It depends. If the wall is 30 inches high or less, you do not need a permit. Anything that you’re building over three feet requires a building permit. To find out if your retaining wall needs a permit, call (619) 446-5000. Your retaining wall contractor should be able to advise you, as well.
Those building garden or retaining walls over 30 inches high, do need a permit. That means either you or someone from Superior Stucco goes down to the city of San Diego’s Development Review Center on 1222 First Avenue. You can call (619) 446-5300 for appointments or (619) 446-5000 for general information. If you don’t have an appointment, this process entails standing in line (much like at the DMV) waiting for your turn. Sometimes agents are very accommodating. Other times, they require more documentation and plans like a plot plan for your property showing the improvements, and type of construction you plan to use. Take all plans with you when you go.
Lucky applicants get their projects fully permitted right on the spot, over the counter. A retaining wall is a relatively simple project, and we’ve had good luck getting immediate permitting. Others are asked to leave plans for review. In those cases, permits may take days or weeks to be issued.
San Diego regulates construction by issuing permits and inspecting new structures and remodels. Contrary to popular belief, city building codes intend keep all residents safe, not just cause trouble!
Homeowners are required to build according to plans submitted. Changes require getting additional approval from the city. When work is completed, an inspector checks to make sure all work is up to code. The good news here is that when you go to sell your house, you can reassure realtors and prospective buyers that all improvements are up to code.