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Frequently Asked Questions
- Why do I need a building permit?
- Will I need additional permits beyond the building permit?
- What if I construct without a building permit?
- What is an Engineering Permit?
- Why are so many inspections required?
- What is Plan Check?
- Why did I receive a Code Compliance Violation?
- I received a Code Compliance Violation. What do I do?
- What is a soft story building?
- What is the Foreclosed & Vacant Building Registration Program?
- What are the allowed construction hours?
Why do I need a building permit?
Building permits are necessary to ensure that all buildings meet minimum standards which protect its occupants and neighbors in everyday living and in the case of emergencies or natural disasters. Certain minor projects do not require a permit. Click here for a roster of minor projects.
Will I need additional permits beyond the building permit?
Depending upon the project, other permits (planning permits, special activities permits, etc.) may be required. Visit the Permit Center to learn what permits you will need.
What if I construct without a building permit?
If you are found to have started construction without the required permit(s), an inspector will immediately issue a "Stop Work Order". You will be required to apply for the permit(s) and pay additional fees (up to twice the amount of the original fee). After the permit has been issued, you will be required to uncover any work that has been covered so that it may be inspected prior to the release of the Stop Work Order. In some cases, regulations or codes may not permit the type of construction that has been done. In this case, you may be required to replace or restore the area to its original condition prior to your construction.
What is an Engineering Permit?
All work performed in a City right-of-way (i.e.: street, sidewalk) requires an engineering permit. Click here for additional FAQs on the different types of Engineering Permits.
Why are so many inspections required?
The inspections are required to ensure that the construction is proceeding according to the approved plans and project conditions-of-approval, and that all current code standards are being met. This will help to insure personal safety and to secure the value of the improvement.
What is Plan Check?
Plan Check makes sure your building plans and construction documents meet code and regulatory requirements, including the California Building, Electrical, Plumbing Mechanical Codes and the Oakland Municipal Code, to ensure the construction of safe buildings in Oakland.
Why did I receive a Code Compliance Violation?
The City’s Code Enforcement staff enforces City Ordinances related to Housing, Zoning, Litter, Illegal Dumping, Weeds, Graffiti and other blight issues. A City inspector issues a violation notice when a property is found to be in violation of an ordinance designed to ensure public safety and the safety of building inhabitants.
I received a Code Compliance Violation. What do I do?
Take the corrective actions specified in the violation notice within the time stated to avoid fines and fees. If corrective actions are not taken, you will be assessed a re-inspection and enforcement fee. If fees are not paid within 30 days, a lien will be placed against the property and collected with the owner's property taxes.
What is a soft story building?
A soft-story building is a structure constructed before 1991, when the California Building Code adopted enhanced earthquake design standards, which has large ground-floor openings (parking garage, store-front windows) with slender columns supporting the upper stories. Soft-story buildings are particularly likely to lean or collapse in an earthquake. Click here to learn about the City's Soft-Story Seismic Screening Program.
What is the Foreclosed & Vacant Building Registration Program?
To protect and preserve the livability, appearance and social fabric of Oakland, the City requires owners and others who may control property to register foreclosed and vacant property for inspection by Code Enforcement staff. The Statement of Registration form must be filed at the Permit Center not more than 30 days after the foreclosed building has been vacant for 30 days. Learn more about the program.
What are the allowed construction hours?
Visit our Construction Hours & Site Requirements page for details on hours different types of construction activity is allowed.