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Our knowledgeable staff is here to assist you as you prepare to construct an addition, build a new home or renovate an existing building. Working closely with our colleagues in Planning & Zoning, we provide our best determination of the permits, contacts, documents and other project specific information that will be required. It is essential that you contact us before you begin construction. Visit our Permit Center for guidance.
After permits are issued, our inspectors review construction to make sure it’s proceeding according to the approved plans and conditions-of-approval. They also make sure that all current building code standards are being met. This will help to ensure personal safety and to secure the value of the improvement.
Code Enforcement Combats Blight
Our inspectors ensure the safety of Oakland residents and workers by citing property owners who do not maintain their buildings in accordance with state and city codes. 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.
If you receive a violation notice, it is essential that you take the corrective actions specified on the notice within the time stated to avoid fines and fees. Visit our Code Enforcement Page for more information.
Foreclosed and Defaulted Residential Registration and Inspection Program
To protect and preserve the livability, appearance and social fabric of Oakland, the City requires lenders and other responsible parties to register, inspect, and maintain foreclosed and defaulted residential property. Learn more about the program.
Investor-Owned Residential Registration, Inspection and Rehabilitation Program (for formerly defaulted or foreclosed properties) (IOP)
This program was designed to address the decline of neighborhood livability and health and safety problems that have arisen from high levels of foreclosure activity in Oakland. Non-owner occupant purchasers of 1-4 unit residential property that has been in some stage of the foreclosure process at any point since November 2006 must register and arrange for an inspection by Code Enforcement Staff. Learn more about this program.
Given Oakland's location along the Hayward Fault, seismic strengthening of residences—known as seismic retrofitting—can not only save lives, but also housing stock, better enabling Oakland to withstand the short- and long-term effects of a major disaster.
To encourage homeowners to complete these life- and property-saving retrofits, City Council approved Oakland Municipal Code Chapter 15.30.050, which incorporated basic retrofit standards into the City’s Municipal Code and established a flat retrofit permit fee of $250. Currently, any homeowner of a one- to-two story, single family or duplex residence who desires to retrofit for seismic safety is eligible for the $250 flat retrofit permit fee, provided the retrofit plan meets the current seismic
For owner-occupied, low-income households, the City's Housing & Community Development Section offers Seismic Safety Improvement Program grants for the completion of seismic retrofit repairs.
Soft Story Buildings
A soft-story building is a structure constructed before 1991 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.
The new ordinance (12966 CMS) mandates that owners of certain residential buildings provide simple and low-cost information to the City about their buildings' ground-floor structural supports (dimensions, materials, photographs, floor plan). It does not require any type of structural retrofit.
Building owners have until July 29, 2011, to file a Level 1 Screening form (or a Level 2 Evaluation report), unless they receive written notification from Building Services before then that their building is potentially included in the Soft-Story inventory. If you would like assistance with the form, click here for a list of trained soft story inspectors.
Green Building Ordinance for Private Development
In 2010 the City adopted a new green building ordinance for private development projects including new construction, additions, tenant improvements, and remodels. In addition, to Oakland's local green building ordinance, new construction projects will need to comply with the California Green building Code also known as CALGreen. Click here to visit the City's Green Building website to learn how this ordinance and CALGreen may effect you as well as find the tools and resources to help you succeed with your green building project.