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

Date Posted: May 3rd, 2020 @ 9:00 PM
Last Updated: October 22nd, 2020 @ 5:59 PM

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

It is required that each project site comply with the protocols for operations that the County Orders cite under the Site Specific Protection Plan, Appendices B-1 and B-2. The Planning & Building Department shall ask all project representatives requesting inspections to confirm that they:

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

Please submit the “Acknowledgment of Alameda County Office of Health Officer Order” form along with your permit application.

If any project representative cannot confirm that is the case and submit the acknowledgment form (linked above), 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 appendices 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. Please read the following information on “Online Permitting Operations” to understand our current procedures and protocols.



The City will continue to process applications across all categories of project for permit approval consistent with the City’s development regulations. 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 Accela portal) 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 Accela portal) 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 Backlog Timelines:

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

  • If your application only requires Planning & Zoning approval, these reviews take 2 weeks. This does not apply to applications that require a public hearing. Examples include Zoning Clearance and approval of projects exempt from Design Review.
  • Permits ​without plans take 9-12 weeks
  • Permits requiring Plan Check take 10-13 weeks

How to Obtain Status on Your Submittals:

  • 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

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 from the Appendices. If the relevant Appendices are not produced, the inspection will need to be rescheduled until the documents can be produced on site.

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.

The City Inspector also reserves the right to cancel any inspection at the project site if the Inspector observes any violation of the County Order pertaining to site operations.

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.