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Building Permits | Policies | CSUSM

Building Permits

Definition: The California State University is responsible for the enforcement of building codes on university property as approved by the California Building Commission (CBC). Each campus is under the direct administrative and operational control of a Building Official in the system wide office. A Deputy Building Official has been identified on each CSU Campus. At California State University San Marcos, the Deputy Building Official responsibilities are assigned to the Associate Vice President, Facilities Development & Management. Acting on behalf of the Trustees, and under the authority of the Chancellor and the President, the Deputy Building Official develops and enforces the campus' building permit process. No building or structure shall be erected, constructed, enlarged, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted, or demolished without a building permit, unless determined to be exempt by the Deputy Building Official.
Authority: California Health and Safety Code, Sections 13143, 18901-18949.6; California Code of Regulations, Title 24 (California Building Standards Code); California Code of Regulations, Title 19 (Public Safety Code), Section 3.28 (b); Government Code, Section 4450 et.seq; CSU Executive Order 847 issued pursuant to authority granted by Education Code Sections 89030, 89030.1, and 89031; Standing Orders of the CSU Board of Trustees; State University Administrative Manual
Scope: This policy and any related procedures apply to all areas and members of the campus community, including all contractors/agents who do business with the university.
Responsible Division: Finance & Administrative Services
Approval Date: 08/18/2010
Originally Implemented: 06/15/2010
Signature Page/PDF: View Signatures for Building Permits Policy



In order to comply with all relevant statues, regulations, laws, and standards, California State University San Marcos uses the following procedure to determine building code compliance requirements.  A flow chart of this process is attached in Appendix A.

  1. Campus department submits request for work approval through Planning Design & Construction (PDC), Facility Services, or Facilities Development & Management (FDM).
  2. FDM approves or denies the project, coordinates project initiation form, project numbers, etc.
  3. Deputy Building Official (DBO) determines if a building permit is required.
  4. DBO determines if construction documents are required.
  5. Architect, engineer, or PDC prepares construction documents.
  6. DBO and State Fire Marshal (SFM), as applicable, determine if CSU plan check is required.
  7. DBO approves plans.
  8. Architect or engineer obtains CSU plan check approval.
  9. Architect or engineer submits Building Permit Application to DBO with all approval letters.
  10. DBO approves and issues Building Permit.
  11. PDC proceeds with work as defined in the State University Administrative Manual.
  12. PDC obtains appropriate final inspections (Inspector of Record, State Fire Marshal, PDC, Facility Services).
  13. PDC issues Notice of Completion and/or certificate of occupancy if applicable.
  14. Project complete.


At California State University San Marcos, the following projects are exempt from building permit requirements, as well as any other projects determined by the Deputy Building Official.  All exceptions must be approved by the Deputy Building Official.

  1. Clearing & Grubbing - SWPPP required
  2. Pavement Marking - except for accessible spaces and path of travel
  3. Landscape planting
  4. Door & hardware replacement - like equipment only
  5. Glazing replacement
  6. Acoustical panel replacement
  7. Vinyl flooring
  8. Carpet
  9. Painting
  10. Visual display surfaces
  11. Signage - unless structurally attached to a building or higher than 4 foot
  12. Manual projection screens
  13. Roller or mini-blind shades
  14. Telecommunication network equipment and cabling replacement - not including pathways or any work in rated walls
  15. Lighting replacement - like equipment only
  16. Group II including modular - not including electrical work
  17. Chain link fencing under 8 foot or temporary construction fencing
  18. Traffic control signage
  19. Preventative maintenance - not including replacement of equipment


When requesting work that falls within the parameters of the campus' Building Permits Policy, the requestor should be aware that the following specific plan reviews and approvals may apply as required by statute and Trustee policy: 

  1. Disabled Access Compliance [ADA]: For all new, alterations, or remodeling projects, compliance must be certified by the State of California Department of General Services, Division of the State Architect (DSA).
  2. State Fire Marshal [SFM]: If the project involves new construction or alterations to state-owned or leased facilities, the plans must be submitted to the SFM for approval. The project designer should be aware of local fire access needs as expressed by the local fire department.
  3. Plan Check: For each project, the project administrator shall submit plans and specifications to an approved independent plan check service for review. CSU Capital Planning, Design and Construction (CPDC) maintains a list of pre-qualified plan checking firms and is to be consulted for assistance, as necessary. The appropriate regulatory authority, e.g. State Fire Marshal or Division of the State Architect Access Compliance Unit, shall take precedence over private plan check review comments, in the event of conflicts.
  4. Seismic Safety Structural Peer Review: This review is required by the Trustees' policy on Seismic Safety. A CSU Seismic Review Board member assigned to the campus performs a peer review. In the event of disputes over interpretation of the Trustees' seismic safety policy, the full CSU Seismic Review Board will make the final determination under the authority of the University Building Official.
  5. Mechanical Peer Review: This review is required by the Trustees' policy on energy conservation. A CSU Mechanical Review Board member assigned to the campus performs a peer review. In the event of disputes over interpretation of the Trustees' mechanical policy, the full CSU Mechanical Review Board will make the final determination under the authority of the University Building Official.
  6. See PDF Document for Appendix A.