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Bob Kellar: Ensuring homeowner safety, one permit at a time

Live from City Hall

Posted: September 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Did you know that last year the city of Santa Clarita issued more than 3,400 construction permits, ranging from multimillion-dollar shopping centers and office buildings to small homeowner projects, such as patio covers and water heater replacements?

Generally, when the public hears about state and local building-code permits, household improvement projects generally don’t usually come to mind. However, obtaining a permit for your home project is just as important as securing approval for a major construction project.

Believe it or not, building permits are required for most home improvement projects, including new patio covers, decks, block walls, even replacement of old equipment such as water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners or water pipes.

Permits are also needed for construction projects, alterations, additions, and miscellaneous plumbing, mechanical and electrical installation.

Safety is a top priority for the city of Santa Clarita. The city’s Building and Safety Division works closely with the community to ensure that building projects meet the highest standards of safety through the permitting and inspection process.

The city’s building and safety process involves plan review, permit issuance, inspections, certificates of occupancy and records maintenance for all new private construction.

One of the benefits of obtaining a permit through the city’s Building and Safety Division is the ability to increase the value of your house when selling or refinancing property.

A permit with a final-inspection approval by the city inspector ensures that your household project is thoroughly reviewed and evaluated for compliance with State-sanctioned safety protocols and building codes.

Residents can also save money on homeowner insurance by having the Building and Safety Division approve construction plans.

Santa Clarita currently has one of the best insurance ratings in California, helping property owners save money on required home insurance. Additionally, Santa Clarita residents can save money on monthly utility bills by installing a new energy efficient water heater, furnace or air conditioner.

Be sure to obtain a city permit to verify that improvements meet the state Energy Commission standards for maximum energy efficiency.

With professional architects, engineers, inspectors, and friendly support staff, your city staff is happy to assist you in achieving compliance with construction regulations.

For some Santa Clarita residents, home-improvement projects can be stressful and confusing. Understanding that time is valuable, the city established a permit center on the first floor of City Hall to help streamline the process. This is done by bringing together various divisions within the city in one easy-to-access location at City Hall.

The new permit center features a centralized location for city planning, building and safety, traffic and development staff to assist customers by saving time and dramatically improving communication between city departments.

The one-stop permit shop provides residents with knowledgeable staff to help explain city permitting in plain language, as well as move the building process along with greater ease so residents can get on with their plans.

The city’s Building and Safety Division has standardized engineered plans already available for many household projects, allowing homeowners to obtain a permit right over the counter. The process is fast, simple and, most importantly, ensures work meets state and local safety codes.

Additionally, the new permit center compliments the city’s recently launched ePlans system. The new and innovative online platform allows everyone to submit their plans via the web for approval by the agencies that need to view them.

It’s important to keep in mind that before hiring a contractor, homeowners check references and verify the status of his/her license through the Contractors State License Board at cslb.ca.gov. 

To apply for a permit, check the status of a permit, pay permit fees or find out more information, visit Santa-Clarita.com/ePermits.

For additional information or questions, call (661) 255-4935 or stop by the city of Santa Clarita’s Building and Safety Division in Suite 140 on the first floor of City Hall.

Bob Kellar is a Santa Clarita City Councilman and can be reached at bkellar@santa-clarita.com.

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