Green Remodeling Permit Guide

The Green Remodeling Permit Guide walks through the steps to getting permits for a remodel.  For more information about green building, please see the links for Green Building Program & Requirements and Green Building Resources.  In addition, the City of Berkeley provides free consultations through the Berkeley Best Builders program to assist in the design and construction of green buildings.

Where do I go to get the permits I need for remodeling?
The Permit Service Center (PSC) has a consolidated permit counter which offers services from four separate agencies in one centralized location to issue permits for Building, Zoning, Fire Prevention and Public Works/Engineering. The Permit Specialists at the PSC coordinate review of building permit applications with other City agencies as needed and issue permits when approved.

How do I get a Zoning Permit?
The first step for a residential remodel is to check the site-specific zoning requirements. Zoning staff will help you determine what kind of zoning permit you will need based on your project scope and location. Zoning permits ensure that the location and proposed uses of a building are in accordance with zoning ordinances to minimize negative impacts on neighbors. Many proposed projects require some level of "discretionary review", meaning they are subject to notice to neighbors and in some cases a public hearing.

Do I need a Use Permit? Review project location, scope and plans with Land Use Planning staff to determine type of permit needed. If your project does not require a discretionary use permit, Land Use Planning staff can issue a Zoning Certificate over the counter. Drop by the Zoning Counter in the Permit Service Center (no appointments) or call to verify specific requirements.

Staff determines YES:

  1. Review project plans with Land Use Planning staff to determine whether an Administrative Use Permit or a Use Permit with Public Hearing is required.
  2. Obtain Zoning Project Submittal Requirements document from Permit Service Center. 
  3. Consult with a staff member through the Berkeley's Best Builder program for a voluntary Green Building Consultation prior to submitting the permit application.
  4. Complete a Green Building Checklist.
  5. Submit Application.
  6. Hearing through the Zoning Adjustments Board, if applicable.
  7. Use permit issued.
  8. Apply for Building Permit.

Staff determines NO:

  1. Submit Zoning Certificate application over the counter.
  2. Zoning Certificate is issued.
  3. Apply for Building Permit.

How do I get a Building Permit?
All new building and most remodeling projects require a building permit to protect health, safety and general welfare of the public and building occupants. Staff from the Building and Safety Division review building, plumbing, electrical and mechanical plans for conformance with the California Building Codes, inspect construction projects to ensure they are constructed in conformance with approved building plans and permits, and manage programs to mitigate seismic risk.

Do I need a Building Permit? All new buildings and most remodeling projects require a building permit to protect health, safety and general welfare of the public and building occupants. Check the Planning Department website for more information.


Who Do I Call?

General Information, Customer Service Center: 510-981-CITY

 Additional Links:

Green Building Program & Requirements

Green Building Resources

Berkeley Best Builders

Green Building Permit Guides

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