Apply for a building permit

Most construction projects and repairs require a building permit. Permits that require plans and review can take several weeks or months to complete, and often require changes during the process.

Learn more about the building permit process.

Need to know

  • You need to apply online. Paper and email applications are no longer accepted.
  • Permit costs vary depending on the type of permit and job valuation.
  • Timeline varies depending on the size and complexity of the project.
  • If you do work without a permit, you may need to pay a fine and undo the work done.

Go to eTRAKiT

Before you start

Before you can get a building permit for a large or complicated project, you might need to get planning approvals first. This could involve approval from the Planning Commission and City Council. Contact us to find out if planning approval is required for your project.

Other agencies and departments may need to be involved besides the Planning & Building department, such as Public Works, Alameda County Health Department, or utility companies. They may have their own requirements and fees.

We want to help make your project a success. If you have any questions during the process, call, email, or visit our office. We’re here to help.

Find the permit you need and prepare materials for your application.

Permits have different requirements, depending on the nature of the work. Contact us if you have questions about what permit you need or the requirements.

Learn about types of the building permits and their requirements.

Make sure you’re qualified to get a permit.

In California, you can only get a permit if you are either a:


1. Login and start your application.

Visit the City of Piedmont eTrakit website and login to your account. If you don’t have an account, visit the Create an account page to learn how.

Select Apply / New Permit in the menu under Building & Public Works Permits. You’ll need to confirm that you have read and agree to the Permit Application Confirmation. If you disagree, you will not be able to apply online.

As you navigate through the application process, never use the back arrow in your browser to visit a previous page. Instead, use the Previous Page and Next Page buttons at the bottom of the screen.

2. Enter your project information.

Here’s where you will describe your project. You may need to reference your plans or documentation to complete all the fields.

  • Select a project type and subtype for your project.
  • Add a brief description of the work that you are planning to do.
    • Cover the basic details of your project
    • 60 character max
    • This will appear on your permit card
  • Add any relevant notes, if you need to expand on your description
  • Enter the approximate value of the project. This includes:
    • Cost of labor (if you are doing the work yourself, calculate as if you hired a contractor)
    • Cost of materials and equipment
  • Based on the type of project you select, different fields will populate in the application. Enter the required information, marked with asterisks. If a required field is missing, an error message will appear at the top of the page.
  • Add the location of your project.
    • Select address or parcel.
    • Enter the street number and name or the parcel number.
      • Partial address is OK for searching, especially if you are unsure of correct spelling
      • Do not include a suffix in your search
    • Click search and select the correct address from the results.

3. Attach required documents.

This might include plans, diagrams, or other required information, based on the permit type.

  • Make sure the filename does not contain any special characters.
  • Label the filename so it describes the information, such as “Plan Set” or “Structural Calculations” and include the street address. You can use the description field to add more context.
  • Combine pages or sheets so that each document matches a specific requirement.
  • There are no file size limits.
  • Use PDF format if possible.

When you attach documents, make sure to click through all the buttons and confirm that they were uploaded:

  • After you select the file and click upload, you will need to accept a disclaimer and select submit.
  • You may need to scroll to see the buttons, depending on the size of your screen.

Repeat the upload process until all your documents are added.

Learn about what to include with your building permit application.

4. Enter contact information for the project team.

Some of this information may populate based on your account profile and other City records.

  • Owner: this is the property owner. If this information is in the City’s files, it will populate for you.
  • Applicant: this information will populate for you based on your account profile.
  • Contractor: if you are a contractor, this information will populate for you and cannot be edited. If the information is incorrect, contact us. If you are not a contractor, enter your contractor’s contact information. If you are doing the work yourself, you can leave this blank.

5. Review and submit.

Review your application to make sure the information is correct. You can use the Edit button to make changes. Check the fees to make sure they look right. If everything looks good, select Next Step.

6. Pay fees.

You can pay by credit card or eCheck. We no longer accept paper checks.

  • Credit card payments have an additional 2.75% service fee
  • eCheck payments have an additional $2 flat service fee

If you are submitting a single application, use the Pay Now option. If you are submitting multiple applications, you can add it to the Shopping Cart if you want to pay for all of them at the same time.

The payment confirmation page will have your permit number. You’ll also get a receipt by email, but it won’t have your permit number on it.

Learn more about payments and fees.

What’s next

After you submit your application, we will review your plans. Depending on the nature of the project, the review could involve several departments.

When it’s approved, you will get an email notification with instructions for how to download your permit card and approved drawings. You will need those on site during inspections. The email will also have instructions for scheduling inspections.

How long will it take?

We conduct an initial review of your project within 3 business days to see if anything major is missing.

You can expect to hear back from us within 2 to 8 weeks, depending on the complexity of your project. Small, uncomplicated permits take about 2 to 4 weeks to review. It takes about 5 to 8 weeks for us to conduct an initial review of a larger, more complex project.

Learn more about turnaround times.

How are corrections, clarifications, and changes made?

If you need to make a change to your application, this is sometimes called a resubmittal. If information is missing, we will update your permit status in eTRAKiT and send you an email letting you know your application is incomplete. We will include a link that takes you to your application:

  • Select Respond in the section called My Submittals Awaiting Response. You’ll see a message from us about what’s missing.
  • Select the paperclip icon to add any attachments, if that’s required.
  • Enter your response in the comment field and click the Submit button when you are done.

If your plans are already approved and you need to make changes to them, learn how to make changes to approved plans.

How do I get my permit?

Once we approve your permit, you will get an email letting you know. The email will have instructions, including how to schedule inspections.

How long is my permit valid?

Your permit is valid for 365 days from the date the permit is issued.

Each time your project is successfully inspected and approved, the expiration date of your permit is extended to 180 days from the date of the inspection. If the permit is active and you have not had a successful inspection in the last 180 days, you can request a free 180 day extension once.

If your permit expires, you need to pay a renewal fee. The amount depends on the length of time. If the length of time is longer than 12 months, a new permit may be required.

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