Building Permits

A building permit is required before any person, firm or corporation shall erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert or demolish any building or structure. A list of projects that do NOT require a building permit may be viewed here.

Building Permit Process

A typical review process for obtaining a building permit includes:

  1. City of Orinda - Planning Department: All projects that require a building permit require review and approval from the Planning Department, except for Projects Exempt from Planning Review. The Planning Department reviews projects to ensure zoning compliance with the Orinda Municipal Code as well as for Waste Management Plan compliance, for projects such as re-roofs. 
    • Building Permit Application Form (PDF)
    • Plan Set Checklist (PDF)
    • Neighbor Consent Form (PDF)
      Step 1Submit your online building permit application here. A limited number of in-person plan checks are available by appointment only. Schedule an appointment for an in-person plan check here.
      Note: All submitted documents must be in PDF format. Plans sets must be a minimum 11"x17" size.
      Step 2Staff will review your submittal. The planner assigned to your application will email you with any comments, clarifications, or questions. 
      Step 3If your application is deemed incomplete, the applicant must addresses all plan check comments. (If your application is deemed complete, skip to Step 4). 
      Step 4Once it is confirmed your application complies with the Orinda Municipal Code, the assigned planner will digitally stamp and sign your project plans. You will also receive an emailed invoice with payment instructions. Stamped plans will not be provided until payment is received.
      Step 5Applicant pays plan check fees. Payment is accepted by check (mailed or dropped-off) or credit card (online payment). 
      Step 6Once payment is received, the signed documents will be emailed to you and you may proceed with submittal to all other applicable agencies listed below. Planning approval is not a building permit. Only the County Building Department issues building permits. Each agency has their own application process and fees.
  2. Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (if applicable): Certain projects may require approval from the Sanitary District for existing or new sewer connections. Please contact the Sanitary District here for more detail.
  3. Moraga-Orinda Fire District (if applicable): Certain projects may require approval from the Fire District. Please contact the Fire District here for more detail.
  4. Contra Costa County - Building Department (required): Building permits are reviewed and issued by the Contra Costa County Building Department. The City of Orinda does not have its own building department and contracts with Contra Costa County for building services. The Building Department reviews permit applications to ensure all projects meet current building code requirements. The Building Department requires that all applicable agencies have reviewed and approved the proposed project before processing any building permit. 

Property Records

The City of Orinda does not maintain copies of building permits. To view or obtain copies of building permits, Contra Costa County provides the following services:

  • Permit Lookup - To view building permit history, any member of the public may use the ePermits Center.
  • Building Permit Records - To obtain physical copies of plans or other building permit information, please complete the Records Research Request Form.

Waste Management Plan (Green Halo)

The following projects must divert at least 65% of the construction and demolition debris to an approved recycling facility:

  • Residential additions/alterations that affect 1,000 square feet; 
  • Residential additions/alterations that have a project valuation of $50,000 or greater; or
  • Residential additions/alterations that increase the structure’s conditioned area, volume, or size.

If a project meets any of these thresholds, at the time of building permit, the Orinda Planning Department will place a "WMP Hold" on the permit. All recycling reporting must be completed on Green Halo Systems, a free online reporting system. 

Frequently Asked Questions