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Permits & Licenses
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What is a tenant improvement and when is a building permit required?
A tenant improvement is any alteration, renovation, and/or remodeling of an existing commercial or industrial tenant space or structure. Before any tenant improvement construction begins, a building permit must be obtained from the City of Merced. You are advised to check with the Current Planning Department for any zoning regulation.
Are accessibility requirements limited for some alteration projects?
Yes. Consider the following criteria for accessibility requirements:
  1. Alterations to entrances, toilet facilities, elevators, steps, and handrails to meet the accessibility requirements may be limited to the actual work of the project. Contact a plan checker for further information.
  2. Alterations to the meet the "readily achievable" requirements of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act may be limited to the actual work of the project. Contact a plan checker for further information.
  3. Projects which consist only of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and re-roofing.
  4. Electrical work not involving placement of switches and receptacles.
  5. Cosmetic work that does not affect items regulated by this code such as painting, are not considered alteration projects for the purposes of meeting the accessibility requirements.
Do I need a license for my bicycle?
Yes, all bikes are rquired to be licensed. You can obtain a bike license at the Police Department.  You can either fill out the form on-line and bring it in to the Police Station or fill one out at the station. For the form you need the following information off the bike: Serial number, wheel size, make, brand and frame size.

There is a charge of $5.00 for a license, and it is good for 3 years. 

You may want to bring the bike down to the station with you to ensure you have all the needed information. 

All bicycle licenses are done at the Central Police Station at 611 W. 22nd Street, Merced, between 8:00 a.m.- 1200 Noon & 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

 

How can I qualify for an exemption?
If the value of your project is less than $80,647.06 and the Building Official finds that compliance with the handicap access code creates an unreasonable hardship, compliance with the access requirements may be limited to the area where the work is to take place.
For purpose of this exemption, an unreasonable hardship exists where the cost of providing an accessible entrance, path of travel, sanitary facilities, drinking fountains and public phones is disproportionate to the cost of the project; that is, where it exceeds 20 percent of the cost of the project without these features.
Where the cost of alterations necessary to make these features fully accessible is disproportionate, access shall be provided to the extent that it can be without incurring disproportionate cost. In choosing which accessible elements to provide, priority should be given to those elements that will provide the greatest access, in the following order:
  1. an accessible entrance;
  2. an accessible route to the altered area;
  3. at least one accessible rest room for each sex;
  4. accessible telephones;
  5. accessible drinking fountains; and
  6. when possible, additional accessible elements such as parking, storage, and alarms.

Please note that for projects that are valued at less than $80,647.06, 20% of the total construction cost [NOT including features (1)-(6) above] must be spent on making an accessible entrance, the path travel, sanitary facilities, telephones, drinking fountains and making additional element accessible, in that order of priority.
For exemption qualification, please submit a written proposal for review by the Building Official which describes the required feature and costs associated with each improvement that will equal 20% of the value of the proposed construction.

