Building and Code Enforcement Division prior to final inspection.  Sub-lists may be submitted by mail, faxed to 530 795-4935 attn: Building and Code Enforcement Division, or submitted at the counter.

Q. How many sets of plans are needed to apply for a Building Permit?

A. Residential - 3 complete sets plus one if Fire Department review is required. Commercial - 4 complete sets plus one if Fire Department review is required

Q. What plans are required when applying for a Building Permit?

A. Larger projects require the following plans submitted along with the Building Permit Application:  (additional plans may be required)

  • Site plan
  • Floor plan (existing and proposed)
  • Elevation plans
  • Sectional drawings
  • Framing plan
  • Roofing plan
  • Structural calculations and details
  • Energy calculations
  • Fire suppression plans

Some smaller projects require less information.  Please contact the Building and Code Enforcement Division for informational handouts.

Q. What format is required for plans?

A. Plans must be submitted on a minimum of 18” x 24” sheets, fully dimensioned and drawn to scale. Also include one set of 11" x 17" Plans.

Q. Who can draw my plans?

A. Architects may design any building of any type except a structural portion of a hospital.

Civil Engineers may design any building of any type except hospitals or schools. Structural Engineers may design any building of any type with no limitations.

Unlicensed persons may design the following:

  • Single-family dwellings of wood frame construction not more than two stories in height
  • Multiple dwellings containing not more than four dwelling units of wood frame construction, not more than two stories, and a basement in height.  No more than four dwellings per lot.
  • Garages or other structures appurtenant to single-family dwellings of wood frame construction not more than two stories and basement in height
  • Agricultural buildings of wood frame construction unless the Building Official having jurisdiction deems that an undue risk to the public health, safety, or welfare is involved
  • Nonstructural or non-seismic storefronts, interior alterations or additions, fixtures, cabinetwork, furniture, or other appliances or equipment, including nonstructural or nonseismic work necessary to provide for their installation
  • May not design any component that changes or affects the safety of any building, including but not limited to structural or seismic components

Note:  Building officials may require plans, computations, and specifications to be prepared and designed by an engineer or architect licensed by the state to practice as such, even if not required by state law.  Sec. 5537,5538 and 6737.1 Business & Professional Code

Q. If I don’t understand the Plan Check Comments, can I confer with the reviewer?

A. Yes, the comment sheet will include the name and contact phone number of the plan checker assigned to your project.  If you are the property owner, you may consult with your licensed professional to review the comment sheet.

Q. What do I need to rebuild my existing fence?

A. If the fence is wood, chain-link, or vinyl and 6 feet or less, a permit is not required.  If the fence is a block wall and will be constructed to City standards, a plot plan and building permit is required.  If the block wall is not constructed to City standards, engineered structural details are required.  Block walls require a building permit.

Q. What needs to be included in pool or spa plans?

A. A pool or spa requires a site plan indicating the location, existing fencing, gates and doors leading to pool area.  For in ground pools/spas engineered, structural details must be wet stamped.  For additional requirements, please refer to the Swimming Pool and Spa information handout.

Q. What types of barriers (fencing) are required for swimming pools, hot tubs and spas?

A. Please contact the Building and Code Enforcement Division to obtain the Swimming Pool and Spa information handouts for specific requirements.

Q. How much are the fees for a Building Permit?

A. Fees depend on various factors such as the type of construction, square footage, use of building, type of project, etc.  For additional information, you may contact the Building and Code Enforcement Division at 530 794-6708.

Q. When do I have to pay the fees?

A. Plan check fees are due at the time of plan submittal.  Permit fees are paid at permit issuance.  Additional fees may apply to specific projects such as:

  • School impact fees
  • Fire and Police impact fees
  • General impact fees
  • Yolo County Facilities and Services Authorization Fee
  • Others as required

Q. How may I pay for my required fees?

A. The city will accept cash, check, money orders or credit cards (fee for credit card).

Q. Once I have a Building Permit, when do I request an inspection?

A. You will receive a job card at the permit issuance which lists inspections in chronological order.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the Building and Code Enforcement Division at 530 794-6708.  Do not conceal any work prior to passing the required inspections.

Q. How do I request an inspection?

A. You may contact the Building and Code Enforcement Division at 530 794-6708 to request an inspection.  Inspections are typically completed M-Th 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.  Due to limited staff next day inspections can not be guaranteed.

Q. How do I cancel an inspection?

A. Call the same number you call for requesting an inspection: 530 794-6708.  Please cancel an inspection as soon as you know you will not be ready.

Q. What does the inspector look for?

A. The inspector verifies that the construction conforms to the approved plans and meets applicable Building Codes and relevant requirements.  The City of Winters inspects to the minimum standards of the codes.

Q. How are inspection results recorded?

A. The inspector signs the job card (orange) at the job site.  When the inspector returns to the office the inspection results are entered into the computer.   Your building permit and office inspection card become part of the property record.

Q. What happens if I fail an inspection?

A. If your requested inspection is not approved, the inspector will write a Correction Notice.  The notice will identify the items that need to be corrected.  After all corrections have been completed, the inspection request may be recalled.  If you schedule an inspection and are not ready or you have not completed the items on your correction notice prior to scheduling an inspection, a re-inspection fee may be assessed.

Q. How can I register a Special Inspector?

A. A Special Inspector Registration form must be completed by the applicant and submitted in person at the Building and Code Enforcement Division counter.  A copy of all certificates and licenses are required for verification.  A Special Inspector is required to register with the Building and Code Enforcement Division prior to any special inspection activity.

Q. How do I extend my permit to complete my project?

A. A permit extension must be completed and approved prior to the expiration of the permit.  If your request for extension is accepted, a one-time additional 6 months may be granted.

Q. How do I get a refund if I have been overcharged?

A. A written refund request must be submitted to the Building and Code Enforcement Division.  Upon review, you will be notified if you qualify for a refund.

Q. Who should I hire as the contractor for my project?

A. It is highly recommended that you hire a well-qualified, licensed contractor with a proper class license for the work being performed.  The Contractors State License Board is an excellent source of information and assistance in verifying the status of a contractor. The City cannot recommend a contractor but will assist you with CSLB and Business License background checks.

Q. How do I know what underground pipelines are on my property?

A. Before commencing excavation for your project, you may contact USA North Underground Service Alert @ 1-800-227-2600 to determine the location of any underground lines you may have on your property.  A minimum of 2 working days are required.  This is a free service.