Electronic Plan and Document Submittal Guidelines

The policy outlined below establishes electronic plan, document, and signature submittal guidelines. All plans submitted to the City of Oakland shall follow these guidelines unless otherwise directed by the Director of Planning & Building.

Submittal Guidelines
Electronic Plans and Document Submittal Guidelines

For questions and common answers, visit our Permit & Services Questions Portal.


  • OVER THE COUNTER - All plans and documents to be submitted shall be provided on a thumb drive in unzipped files (see file naming conventions below)
  • ONLINE - All plans and documents to be submitted via the Online Permit Center shall be uploaded as unzipped files (see file naming conventions below)
  • All digital documents shall be in Portable Document Format (PDF) and compatible with Adobe Acrobat 8 or newer ***Note: PDF Portfolios will not be accepted as part of your submittal package***
  • Plan files shall be first-generation, vector-based PDFs that have been directly converted from the computer-aided drafting (CAD) applications (e.g., AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, MicroStation, TurboCAD etc.) in which they were created
  • All layers must be flattened
  • Scanned plans (i.e., plans, elevations, sections, details) will not be accepted unless the plan sheet was hand drawn
  • Scanned plans must be scanned to scale or provide dimensions
  • Plan sets shall be compiled as one file. Plan sets that are not compiled will not be accepted
  • PDF document security settings must allow staff to mark up the PDF file and create comments. Electronic signature restriction settings should not be used on forms or drawings. (See SIGNATURE Policy)
  • Page Orientation - All plans must be oriented, so the top of the page is always at the top of the monitor and set to landscape. A north arrow must be provided on all plans
  • All supplemental information must be oriented, so the top of the page is always at the top of the monitor in either portrait or landscape format based on the supporting documents provided
  • All supplemental information must be sized at 8 1/2" x 11"
  • Professional stamps/seals shall be affixed to plans and documents as required (please see DIGITAL SIGNATURE)
  • All colors must be removed from all plans and documents (except for grey or hatched shading)
  • Leave a 4” x 3" space at the top right corner of the building plans for City approval stamp
  • 24" x 36" (Minimum) - Large Construction
  • PDF exhibits must be generated at a prescribed scale (i.e., ¼" = 1'-0", or 1/8" = 1'-0") for staff to verify dimensions and areas within the file, using built-in measuring tools
  • 11" x 17" (Minimum) - Minor Construction
  • All revisions must be submitted with a summary by permit number and date


Design professionals, such as Architects and Engineers, whose "wet" signature is required for the submittal of hard copy plans will be required to obtain a "digital signature" key for signature of electronically submitted plans.

A "Digital Signature" is required when strong authentication is necessary because it contains encrypted information that is unique to the signer and can be easily verified. Digital technology requires each signer to have a token, smart card, or other physical device issued by a trusted organization (usually a company certified by a government) that verifies the signer's identity before issuing the token. With this technology, every document must be opened and signed one at a time - signatures cannot be applied en masse

For a complete list of approved digital signature certificate authorities, please visit the California Secretary of State website.

You may contact individual certificate authorities for their requirements to create a digital signature.

For more information regarding California State Law requirements regarding digital signatures, please visit the California Secretary of State's website.


Non-design professionals shall sign plans via electronic signature.

An "Electronic Signature" can be set up by anyone using common programs such as Adobe and Outlook without an independent vetting process or electronic key, and most include a stamp of the date and time the signature was applied. Electronic signatures are accepted and used worldwide for many business transactions including e-mail signature blocks.

For more information on how to create an Electronic Signature with Digital ID, please visit the following website: http://www.adobepress.com/articles/article.asp? p=170816l&sea Nu m=4

You may download free Adobe Reader software by clicking on the link below:


Begin with the Project Address when naming files and follow the formats (examples) below:

0000 Time St-1st Submittal-Architectural Drawings

0000 Time St-1st Submittal-Structural Calculations

0000 Time St-1st Submittal-Truss Calculations

Posted: July 18th, 2022 5:44 PM

Last Updated: July 19th, 2022 11:14 AM

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