Obtaining Permits

Permit Service Center
The Permit Service Center is your place for information on permits and fees. For more information or to learn more about obtaining a permit, view the information below and in the sub-menu to the left.

Applying for a permit can be made easier by understanding the overall permit application process and what your role and responsibilities are in this process. This should allow your project to move smoothly through the process, saving time for both you and the City of Richmond.

When Do I Need a Building Permit?
Building permits are required before you construct, erect, enlarge, alter, move, repair, improve, convert, or demolish any building or structure, with the following exceptions:

Items That Do Not Require a Building Permit
  • A one-story detached accessory building used for tool and storage sheds, playhouses, and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet.
  • Fences not over 6 feet high along the side edges of the structure and along the back edge of the property of the structure. Fences not over 4 feet high along the front property edge of a structure (3 1/2 feet for the front edge of corner lots). (All fences must be approved and issued a Planning Department Permit by the City of Richmond Planning Department prior to construction).
  • Movable cases, counters, and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches high.
  • Oil derricks.
  • Painting, papering, and similar finish work.
  • Platforms, walks, and driveways not more than 30 inches above grade and not over any basement or story below.
  • Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a group R, division 3 occupancy in which the pool walls are entirely above the adjacent grade and if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons.
  • Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding class I, II, or III liquids.
  • Temporary motion picture, television, and theater stage sets and scenery.
  • Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2:1.
  • Window awnings supported by an exterior wall of group R, division 3, and group U occupancies when projecting not more than 54 inches.

(Unless otherwise exempted, separate plumbing, electrical and mechanical permits will be required for the above exempted items.)

All other construction projects do require a permit before construction begins, except very minor “like item” replacement items. Examples of “like item” replacement items include replacement of the glass only section of existing windows with similar window glass or replacement of doors only within existing door frames.

Who May Obtain a Building Permit?

Permits may be issued only to property owners, licensed contractors, long term lessees, or their certified agents. Licensed contractors must provide a Contractor's State License Card, a Worker's Compensation Insurance Certificate, and a current City of Richmond Business License at time of application.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Building Permit?

That depends on the scope of the work. Some permits are issued over the counter. Other projects require review and approvals from different agencies (Planning, Fire, Health Departments, etc.) before the Building Department can proceed with the plan review. Permits issued over the counter include:
  • Minor in-kind repairs due to damage caused by termites or deterioration.
  • Minor interior alterations with no structural work.
  • Plumbing, mechanical, or electrical repairs or change-outs.
  • Re-roofing requires photo of existing roof for Planning Department approval.

Where Do I Go to Obtain a Building Permit?
The Building Regulations Department is located at:
City of Richmond
Building Regulations
450 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, CA 94804

Building Permit Counter Hours: NEW PERMIT COUNTER HOURS

(Starting Friday, April 5, 2019)

Monday - Thursday 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Friday 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Plan Checker Counter Hours:

Monday - Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
*Mandatory Sign-in 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Friday - No Plan Checker

To make a complaint about work being done without a permit, please contact our building regulations department and state that you wish to make a complaint. This call can be made without giving your name or phone number if you wish to remain anonymous.