Planning & Building's Response to Alameda County Shelter in Place Orders

Date Posted: May 3rd, 2020 @ 9:00 PM
Last Updated: August 26th, 2021 @ 10:02 AM

Need Quick Help? Planning & Building Services - Quick Reference Guide

In accordance with the Alameda County Office Health Officer’s orders, the Planning & Building Department's onsite Permit Center counters remain closed, though online permitting for residential and commercial construction, in-person inspections and code enforcement services have resumed.


Shelter in Place graphic with stick figure shown in house image

As per the latest Alameda County Order, each project must comply with the State’s Industry Guidance, which requires a work-site specific protection plan (Appendix A), as well as CalOSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (see resource links below).

To comply with the Order, the Planning & Building Department shall ask all project representatives requesting inspections to confirm that they:

  1. have read the County Order; and
  2. are adhering to the site work conditions mandated under the County Order.

If any project representative cannot confirm that is the case, then the Planning and Building Department shall hold off on that project inspection until the project representative can confirm adherence to the Order for site operations and working conditions.

Please find the relevant resources here:

Alameda County Shelter-in-Place

Permits & Application Processing

Building permit graphic showing sample blueprints and fee calculator

Our onsite Permit Center counters are currently closed. The City will continue to process applications across all categories of projects for permit approval consistent with the City’s development regulations. Please read the following information to understand our current procedures and protocols.


Apply via Online Permit Center:

Registered and activated users of our Online Permit Center may now apply online for a total of 12 Building Permit types, including:

  1. Solar Electric Panels
  2. Residential Building Combination (1-2 units only), Kitchen Remodel and/or Bathroom Remodel and/or Window Replacement; will also include any related Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing work
  3. Residential Building Alteration (3-5 units), including Kitchen Remodel and/or Bathroom Remodel and/or Window Replacement; separate permits required for related Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing work
  4. Non-Residential Building Alteration (6 units and above or commercial), including Kitchen Remodel and/or Bathroom Remodel and/or Window Replacement; separate permits required for related Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing work
  5. Non Residential Mechanical Alteration
  6. Non Residential Plumbing Alteration
  7. Non Residential Electrical Alteration
  8. Reroofing Certificate
  9. Insulation Certificate
  10. Residential - Plumbing
  11. Residential - Mechanical
  12. Residential – Electrical

Need some personalized guidance? We've added a new Permit Questions Portal with answers to some of the most common questions concerning permits and the application process. For the selected permits listed above, we also offer an online Permit Wizard to walk you through the process of scoping your project and directing you to all the applications and forms you'll need.

Apply by E-mail or Digital Inbox:

To submit your application through our online Digital Inbox, please read our Electronic Submission Guidelines and Digital Inbox Instruction Guide.

Please note that our account and our Digital Inbox (for larger application submissions with files totaling more than 20MB) are monitored Monday-Friday, 8am to 4pm. The account receives hundreds of emails daily. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on City services, we are experiencing a severe backlog. We are aware of the importance of your requests; please know that our team is working diligently to screen and properly route all emails received.

Since the onsite Permit Center is currently closed, things are working a little differently than when applications were submitted in person over the counter. Electronic requests, which are now our means of receiving information, are reviewed for processing and issuance during normal business hours, Monday – Friday 8am – 4pm. As an example, if you submit an application after 4pm, it will be screened for processing the next day in the order it was received.

Please wait 48 hours for our response. Please do not submit the same request multiple times as this can cause duplicate records, ultimately slowing down the process and our ability to respond accurately.

NO EXPEDITED REQUESTS: During this unprecedented time, we are not accepting expedited requests.

Due to the volume of plan submittals under our automated system, we can no longer accept submittals via fax. Please be advised:

  1. We do provide several alternatives (see; Digital Inbox [for applications over 20MB]; and our Online Permit Center for selected permits) that will allow you to submit your applications, questions, and supplemental information where they may be reliably tracked and processed. The use of these options is explained more fully in the "Applications" paragraphs above.
  2. Please do not send any planning or building applications, revisions to applications, or any other information pertaining to building permits that have been issued or are in progress by fax.
  3. Staff is not monitoring information submitted by fax, and so we ask that you use the methods described on this page (; Digital Inbox [for applications over 20MB]; and our Online Permit Center for selected permits) to submit your documents.

