Building Permits

Do I need a permit?

Building Permits are required for all new buildings and existing buildings or structures which are to be altered, repaired, enlarged, improved upon or converted, or where any change in the size of a room takes place or any electrical or plumbing work is involved.

Please note: No new submittals will be accepted within the half hour prior to closing. See the City's hours page for more information.

Some examples of projects requiring building permits are:
  • New Buildings
  • Room Additions
  • Interior Remodels
  • Window/Door Installation
  • Drainage Systems
  • Decks
  • Spas/Swimming Pools
  • Foundation Repairs
  • Driveways
  • Termite Repairs
  • Roof Replacement
  • Water Heater Installation
  • Electrical Upgrades
  • Siding Installation

  1. Building


    Phone: (510) 215-4360

COVID-19 EMERGENCY RULES PERMIT SUBMITTAL, PLAN REVIEW, AND INSPECTION



Updated 4/30/2020

On April 29, 2020, the Contra Costa County Health Officer issued an order effective as of midnight May 4, 2020 that details permitted activities within the County while Shelter-in-Place orders continue. All construction projects are now allowed to continue but must adhere to Construction Safety Protocols for either large or small projects as defined in the order. Projects that do not strictly follow the prescribed safety protocols may be subject to having their permit suspended and will not receive requested inspections.

May 4, 2020 - County Health Order
Small Construction Project Safety Protocol
Large Construction Project Safety Protocol

Permit applications and document submittals:



In order to maintain proper social distancing, all applications for permits, submittal of documents for review, payment of fees, etc. must be done by appointment, by email, or phone. No admittance to City Hall will be allowed without an appointment. Face masks or face coverings that cover both nose and mouth are required to be worn while in City Hall.

All permits and documents must be emailed to our general email at: building@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us. Please refrain from sending requests directly to Permit Technicians. Thank you.

Procedures for permit submittals:



Via US mail: Please contact us first to ensure you submit the correct materials and permit fees. Please mail your materials to:

City of El Cerrito Building Division
10890 San Pablo Ave
El Cerrito, CA 94530


Please make checks for application fees payable to “City of El Cerrito”. We are unable to process credit card transactions during this closure. We will mail or email you a payment receipt.

Via email: Please contact us first to ensure you submit the correct materials and application fees. Please email digital materials to building@ci.el-cerrito.ca.us

Please mail a check for permit fees according to the procedures for submittals via US mail. Please ensure that the property address and applicant’s name are identified on the check. We will mail or email you a payment receipt.

*Hard copies of materials, including plans may be required. If necessary, we will ask you to mail or drop off hard copies.

In-person: Please contact us first to ensure you submit the correct materials and application fees. Please email or call us to schedule an appointment for your drop off. We will mail or email you a payment receipt.

Building Permit Information


Building Permit Application Form - Cover form for all building permits

Plan Submittal Checklist - Checklist listing submittal requirements for most building permits.

Owner-Builder Information


Owner-Builder Web Page and Form
Additional form if the project is being completed by an owner-builder.

Special Study Map


Slide Zone or Seismic Zone Special Study Map
Map showing areas of the city that are subject to additional study. Please see Checklist for more information.
Before commencing construction it is recommended that you contact the City Building Division to make certain that a building permit is required and for information on Building Division requirements for residential and commercial buildings including new dwellings, additions, remodels, alterations, and repairs.

Additionally, before a building permit can be issued by the Building Division, information concerning zoning regulations must be obtained from the Planning Division and adhered to for those projects requiring zoning clearance prior to a building permit being issued (new dwellings, additions, fences, decks, carports, garages, etc.) Zoning regulations include but are not limited to minimum distances or setbacks from the property lines for buildings/accessory structures, fences/decks as well as maximum height restrictions.