Getting Started: Before you Build
Most development projects, ranging from replacing a window, adding on to an existing building—all the way to constructing a new building are required to go through a review and permitting process. The permit process ensures that work is done safely and meets the minimum code requirements, thereby minimizing the risk of hazards such as fires, flood damage and/or structural problems. The permit process includes inspection approval from a certified City inspector. Following zoning and building requirements improves the quality and attractiveness of your neighborhood, which raises property values.
What Permits are Needed? Consult with Planning and Zoning and/or Building Services staff to check on permit requirements before you start the work to save yourself time and money. You may visit the Permit Center in-person where our knowledgeable staff can determine the types of permits, documents and other project specific information that will be required. All but the most minor work on your house or other structures on your property will require review and permits from the Planning and Zoning and/or the Building Services Divisions of the City of Oakland. Permits from other departments, such as Public Works and the Fire Department may also be required.
Zoning Permits The first step for determining how your property can be developed is to review Planning Codes and Zoning Maps, which are available in the Planning and Building Codes section. The Zoning District for your property will provide guidance on the types of allowable land uses, as well as development standards, such as building height limits, required setbacks, parking regulations and building materials.
Building Permits After you have received Zoning approval, you may apply for your building permits. City’s building regulations define standards for the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures. Part of the permitting process includes a Plan Check where our engineers review your plans for compliance with applicable codes and regulations. Plan check usually takes four to six weeks. Your plans will also be submitted for review by Fires Services which takes one to 10 days.
Once your project plans are approved, all fees are paid and the required permits have been issued, construction can begin. Refer to Construction Codes for information on hours, noise, safety and environmental requirements. Building permits are valid for six months. Throughout construction, you will need to call for regular building inspections as outlined. Upon passing the final inspection, the inspector will release your utilities and issue a Certificate of Occupancy if warranted.