How do I arrange for an inspection?
Call the Inspection Services recorder at 723-CITY to request an inspection when the work is completed. No work is to be concealed without inspection approval. Please refer to the Inspection Recorder handout when calling for an inspection.
What does the permit cost?
Contact the Inspection Services Department at (209) 385-6861 for permit fees.
What if my project is not in the City of Merced?
If your project is not in the City of Merced, you may still connect to the Sewer System if you are in the service area and a health hazard exists according to the Merced County Health Department. You must submit the Development Application form (available at the counter) to the Current Planning Department to be approved by the City Council. After the City Council approval, you may then apply for a sewer service connection. There is a $75.00 fee for preparation and approval of the Development Application.
What materials do I submit?
For detailed information about submittal materials refer to the Tenant Improvement Plan Submittal Checklist available at the Inspection Services Counter.
What materials do I submit?
For detailed information about submittal materials, please refer to the Single-Family Addition Submittal Requirement Checklist available at the Inspection Services counter or in the download information of the Building Deparment web page.
What materials do I submit?
For detailed information about submittal materials, please refer to the Commercial Industrial Submittal Requirement Checklist available at the Inspection Services counter.
What materials do I submit?
For detailed information about submittal materials, please refer to the Multi-Family Submittal Requirement Checklist available at the Inspection Services counter.
When is a building permit required for a multi-family dwelling?
Before any construction begins on a multi-family dwelling, a building permit and other related permits must be obtained from the City of Merced. Check with the Current Planning Department if there are any development review actions required before applying for a building permit
When is a building permit required for a single-family dwelling addition?
Before any construction begins on an addition to a single-family dwelling, a building permit and other related permits must be obtained from the City of Merced. Check with the Current Planning Department if there are any development review actions required before applying for a building permit.
When is a fire alarm system required?
A fire alarm system is required when indicated by the Uniform Fire Code, article 14. Required installations include, but not limited to:
  1. New Construction: Manual and automatic evacuation alarms for apartment buildings 3 or more stories or containing 16 or more dwelling units, manual evacuation alarms for assemblies of 300 or more persons, automatic alarms for non-rated corridors in office buildings equipped with sprinklers, and fire sprinkler supervisory alarms.
    A fire alarm system includes initiating devices, audible and visual notification devices, an annunciator panel, wiring, and battery backup. Central station monitoring may be required in certain situations as determined by the Fire Marshal.
  2. Existing Construction: All systems that were required when the building was constructed must be maintained in operable condition. If repairs, alterations, or additions exceed 50% of the current assessed value or increase the floor area more than 10% [only if exceeds (a) above], the building must comply with current code requirements.
When is a fire hydrant required?
Hydrants are required when the water supply for fire protection is either inadequate or more than 150 feet distance from buildings to be protected. Fire hydrant locations and distribution should conform to California Fire Code Appendices III-A and III-B.
When is a fire sprinkler system required?
  1. New Construction: An automatic sprinkler system shall be installed throughout apartment houses with 3 or more stories in height or containing 16 or more dwelling units, in congregate residences of 3 or more stories in height and having an occupant load of 50 or more, in hotels 3 or more stories in height or containing 20 or more guest rooms.
    In commercial buildings exceeding 5,000 sq. ft. in floor area all automatic fire sprinkler system is required. Additionally, fire sprinklers are required where indicated by chapter 38 of the Uniform Building Code. such locations include, but not limited to, basements larger than 1,500 sq. ft. in floor area, all multi-theater complexes, amusement buildings greater than 1,000 sq. ft. in floor area, welding areas 3,000 sq. ft. or larger woodworking facilities , and most other hazardous locations.
  2. Existing Construction: In existing construction an automatic sprinkler is required whenever repair, alteration, or additions exceeds 50% of current assessed value of the structure, increase the floor area more than 10% [only if exceeds requirement (1) above] or increasing the floor area to over the maximum allowable by Uniform Building Code for construction type, or other requirements as in (1) above. In commercial buildings an automatic sprinkler is required for any building exceeding 5,000 sq. ft. and is changing its primary use as classified in the UBC. References: UFC 10.51 (b), 1.103, UBC 502.
When is a mechanical permit required?
A mechanical permit is required for the installation, alteration, repair, replacement, or remodeling of any mechanical system such as heating, cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration.
When is a plumbing permit required?
A plumbing permit is required for the installation, alteration, repair, replacement or remodeling of any plumbing system
When is a public works encroachment permit required?
A public works encroachment permit is required whenever work or activity is performed within the City easements or rights-of-way, such as:
  • Street improvements (pavement, curb, gutter, sidewalk, and/or driveway);
  • Public utility installation(s) (PG&E, PacBell, Cable TV,...);
  • Storm drain installations and/or connections;
  • Sanitary sewer installations and/or connections; and
  • Water services and main installations.
  • Monitoring well (installation, monitoring and abandonment).
When is a sewer service connection required?
A sewer service connection is required for any new construction or any existing building in case of a septic tank failure. The process for a sewer connection on a new construction begins when a building permit application has been submitted
When is a water service connection required?
A water service connection is required for any new construction or any existing building if the service does not meet the current demand. The process for a water connection begins when a permit application has been submitted.
When is an electrical permit required?
An electrical permit is required for the installation, alteration, repair, replacement and/or extension of electrical wiring and equipment.
When is an industrial or a commercial building permit required?
Before any construction begins on a commercial or industrial building, a building permit and other related permits must be obtained from the City of Merced. Check with the Current Planning Department to see if there are any development review actions required before applying for a building permit.
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