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Tub and Shower Enclosure Permit Requirements
The on-line permit is available for properties in Sunnyvale with a residential zoning district. Zoning district information is available on-line by clicking on E-Zoning.

A permit is required for bathroom remodels that include the replacement of the tub/shower enclosure, relocation of plumbing fixtures or cabinets, or if additional plumbing fixtures will be installed. A permit is not required for replacement of plumbing fixtures (sink or toilet) in the same location. If a permit is required, it shall be obtained prior to the start of the remodel.

Following is a listing of the general requirements based on the 2013 California Building Code, 2013 California Residential Code, 2013 California Electrical Code, 2013 California Plumbing Code, 2013 California Energy Efficiency Standards, and the California Civil Code. This brochure is intended to provide general information, contact the Building Safety Division for any questions or additional information.

Tub/Shower and Water Closet Requirements
  • Any new or replaced mixing valve in a shower (including over a tub) shall be pressure balancing set at a maximum 120˚ F. Any new or replaced water-filler valve in bathtubs/whirlpools shall have a temperature limiting device set at a maximum of 120˚ F. The water heater thermostat cannot be used to meet these provisions. (CPC 408.3, 409.4)

  • Shower stalls shall be a minimum finished interior of 1,024 square inches, be capable of encompassing a 30 inch diameter circle. Any doors shall swing out of the enclosure have a clear opening of 22 inches minimum. (CPC 408.5, 408.6)

  • Shower stalls and bathtubs with shower heads installed, shall have walls finished with a non-absorbent surface for a minimum of 6 feet above the floor. (CBC 1210 and CRC R307.2)

  • Hydro-massage tubs (i.e. Jacuzzi tubs) shall have access to the motor, be supplied by a GFCI protected dedicated circuit, and be listed by a recognized testing agency (i.e. UL). All metal cables, fittings, piping, or other metal surfaces, within 5 feet of the inside wall of the Hydro-massage tub shall be properly bonded. Hydro-massage tubs shall be bonded with a minimum #8 AWG bare copper wire and the bonding shall be accessible. (CEC 680.60)

  • The water closet shall have a clearance of 30 inches wide (15 inches on center) and 24 inches in front. (CPC 402.5)

  • Where the water closet (or other plumbing fixture) comes into contact with the wall or floor, the joint shall be caulked and sealed to be watertight. (CPC 402.2)

Water Efficient Plumbing Fixtures (California Civil Code 1101.4(a))

The California Civil Code requires that all existing non-compliant plumbing fixtures (based on water efficiency) throughout the house be upgraded whenever a building permit is issued for remodeling improvements. Residential building constructed after January 1, 1994 are exempt from this requirement. The following table shows the fixtures that are considered to be non-complaint and the type of water-conserving plumbing fixture that should be installed:
Type of Fixture Non-Complaint Plumbing Fixture Required Water-Conserving Plumbing
Fixture (maximum flow-rates)
Water Closet (Toilet) Greater than 1.6 gallons/flush 1.28 gallons/flush
Showerhead Greater than 2.5 gallons/minute 2.0 gallons/minute at 80psi
Faucet -Bathroom Greater than 2.2 gallons/minute 1.5 gallons/minute At 60 psi
Faucet - Kitchen Greater than 2.2 gallons/minute 1.8 gallons/minute at 60 psi (average)

Tempered Glazing (CBC 2406.4, 2403.1 and CRC 308.1, R308.4)

Tempered glazing shall be installed in the locations listed below. Tempered glazing shall be permanently identified by a manufacturer marking that is permanently applied and cannot be removed without being destroyed (e.g. sand blasted, acid etched, ceramic fired, laser etched, or embossed).
  • Within a portion of wall enclosing a tub/shower where the bottom exposed edge of the glazing is less than 60 inches above the standing surface and drain inlet.

  • Within 60 inches of a tub/shower where the glazing is less than 60 inches above the walking surface.

Electrical/Lighting Requirements
  • All receptacles shall be GFCI protected and tamper-resistant (TR). New/additional outlets shall have a dedicated 20-amp circuit. (CEC 210.8, 210.11, 406.11)

  • Exhaust fans with minimum ventilation rate of 50 CFM are required in all bathrooms, even if an operable window is installed. Exhaust fans and lighting shall have separate control switches (even if a combination unit is installed). The exhaust fan may need to be supplied by a GFCI protected circuit based on the manufacturer’s requirements. (CEES 150.0(o))

  • Lighting fixtures located within 3 feet horizontally and 8 feet vertically of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold shall be listed for a damp location, or listed for wet locations where subject to shower spray. (CEC 410.10)

  • Lighting shall meet both of the following requirements (CEES 150.0(k)5):

    • A minimum of one high efficiency fixture, as defined in the table below, shall be installed
      Lamp Power Rating Minimum Lamp Efficiency
      5 watts or less 30 lumens per watt
      over 5 watts to 15 watts 45 lumens per watt
      over 15 watts to 40 watts 60 lumens per watt
      over 40 watts 90 lumens per watt

    • All other lighting shall be controlled with a vacancy sensor switch that requires a manual on activation (does not automatically turn on) and automatically turns off within 30 minutes after the room is vacated.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms (CBC 907.2.11, CRC 314.3, CRC 315.1)

Smoke alarms shall be installed on the ceiling or wall (between 4” and 12” of the ceiling) in all sleeping rooms, each area/hallway adjacent to sleeping rooms, each story of the building, and in any basement. Smoke alarms shall be replaced 10 years after the date of manufacture listed on the alarm (if no date is listed the alarm shall be replaced). Newly installed smoke alarms shall have a 10-year battery.

Carbon monoxide alarms shall be installed on the ceiling or wall (above the door header) in each area/hallway adjacent to sleeping rooms, each story of the building, and any basement. Carbon monoxide alarms are not required if there is no fuel-burning appliances and where the garage is detached from the house.

The Tub-Shower Enclosure Permit is NOT available on-line if you are:
  • Removing or replacing walls.
  • Adding, removing, or changing the size of windows.
  • Moving the existing tub to a different location or adding a new tub.
If any of the above conditions apply, the permit shall be issued at the One-Stop Permit Center, City Hall, 456 W Olive Avenue. Specific process information is available at the Building Division web site.

  • The number of inspections required depends on the type of underlayment used in the tub/shower enclosure. A rough plumbing and electrical inspection should be scheduled for the tub/shower valve and electrical wiring prior to installation of any wallboard. The next inspections scheduled should be for the underlayment and the shower pan test, if applicable. Additional inspections may be needed based on extent of the project. The final inspection should be scheduled after all the work is completed.
City of Sunnyvale Community Development E-OneStop