About Construction Projects in Sunnyvale, CA
Before starting any construction work in Sunnyvale, in the heart of the Silicon Valley, make sure you have the necessary permits. Not only will this keep you on the right side of the law, but it will also help you organize your work and keep your people safe.
According to California state law, “no building or structure may be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted, or demolished” without a permit. If you’re doing those things, get the right paperwork. If you’re unsure, ask.
Electrical, HVAC, construction, demolition, lead, and asbestos removal, and plumbing all require their certification.
California presents special challenges. Research what seismic design category you’re working in, and be sure your construction is earthquake-safe. Also, check the wind risk category. Study the “Blueprint for a Clean Bay” requirements, and contain your run off responsibly.
You can easily get permits for smaller jobs at the Sunnyvale website. Larger jobs require the help of a licensed professional designer. The following are examples of when you’ll need an architect or engineer:
- New buildings or additions to existing buildings
- Interior or exterior structural alterations
- Storage racks over 8 feet
- Changes in egress
- Roof-mounted equipment
- Projects with mixed occupancy
Sunnyvale takes quality design seriously. A professional designer is a strong part of your team for now and the future, so find a good one.
Some repairs and renovations do not need permits. The following are exempted:
- Fences up to 7 feet high
- Minor electrical and plumbing repair where no wiring or piping is replaced
- Paint, tile, carpet, wall paper, cabinets, countertops, and other finishing work
- Movable racks, fixtures, counters, and partitions without electricity under 5 feet 10 inches tall
- One-story shed or playhouse less than 121 square feet without electricity, plumbing, or heating
- Retaining wall up to 4 feet high not supporting a fence, sloping ground, a foundation, or hazardous liquids
California has a unified state license board for contractors. Start the application process at cslb.ca.gov. You need to pass both a trade examination and one for law and business. There you can also find out about the journeyman process for learning the skills of a contractor.
Be sure your general liability insurance is up-to-date. Protect your people from injury, your equipment from damage, and your business from future litigation.
California requires higher-than-average minimums compared to other states. You’ll need at least $5 million in bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage and $1 million in automobile liability and employer’s liability. You’ll also need a course of construction insurance equal to the completed value of the project with no coinsurance penalty provisions.
Be sure to be safe when working with heights. Use the right equipment. Consider renting some aerial equipment to get workers and gear up to the work location securely. You should use specialized machines like manlifts, forklifts, scissor lifts, and boom lifts. Don’t cut corners with a ladder or makeshift scaffolding when you need an industrial lift.
Sunnyvale has its own particular rules, so be sure to ask questions and get the right permits, licenses, and insurance. Your work and reputation will benefit from it.