Phased Approval Permits

For information about building permits, visit the permit center.


In order to meet tight construction schedules, it can be beneficial for certain projects to divide the work into phases prior to the full plan review being completed. The California Building Code recognizes this need and has a provision in CBC 107.3.3 that allows for “phased approvals”. Phased approvals are permits issued for aspects of a project before the main building permit is approved. The most common example of this is a permit being issued for a foundation while the rest of the building is still in plan review.


It is important to note that Phased Approvals carry some risks to the contractor and owner. Since work is permitted for only a specific portion of a project, there is a potential that changes required elsewhere in the building will impact the work that was started early. Because of this, all phased approval requests must be carefully reviewed and approved by the Building Official prior to issuance. However, the approval by the Building Official does not guarantee a problem free process. The risk of a phased approval ultimately rests on the applicant.


Before a Phased approval Permit can be issued, the following steps must be completed

  1. The applicant must complete the Phased Approval Permit Application on the reverse of this form and submit it to the Chief Building Official (or his or her designee) for review. 
  2. If the Building Official approves the Phased Approval Permit application, the applicant must prepare a separate set of plans that covers the scope of work for which the phased approval is being requested.
  3. The plans for the specific phase must be submitted for review under the normal plan check process. The Phased Approval will have a permit number and inspection records just like any other permit. Work on the site will be limited to the scope indicated on the approved set of plans.