Permit Service Center
Permit Service Center

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Permit FAQ
Building and Inspections FAQ
Plans and Zoning FAQ
Boards and Commissions FAQ

What permits do I need?
What's the difference between a building permit and a zoning permit?
Learn more about the building permit Process
When are addtional construction requirements triggered?

 

PERMIT SERVICE CENTER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1.  When is a building permit required?
2.  When is a plumbing permit required?
3.  When is a mechanical permit required?
4.  When is an electrical permit required?
5.  When does my application expire?
6.  What methods of payment do you accept?

 


1.  When is a building permit required?

A building permit is required when a building or structure is erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished.  This general requirement is further defined in the BMC Section 19.28.090 by work exempt from a permit.

 

2.  When is a plumbing permit required?

A plumbing permit is required for the installation, alteration, repair, replacement or remodel of any plumbing system with the following exceptions:

 

3.  When is a mechanical permit required?

A mechanical permit is required when a mechanical system (heating and air conditioning, etc.) is installed, altered, repaired, replaced or remodeled with the following exceptions:

 

4.  When is an electrical permit required?

An electrical permit is required all electrical work with the exceptions indicated in BMC Section 19.30.080.    

 

5.  When does my application expire?

Section A105.3.2 of the Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) states, "An application for a permit for any proposed work shall expire 180 days after the date of filing, unless it can be demonstrated by the applicant that such application has been pursued in good faith or a permit has been issued; except that the Permit Services Coordinator is authorized to grant one (1) or more extensions of time for additional periods not exceeding a total of one (1) year.  The extension shall be requested in writing and justifiable cause demonstrated."

 

6.  What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard (Credit Card Authorization Form), Checks and Cash.

 

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BUILDING AND INSPECTION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1.  How do I schedule an inspection?
2.  What are the construction work hours and maximum noise levels?

 


 

1.  How do I schedule an inspection?

Telephone Inspections Scheduling Information can be found here.

 

2.  What are the construction work hours and maximum noise levels?

Paragraph B 7 of Section 13.40.070 of the BMC outlines the construction work hours and maximum noise levels, however in some cases a Use Permits or Administrative Use Permit for a specific project may have tighter restrictions.  

 

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PLANS AND ZONING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1.  What's the difference between the General Plan and the Zoning Ordinance? 
2.  How can I find the zoning and permitted uses for a property?
3.  How can I find out about the status of a Use Permit or Administrative Use Permit application, pending and issued Notices of Decision and City Council appeals?
4.  Is there a plan for my neighborhood? 
5.  What can the City do to slow traffic on my street? 
6. How do I get a copy of a Plan?

 


 

1.  What's the difference between the General Plan and the Zoning Ordinance?

The General Plan is the city's long-term plan for the physical development of the city.  It guides all decisions about city regulations, ordinances, public improvements, and budgets. The Zoning Ordinance establishes the development standards for land within the city limits. If you want to know what the long term plan for your neighborhood is, check the General Plan. If you want to know what you can do with your property, check the Zoning Ordinance.   

2.  How can I find the zoning and permitted uses for a property?

You can determine the zoning for your property by checking the city’s Parcel Conditions and Permit History Report or the Zoning Map and referencing the related section in the Zoning Ordinance to identify use restrictions, special requirements and development standards. 

3.  How can I find out about the status of a Use Permit or Administrative Use Permit application, pending and issued Notices of Decision and City Council appeals?

Check the Current Project page for up to date information. 

4.  Is there a plan for my neighborhood?

There is a plan for the whole city.  It is called the General Plan or the Master Plan.  Some areas of the City also have their own plans called "Area Plans".  There are Area Plans for West Berkeley, South Berkeley, South Shattuck, University Avenue, and the Waterfront.  The Southside Plan is underway for the area south of campus. 

5.  What can the City do to slow traffic on my street?

Contact the Office of Transportation for more information on traffic calming in the City of Berkeley.

6.  How do I get a copy of a Plan?

Check the Adopted Plans to see if the Plan you want is available online.  If it isn't, stop by the Land Use Planning office at 2120 Milvia, 3rd floor, to buy a hard copy. Office hours are 8 AM-5 PM daily.  

 

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BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1.  Which Boards and Commissions are associated with the Planning and Development Department and how do I get information about their meetings and agendas?

2.  What's the difference between the Planning Commission and the Zoning Adjustments Board?

3.  How do I send something to the Planning Commission or Zoning Adjustments Board?

 


1.  Which Boards and Commissions are associated with the Planning and Development Department and how do I get information about their meetings and agendas?

Visit the Boards and Commissions page.

2.  What's the difference between the Planning Commission and the Zoning Adjustments Board?

The Planning Commission reviews most general planning issues, including amendments to zoning ordinances and subdivision applications.  The Zoning Adjustments Board interprets zoning ordinances and reviews variance and use permit proposals.

3.  How do I send something to the Planning Commission or Zoning Adjustments Board?

Materials can be submitted to the Boards and Commissions through the secretaries.  Mail, fax, deliver, or e-mail communication to:

Planning Commission Secretary: Information must be received at least ten business days prior to the meeting date.

Zoning Adjustments Board Secretary: See the Citizen's Guide to the Zoning Adjustments Board for details. 

 

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Permit Service Center, 2120 Milvia St., Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: permits@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-7500
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
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