Seismic Retrofits

Seismic retrofits alter an existing structure to make it more resistant to seismic activity caused by earthquakes.

Date Posted: November 17th, 2020 @ 4:38 PM
Last Updated: May 12th, 2022 @ 11:06 AM

When Is a Permit Required?

Seismic retrofit graphic

A Building Permit is required to strengthen an existing building's resiliency to earthquake damage and collapse.

Buildings containing soft stories with 5 or more units, built before 1991, with two stories or more, and constructed with wood may be subject to a mandatory seismic retrofit (click here for a list of potentially subject buildings). For further info, please visit our Mandatory Soft Story Retrofit Program or refer to Oakland's Municipal Code Chapter 15.27 and Section 17.102.250.

Who Can Be Issued a Permit?

  1. Contractors who are licensed by the State of California with a classification appropriate for the work that will be performed and have a current Business Tax Certificate.
  2. Owners of a building or their legal representative.

How to Apply

Be prepared to provide the following:
  • Completed Building Permit Application
  • Construction plans
  • Structural calculations (as applicable)
  • Accessibility checklist (as applicable)


Ready to get started? First, make sure you are registered and activated at our Online Permit Center. For instructions, please visit our Planning & Building Video Tutorials webpage.


Once we receive your application and have created it in our system, we will review your plans. If your plans require corrections or if we need further information, we will contact you. If your plans are approved, we will contact you to issue your permit. For the latest processing estimates, please see our Average Permit Processing Turnaround Times webpage.


Call (510) 238-3891 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal. You may also schedule an appointment with Permit Counter staff during open hours.

Additional Resources