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: July 21st, 2021 @ 12:19 PM

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 permit application submittal forms and checklists
  • Construction plans
  • Structural calculations (as applicable)


Complete the following:

If Mechanical, Electrical or Plumbing (MEP) systems are being altered, a completed Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) Application Worksheet will also be required.

Once complete, e-mail your completed application form(s) and all associated plans and documents to or via our Digital Inbox for applications over 20MB.


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. Depending on our workload and the complexity of the project, the process may take between 10-13 weeks from the date we receive your application to the date when we issue your permit. Retrofit permits for houses and duplexes usually take less time to process.


Call (510) 238-3891 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal.

Additional Resources