Basics of Building Codes, Zoning, and Permits Part 1 | Victorville Contractor

Building codes, zoning laws, and the permitting process can be complex and confusing for many people who are considering a building project. While building contractors like Murphy Construction typically handle all building permit applications and assure that their projects are built to code, understanding the basics about permits and zoning can help streamline a building project and improve communication between owner and building contractor.

Building codes are based on a nationally used standard called the International Building Code, or IBC. These codes are designed to protect the safety and health of building occupants and were first introduced in the U.S. to reduce deaths resulting from building fires. Since then, they have become much more complex and now specify many details of construction related to structural engineering, allowable building materials, fire safety, and other established standards.

When an architectural plan is submitted to the local building department for approval, it is checked against the IBC codes for compliance. This plan checking process also looks at the zoning restrictions in the proposed project location to determine if the proposed usage of the building is allowed in that area.

Zoning Laws and Building Permits in the High Desert

Zoning ordinances are documents containing detailed maps of the community and a written text specifying the allowable usage of land and building types in districts shown on the maps. The most common types of zoning districts are commercial, residential, agricultural, and industrial. Zoning district boundary lines typically follow streets and property lines.

The text of the zoning ordinances explains in words the regulations governing each zoning area. Besides defining the allowed types of land use, this text also details allowable lot sizes, the maximum height of buildings, and requirements for building setbacks from the street and property lines.

In San Bernardino County, permits for building projects are handled through the Count Land Use Services Department. The Department has a main office in San Bernardino and satellite offices in Hesperia, Barstow, Big Bear, Rancho Cucamonga, Twin Peaks, and Joshua Tree. Besides Building and Code Enforcement services, the Department also includes the Planning Department, Mining, Fire Hazard Abatement, and Land Development offices.

Finding out More about Zoning and Permits for Your Project

Murphy Construction is a High Desert building expert with lots of knowledge about local permitting and zoning requirements for residential and commercial building projects, big and small. Contact us for a consultation about your project.