Residential Accessory Structures

Obtaining a Building Permit

Accessory structures are small utility buildings and structures associated with a residential parcel. They include but are not limited to:

  • Pool house
  • Shed
  • Pump/well house
  • Carport
  • Guest house/cottage
  • Fence taller than six feet high
  • Decks
  • Gazebo
  • Retaining walls over four feet measured from the bottom of footing to top of wall
  • Water tanks greater than 5,000 gallons  

Accessory structures exempt from building permits:

If the accessory structure, with the exception of the guest house, is single story, detached, less than 120 square feet of floor area as measured from outside face of framing, has no electrical or plumbing installed, and used as a tool or storage shed, playhouse, and similar uses, it is exempt from a required permit. California Building Code §R105.2

If a deck does not exceed 30 inches above grade at any point, is not attached to a dwelling, less than 200 square feet in area, and does not serve the exit door required by Section R311.4 of the residential code, it is exempt from requiring a permit.

Accessory structures located in the Tahoe Basin:

If the accessory structure is located within the Tahoe Basin, a permit will be required to facilitate the review of  Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) requirements for the proposed structure.

Other structures exempt from permits include:

  • Water tanks on grade less than 5,000 gallons
  • Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops, and similar finish work
  • Pre-fab pools that are less than 24 inches deep.
  • Concrete sidewalks and driveways
  • Window awnings projecting less than 54" and do not require additional support.
  • Swings and other playground equipment.
  • Retaining walls that are not over four feet measured from the bottom of footing to top of wall, unless supporting a surcharge.
  • Fences not over 6 feet high.

Obtaining a Building Permit

  1. Building Services permit application requires the following: 

    • Complete the three part application and sign where applicable (signature must be verified by office personnel). If you are applying as owner-builder, you must be the owner of record and complete part four of the multi part application. If property ownership was recently changed a copy of the grant deed may be required at time of application.
    • When other than the owner or licensed contractor is applying for the permit, the second half of part four of the form must be completed, giving authority to sign as the owner's agent.
    • An owner or their agent must sign a Deed Restriction Certificate declaring conformance with any applicable deed restrictions and/or CC&R's for subject property.
    • If the property is within the architecturally controlled area of El Dorado Hills CSD or Cameron Park CSD, architectural approval of the plans from the district prior to permit issuance is a requirement. Failure to obtain approval may delay issuance of your permit.
    • Check with your individual association for any restrictions that may affect your construction even though Building Services does not enforce these restrictions.
    • Contractors acting as agent for the owner must have a current active California state contractors license, worker's compensation coverage, and a current El Dorado County Business License.
    • If your project involves greater than 4000 square feet of living area or disturbs 20,000 square feet or more of land area, or is located within an Important Biological Corridor (IBC), you must complete a General Plan consistency checklist.  

  2. When served by a public water/sewer district other than El Dorado Irrigation District, you must submit proof of service from the district prior to permit issuance. When serviced by EID, they will review your project and approve electronically. 

  3. When not served by public water/sewer, you must submit the perc test, septic design and well production report to the Environmental Management Department. This may only be submitted with or after building permit application. 

  4. If your parcel is located at or above the 4000 foot elevation, a  bear resistant garbage enclosure will be required. Contact Environmental Management for additional information. 

  5. An Encroachment permit is needed if you are connecting your new driveway to a County-maintained road. See the county  Fire Safe Regulations for driveway information.

Exemption from the permit requirement of the codes does not grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of the codes or county ordinances.