Water Piping 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.
Following is a listing of the general requirements for replacing water lines based on the 2016 California Plumbing Code, 2016 California Electrical Code, and the Sunnyvale Municipal Code. This brochure is intended to provide general information, contact the Building Safety Division for any questions or additional information.
Water distribution pipes shall be copper (Type L or M), malleable iron, galvanized steel, CPVC, PEX, or other approved material and shall be in accordance with NSF 61. (CPC 604)
Note: where plastic piping is used, a label shall be fastened to the main electrical meter panel stating, "This structure has a nonmetallic water distribution lines." (IAPMO IS 8-2006)
All domestic water piping in the following conditions/locations shall be insulated (CEES 150.0(j)2A):
The first 5’ of hot and cold water pipes from the storage tank (i.e. water heater tank).
Hot water piping with a diameter of ¾” or larger.
All piping associated with a hot water recirculation system regardless of the pipe diameter.
Piping from the water heater to a storage tank or between storage tanks.
Hot water piping buried below grade.
All hot water pipes from the water heater to the kitchen fixtures.
All materials used in the water distribution system shall be of like materials, except valves and similar devices, unless otherwise approved by the Chief Building Official (CPC 604.1). Following are acceptable methods of joining dissimilar materials:
Joints from copper tubing to threaded pipe shall be made by the use of brass adapter fittings.
Dielectric unions shall be used at all point of connection where dissimilar metals are used. Listed clamps and bonding jumpers shall be installed at all such connections (CEC 250.68(B) and 250.104).
When connecting plastic pipe to other types of piping, approved types of fittings and adapters designed for the specific transition shall be used.
Non-removable backflow prevention devices are required on all hose bibs. (CPC 603.3)
If shear walls, braced wall panels, or firewalls are compromised or altered during the re-pipe, these areas are required to be inspected prior to covering.
Grounding and Bonding Requirements
Grounding shall consist of a continuous grounding electrode conductor run from the panel to a ground rod (grounding electrode) and to the cold water pipe. Grounding of the electrical service at the main water line must be within the first 5’ of water piping into the building. The underground water service shall not be used as the grounding electrode without supplemental electrode. [CEC 250.52 (A)(1) and 250.53 (D)(2), 250.68(C)]
For new structures and additions to existing structures, a concrete encased ground electrode shall be installed. This shall consist of 20’ of ½” bare or zinc-coated rebar or bare copper wire in the portion of the footing in contact with earth. (CEC 250.52(A)(3)(1) and 250.52(A)(3)(2))
For existing structures, the grounding electrode shall be nonferrous (copper), listed, and not be less than 5/8” in diameter. The electrode shall be installed such that at least 8’ of length is in contract with the soil. The upper end of the electrode shall be flush with or below ground level unless the above-ground end and the grounding electrode conductor attachment is protected against physical damage. (CEC 250.52 (A)(5))
The required grounding electrode conductor (from electrode to panel) size is listed in the following table:
Bonding of the hot, cold, and gas lines is required when the electrical panel is replaced. Bonding of the hot, cold, and gas lines is required with water service replacements (if using a less conductive material than is existing) and for all re-pipes. Bonding shall consist of a continuous bond jumper installed at the water heater between the hot, cold, and gas lines. The bonding jumper shall be sized based on the following table. (CEC250.4(A)(4))
BONDING JUMPER SIZING (Table 250.102(C)(1))
Size of Main Panel
Aluminum or Copper-Clad Aluminum
The Water Piping Permit is NOT available on-line if you are:
Replacing or repairing the tub or tub-shower enclosure. See the e-Permits menu for those available permits.
Adding new water piping as part of a larger remodeling project.
Relocating plumbing fixtures, faucets, or valves.
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.
Two inspections are required, a rough and a final. The rough inspection should be scheduled when the new water line is installed and before it is covered up. A final inspection should be scheduled after all work is complete.