Projected Response and Service Times:

We understand this unprecedented time has been challenging for many of our customers. It is our ultimate intention to return to the response times established prior to the Alameda County Shelter-In-Place Orders going into effect, as they are updated.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to assist in getting your application started AND moving, please note that your application is considered to be completely submitted for processing ONLY after application materials are received and all application fees have been paid.

Average Processing Timelines:

Please note that each of the following durations from permit application submittal to permit issuance presumes complete information in the permit application.

  • Planning & Zoning review of projects NOT requiring public notices or Planning Commission review take up to 2 weeks
  • Appointments for initial Planning/Zoning Intake review are scheduled up to 6 weeks out from the date of submittal
    • After complete application submittal, project will be assigned to a planner. Then, the review process will take at least 30 days or more, depending on the complexity of the project
  • Permits review without plan requirements takes up to 3 weeks
  • Permits review requiring Plan Check review takes up to 4 weeks
    • Additional time is required to review by plan checker; takes up to 4 weeks to receive comments
    • Additional time for Final Plan Check (after Plan Check review is approved) takes up to 6 weeks
    • Additional time to issue permit takes up to 3 days with proper documentation and all fees paid
  • Mechanical, Electrical or Plumbing (MEP) permits take up to 4 days for permit issuance

How to Obtain Status on Your Submittals:

Via Online Permit Center:

  • Watch our Check Your Permit Status Online video for instructions on how to find the latest status of your permit application through our Online Permit Center (for selected permit types only)

Via E-Mail:

  • Please write your subject line in the following format to enable a faster response:
    • “Status Request for Planning or Building (address of property and permit number if you have one)”
  • If you are submitting a revision to your plans, please write the following in your subject line to enable a faster response:
    • “Revisions for Planning or Building (address of property and permit number)"

Status requests are also placed into a queue for clerical staff to respond. The goal is to respond within 48 hours; however, there may be a delay for status request updates as we prioritize routing submissions for processing.

Planning and Building Permits


Photo of building inspectors looking at project plans at job site

In anticipation of the need to implement Oakland's Administrative Instruction 604 due to wildfire smoke, please note that our procedures have been updated as follows:

Requesting Inspections:

Permit Inspectors are NOT able to schedule inspections.

Please use our City of Oakland Building Inspection Request app for your mobile device:

To schedule by phone please call: (510) 238-3444

Remote Inspections:

Permit Inspectors may offer remote inspection based on project type. For information about remote inspections, please visit: City of Oakland | Remote Building Permit Inspections (

During extremely poor air quality events, all inspections will be conducted remotely until further notice.

We can perform remote inspections using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Facetime.

Please visit our Remote Building Permit Inspections page for more information.

Inspection Procedures:

To prepare your digital plans for the job site prior to an inspection, please read our Issuance Guidelines for Plans Required from Digital Sources for City Project Site Inspections.

Permit Inspectors will call the inspection request contact to provide their estimated time of arrival (ETA) during their morning call (8:00-9:30A). Permit Inspector will NOT be calling from a 238 prefix, they will be calling from City issued mobile devices.

Permit Inspectors are required to wear Face Coverings as per City of Oakland City Administration's face-covering requirements.

Upon arrival at the project site, each City Inspector will request that the site superintendent provide a copy of the County Order's site operations and work condition requirements. If compliance cannot be verified, the inspection will need to be rescheduled.

The City Inspector also reserves the right to cancel any inspection at the project site if the Inspector observes any violation of Best Management Practices, the presence of Hazardous Conditions, or other safety concerns.

The project representative may request an inspection once the violation has been addressed.

Building Inspections

Planning Commission

Image of Zoom logo adjacent to photo of steps leading up to Oakland City Hall

With the revised Emergency Order No. 3 of the City of Oakland, the City began reconvening Planning Commission meetings (online only) on June 3, 2020 at 3 pm (see full schedule here). As such, the Planning Bureau has resumed making administrative decisions on projects appealable to the Planning Commission and scheduling entitlement cases to come before that body.

Planning Commission

Planning & Building Services - Quick Reference Guide

Covid-19 Updates:

Conditions and information continue to change rapidly. Please check back regularly for City updates relating to COVID-19.