The Department of Building Inspection reviews every building permit application for life safety and building code compliance.
Most interior residential remodels can be reviewed over-the-counter. Review our instructions to prepare the right forms and book a time to submit your building permit application.
If you are a registered contractor, you can apply for kitchen and bath remodels online.
If your interior residential project is not eligible for OTC review, follow the steps for in-house review.
Check if your project qualifies for OTC
These interior residential projects qualify for over-the-counter review:
- Interior remodels
- In-kind kitchen remodel
- In-kind bathroom remodel
- New bathrooms
- New laundry rooms
- Repairing decks and stairs (less than 50%)
Check if your project needs plans
You need plans for a:
- Kitchen remodel (changing layout and floor plan / removing walls)
- Bathroom remodel (changing layout and floor plan / removing walls)
- Residential interior remodel (changing floor plans / removing walls)
- Structural repairs and alterations
- Voluntary seismic upgrade
- New mechanical equipment installed inside or outside the building (when a building permit is required)
- New laundry center, washer, dryer, or laundry sink hookups in new/existing areas within the existing building
- In-kind replacement of garage slab (no ceiling height changes) Note: saw-cutting SOG to repair/replace sewer lines does not require plans
- Brace and bolt seismic upgrade per DBI Information Sheet S-09
- Projects that do not require Planning Department neighborhood notifications
Hire a designer, architect, or engineer to prepare your plans.
Bring two sets of plans when you submit your building permit application.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are not sure if your project needs plans.
Check if your project needs seismic work
Your construction project may require earthquake safety improvements if it includes any of these:
- Horizontal addition that adds more than 30% to the size in square feet of the building
- Structural alterations to more than 30% of the floor and roof areas
- Changes to walls and ceilings on more two-thirds of the stories of the building
- Change of occupancy of more than 100 people
- Adding 3rd dwelling unit in a below-ground basement
Hire an engineer to work with your architect.
Fill out forms about your role on the project
We need to know your role on the project to apply for an OTC permit.
Pick the form that applies to you.
Print them and bring them with you when apply for a building permit.
Fill out the building form
You will need property and construction details to fill out the building permit application.
Fill out the Green Building form
All building permit applications must fill out our Green Building forms.
Fill out water use forms
For construction projects that add new water fixtures or fire sprinklers, fill out this form.
Submit your application
Come to the Permit Center to submit your application.
If your project needs plans, bring two sets of plans when you submit your building permit application.
You will get a building permit application number.
We will review your application, check your plans, and route your application to the required stations in person.
You may need to come back on a separate day to finish your plans.
Please note that the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) is now conducting all disabled access review as part of our plan review.
Plans requiring a DBI permit that are not project managed by the Department of Public Works no longer need to go to Mayor’s Office on Disability (MOD) for accessibility review and inspection.
Project plans currently under review by MOD that are not finalized by June 30, 2023 will complete and be finalized with DBI-assigned accessibility specialists. As of July 1, 2023, new projects will be fully reviewed by DBI, including for accessibility.
MOD will continue to review projects that do not require a permit, will continue to conduct ADA Title II barrier removal inspections and provide technical assistance regarding disability access compliance and best practices, including but not limited to compliance with the American's with Disabilities Act.
Starting July 1, DBI will also be conducting disability access inspections. More information will be available soon.
Recheck your plans
You may need to update your plans to address plan check comments.
After you address plan check comments, recheck your plans with the plan checker from your first review. Schedule with your plan checker by email.
Get related permits
Pay your remaining fees and get your job card
You must have your job card before you can start construction.
Post your construction document at the construction site.
Last updated August 24, 2023